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Developers look to make Apple's next big things even bigger

Michael Simon | Sept. 15, 2015
Apple can only do so much—the real strength of its platforms is what developers add to the mix.

iphone6s peek
Credit: Apple

Apple has always embraced its developer community, but the Hey Siri event event seemed to be one giant hug. It wasn’t just the parade of awesome demos; Apple generally keeps the latest iPhone’s marquee feature locked up for at least a generation (Siri still hasn’t been opened up as an API), but this time it didn’t hold anything back. Every product and feature unveiled last week is already in developers’ hands, with the hopes that a slew of great iPad Pro and Apple TV apps will be populating the App Store when the devices launch.

You see, no matter how great Apple’s new iPad and Apple TV are out of the gate, they’re going to need killer third-party apps to help them realize their full potential. And the same is true for 3D Touch and Apple Pencil. So while last week’s announcements might have been geared toward more toward consumers than the ones at WWDC, when One Republic stopped playing the message to developers was very much the same: Go have fun.

Press and shoot

Never has the third-party community had so many new toys to play with at once. No matter what kind of app they make, there’s something for everyone and every platform, and on each, Apple has provided a variety of tools to not just make more powerful and intuitive apps, but also enhance the user experience in bold new ways. And developers couldn’t be happier to start working on them.

“Apple made it pretty simple to add useful 3D Touch features, so we’re jumping on adding that right away,” said Lisa Bettany, Tap Tap Tap media producer and co-founder of Camera+. “We are particularity excited about the added functionality to go straight to particular areas of the app. Things like, ‘Take photo,’ ‘Take selfie,’ ‘Take macro,’ and ‘View Lightbox’ will give our users even faster on-demand access to the camera and editing features.”

iphone6s 3up apple
Developers get to use all of the iPhone 6s' new 3D Touch tricks, including pressure-sensitive drawing. Credit: Apple

And that’s just scratching the surface. The iPhone 6s opens up a world of opportunity for developers. The ability to bake quick actions into the icons is a game-changer, but 3D Touch also promises to unlock a new way to explore and interact with our favorite apps and games, much in the way multitouch did for games like Monument Valley.

“Something we think worked really well was that people felt that they were more directly connected with the game world, because they were touching it and moving it with their fingers,” said Ken Wong, lead designer and artist of Monument Valley. “With 3D Touch we’d be able to add more variations to those interactions, or different levels of interaction.”


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