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Apple’s 2019 slate of software updates are likely to introduce major changes for app developers — which could mean big benefits for users, too. The new information comes from developer and 9to5Mac contributor Guilherme Rambo, who spoke to sources familiar with the development of Apple’s upcoming software updates. Rambo has previously shared details of what’s to come in iOS 13 and macOS 10.15.
Siri’s Opening up
Most notably, Rambo reports that Apple will be loosening its “walled garden” stance on Siri. In iOS 13 and macOS 10.15, developers will be able to take advantage of Siri in their third-party apps.
Siri could control or access app features like media playback, search, voice calling, event ticketing, message attachments, flights, train trips, and airport gate and airline seat information.
That would be a major change to the way Siri works now. For example, users of third-party music streaming apps like Spotify cannot use Siri voice commands to control playback.
The report claims that developers will have access to new APIs when porting iOS apps over to macOS. That could mean additional support for Mac features like the Touch Bar and keyboard shortcuts. Rambo says that it could also mean that UIKit apps will be able to open multiple windows.
iOS apps with Split View ported to macOS will also be able to have their windows resized and their positions reset by double-clicking the divider, just like on a Mac.
Augmented Reality Improvements
There will also be a number of updates to ARKit, such as the ability to create AR experiences visually through a companion app, as well as a new Swift-only AR framework.
ARKit will also gain the ability to detect human poses and ARKit-built games will get support for controller with touch pads and stereo AR headsets.
Third-party app developers will also be getting more support for native Apple platforms like the Taptic Engine and NFC.
Rambo says that an update to Core NFC will allow third-party developers to create apps that can read multiple NFC tag types. Currently, only one type of NFC tag — NDEF — is usable by third-party apps.
The Taptic Engine support should also let developers use a wider array of haptic feedback styles for their own apps. Third-party developers will also be able to add link previews in their own messaging apps, similar to what’s available on iMessage, and document scanning abilities without needing to go through the Photos app.
Apps on Mac will be able to take advantage of deeper integration with Finder and a new version of CoreML will allow developers to update machine learning on-device. That’s a major change from the status quo, in which machine learning models have to be pre-trained — and it could mean that smarter apps are on the way.