In late June 2020, Apple had its first virtual developers conference. It was a pretty remarkable conference, regardless of the Pandemic. It was well executed with some major announcements. In this post, I’ll go over the some of the implications of these announcements for Daylite.
What is super exciting is that we can now see that Apple has a cohesive vision and strategy for all platforms – from the Watch all the way to the Mac Pro. What I envisioned a long time ago (specifically in 2013) is now becoming reality. Long-term, I can see a day where our small business customers will only need an iPad to get their work done. It’s something that I know many of you have also dreamed of.
Daylite will be ready on Day 1 of the official release of macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14 and Apple’s new Apple Silicon based Mac hardware coming this fall. You’ll also see us bring more functionality to Daylite on iOS and iPadOS in the coming year.
macOS 11 Big Sur
The next release of macOS is a big one. So big, that Apple decided to go from “10” to “11”. To give you some context, Apple has been using the X or 10 for nearly 2 decades now.
So when they decided to go 11, you knew the changes would be significant.
For our customers, the most apparent change will be the revised UI. The new Mac UI is really nice. It’s pleasant, airy and calming.
But more importantly, there is now a unified design language between iOS, iPadOS and macOS. Apple has pulled off an amazing balancing act. Each OS on each device has its own feel, maintaining its uniqueness, while being familiar. It means that when switching between iOS, iPadOS and macOS, users will feel right at home. There is continuity.
We are committed to making sure that Daylite will be right at home on macOS 11.0 Big Sur on Day 1 of the official release.
Please Note: Because of the nature of the changes with macOS 11 Big Sur, we’ll be dropping support for both macOS 10.13 and macOS 10.14. You’ll continue to be able to use the current version of Daylite on those OSs, but you should consider upgrading in the coming year.
Daylite was born during the transition between the old, venerable, but fragile Mac OS 9 and the modern, flexible and resilient macOS X. It was a huge, difficult leap for Apple where they had to overcome many philosophical differences between the old and the new.
After that fundamental OS transition, we participated in Apple’s next major transition. The transition between the PowerPC processor to the Intel processor. That transition was a lot less controversial but not without its difficulties. It’s like replacing the basement of a 100 story building while people are still using the building day to day. Apple pulled it off and so did we.
Now, we are upon the next major transition. The transition between Intel processors to Apple’s own processors. This means that the processing architecture between iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch and TV will be the same. This is a pretty massive deal because now Apple will control the whole stack – from the processor, to the operating system to input mechanisms.
And just as we have done in the past, we will do so again. Daylite will be ready on Day 1 of the official release of new Macs with Apple Silicon.
Last year, Apple announced and released iPadOS and a few months ago, Apple released the Magic Keyboard with trackpad for iPad Pros.
This combination signals a major shift in product strategy for the iPad from Apple.
At this year’s developer conference, we saw even more signals. From seemingly small things such as menus to larger things such as system level support for sidebars and ultimately, the unified design language between iOS, iPadOS and macOS mentioned above.
Our interpretation of these signals is that the iPad is getting closer to the (current) Mac and distancing itself a bit from the iPhone. Our other interpretation is that Macs will become even more powerful and move further upstream so to speak. This is great!
The implications for Daylite is that we need to bring more of the desktop features to Daylite on iPad. We will begin that effort after we make sure that Daylite on Mac is good and ready for Big Sur and Apple Silicon.
There was another really important announcement last year and that was the introduction of SwiftUI.
When Apple transitioned to Mac OS X, they gave us AppKit as the UI framework of choice. When Apple allowed third party applications on the iPhone, they gave us UIKit as the UI framework to work with.
Unfortunately, you can’t share Mac AppKit UI code with iPhone/iPad UIKit code, so when you have a product on both platforms, you have to effectively write the UI code twice. That means different bugs and different capabilities that we have to maintain and fix.
For big apps like Daylite (or bigger), this is a huge problem.
With the introduction of SwiftUI, Apple is giving us a UI framework that we can use on both the Mac and iPhone/iPad. For us, this is really important.
The version of SwiftUI delivered at WWDC 2019 was pretty basic, but we saw the writing on the wall. We started the necessary work to bridge our existing low level code with SwiftUI. The old system and the new system are quite different so it isn’t just plug and play. Basically, we’ve already started the transition process.
In the next few weeks, we’ll ship our first bits of SwiftUI code on iPhone and iPad that works on iOS 13. You’ll notice some differences in the contact details and activities areas.
At this developer conference, Apple made some good strides with SwiftUI. We look forward to porting more parts of Daylite to SwiftUI on iOS 14 and when appropriate we’ll bring back some of the SwiftUI code to the Mac with Big Sur.
I would say that the last two years have seen subtle but very important and significant changes from Apple. As end users, you may not realize this, but for us it signifies a much brighter future where each platform is moving ahead in unison, instead of running into each other.
As an Apple centric company, we are much more excited about the future than we have been in the last 3 to 7 years.
We look forward to making Daylite more powerful and useful on these platforms in the coming months and years.