Swiftly Highlights: August 2020

Coming to you straight from the STRV iOS team, here’s a brief summary of what caught our attention this past month.

Summer has not been a slow season—or a “cucumber season,” as we call it in the Czech Republic. There's been a lot of controversy surrounding big tech companies, namely Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The companies have been subjected to antitrust hearings in Congress, as some U.S. lawmakers are becoming concerned that these businesses have violated antitrust laws and are exercising monopoly power. You can watch the whole six-hour hearing on YouTube, or check out a shorter summary that explains the gist of the situation.

Before we move on, we’d like to follow the “safety first” rule and mention a new iOS update: COVID-19 exposure notifications. A great tool for keeping ourselves and the people around us healthy.

Now, let’s continue with more top news.

APPLE "TAX"

Ever since the inception of the AppStore on iOS, Apple has been collecting a 30% fee from all in-app purchases. Back in the day, this was a great deal for app developers, as the usual cut of software distributors was between 50-70%. AppStore revolutionized software distribution and created a whole new, roughly $100 billion industry. However, Apple has been under a lot of pressure recently to change its rules and allow third-party payment processors for in-app purchases, or to allow iOS apps to be installed from sources other than AppStore—just like it's possible on macOS or Android.

Game developer and publisher Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple following the removal of the iOS version of its game, Fortnite, from the AppStore. Apple removed Fortnite from the AppStore after Epic Games bypassed native in-app purchases with its own payment processor. The Verge created a nice video covering the whole topic, if you’d like to know more.

Facebook also clashed with Apple after a Facebook app update was rejected because it displayed a message about Apple's fee on in-app purchases.

We just might be witnessing a new revolution in the AppStore!

PRIVACY

Apple has been focusing on users' privacy for a while; it's been adding new privacy features to every new version of iOS. iOS 14 won’t be any different. One of the new user-visible features is that you will be able to share a low-accuracy location with apps to protect your privacy.

Another feature that will likely change how developers treat user data is an alert that pops up whenever an app reads from the clipboard. As you may know, spying on a user's clipboard is a pretty common technique among well-known apps.

Another major change coming to iOS 14? Apps will have to ask for permission to use the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), a random identifier that can be utilized by advertisers to track a user's activity and target personalized ads. Facebook posted an article about how advertisers should prepare for iOS 14.

SWIFT & SWIFTUI

Rob Sturgeon posted a massive Medium article subtitled The complete SwiftUI 2 documentation you’ve been waiting for, and it delivers on its promise.

Speaking of SwiftUI, our team is already looking for opportunities to use SwiftUI in our projects. A nice guiding light has been SwiftLee’s article about how to adopt SwiftUI early in your UIKit projects. Integrating SwiftUI into existing projects is a great way to learn it without investing too much effort and breaking your workflow.

John Sundell has a rightful place in our monthly highlights, as his site provides a steady stream of great articles. This time, we’d like to point out two articles from him: A deep dive into Swift’s function builders and Using compiler directives in Swift.

UIPageControl has been around for a long time. But whenever a design required more custom looking page control, we developers had to build a custom pager because the UIPageControl lacks any customizability (apart from primary and secondary colors). With iOS 14, this is no longer the case. Take a Look at iOS 14’s New UIPageControl.

Speaking of upgrades, UIStackView also got some new features—you'll be able to set its background color, which was not possible before.

For the final two highlights, we're going a bit low-level. Donny Wals helps us understand Swift’s OptionSet and Vadim Bulavin teaches us Best Practices for working with an Internet connection on iOS.

That’s it for today. We'll see you next month!

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Jan Pacek

Jan Pacek

iOS Platform Lead

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