Devs dish on what’s hot about iOS 8, OS X Yosemite and Swift


Devs on the street

SAN FRANCISCO -- While Apple watchers tuned into last week's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote for a look at where the company might be headed, coders at the annual convention were getting a look at the current state of the art when it comes to the company's software.

Cult of Mac asked developers from around the world who were in town for WWDC (or its indie sibling, AltConf) what they thought about changes coming in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. We also asked them about their favorite apps as well as their views on Swift, the new programming language Apple introduced at WWDC. Get their takes in the gallery above.

Aaron Hillegass, Atlanta

What he does: Co-founder of Big Nerd Ranch and author of books on Objective-C, iOS and Cocoa.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: "They aren't terribly exciting releases. I think this WWDC is more about making things better for developers."

On Swift: "I am a huge fan of Objective-C, but it's great to see some of the conventions codified into a language and enforced by a compiler."

Favorite app: OmniGraffle. "It is a flawless tool for creating great diagrams."

A.B. Vijay Kumar, Bangalore, India

What he does: Developer for IBM India who works on enterprise apps for automobile industry clients.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Most excited about Continuity, which will offer "seamless integration between devices," and the awesome SDKs for HealthKit, CloudKit, Swift, Xcode enhancements, Playgrounds, 3-D view hierarchy interface builder, Camera and Touch ID.

On Swift: "Loved it -- much easier than Objective-C."

Favorite app: Flipboard and Monument Valley -- "a very peaceful game" that is completely different.

Hilmar B. Olafsson, Reykjavík, Iceland

What he does: Developer for mobile games company Plain Vanilla. Worked on QuizUp.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: OS X's new Spotlight search; in iOS 8, "a lot of stuff looks promising, especially from a developer standpoint: Swift Playgrounds, TestFlight integration, etc."

On Swift: See above.

Favorite app: Foursquare, Facebook Messenger, Uber, RunKeeper.

Nick Dalton, Evergreen, Colorado

What he does: App entrepreneur, developer and mentor. Worked on apps for Chipotle, Zinio.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Most interesting part? Handover and Extensions. Also interested in all of Apple's new frameworks for developers. "We won't see the results of this for many months or years," he said.

On Swift: "Always good for the brain cells to learn a new language."

Favorite app: Odyssey Translator, which helps you learn foreign languages. "It gives you a feel for the language and guides you to learn it."

Michael Petruzzo, Los Angeles

What he does: iOS developer and co-founder of Slight. He's worked on Slight, Grandview and Launchwrite (for Mac).

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Yosemite is "absolutely beautiful on a Retina display." When it comes to iOS 8, he's "extremely pleased that group chats in iMessage are being more considered."

On Swift: "I wasn't planning on learning another language this year but I'm stoked. Apple is going full-court-press on the platform."

Favorite app: Tinder. "They cracked social discovery. It validates a new behavior."

Dave Verwer, Manchester, England

What he does: iPhone and iPad developer and trainer who publishes IOS Dev Weekly.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Extensibility and sharing changes are "quote long-awaited!"

On Swift: Apple's new programming language lowers the barrier to entry for new iOS developers. "Building a platform for the next 10 years!"

Favorite app: Echofon – a "simple and reliable Twitter client."


Michael DiStefano, Portland, Oregon

What he does: iOS developer at Simple. Worked on Japanese vocabulary app Goi.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: CloudKit "lowers barrier to entry to server-backed app" and touch ID for third-party apps. "If I never have to login again I'd be super-happy."

On Swift: "Brings us all (sort of) back to the same level" and offers an "opportunity to develop new conventions with [an] understanding of mobile that wasn't available when Objective-C was created."

Favorite app: "Active diary" app Moves – "simple interface to very useful and 'delightful' app."

Andrew Stone, Albuquerque, New Mexico

What he does: Founder and chief software engineer at Stone Design. Worked on music app Bandojo, Twitter client Twittelator and page-layout app Create.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Best new feature? Swift! "I hate emailing myself."

On Swift: See above.

Favorite app: Words With Friends – "a game that requires the brain!"

Patrick O'Neill, Huntington Beach, California

What he does: CEO of Olloclip, maker of macro and telephoto lenses for iPhone and iPad.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Manual control of camera, which lets iPhoneographers set things like exposure, shutter speed and focus, is "going to give the user a lot more fine control over how their pictures look."

Favorite app: Instagram – "so easy to use."

Kru Majithiya, Melbourne, Australia

What he does: Developer at Gridstone. Worked on Vulhunter, an iOS app that checks for security vulnerabilities.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: The new Playgrounds functionality in Swift will make it much easier to test programming logic. "Build, run, build, run – that process will take you hours," he said, but Playgrounds will cut that time.

On Swift: See above.

Favorite app: Flipboard is a "great place to get all the news."

Ivan Ablamskyi, Kiev, Ukraine

What he does: Founder and CEO of Coppertino, maker of Mac music player Vox.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Handoff is a "cool feature to sync between iOS and Mac."

On Swift: Not excited -- it's "just another language."

Favorite app: HyperDock, a Mac utility that expands functionality of OS X's Dock.

What’s your take on iOS 8, Swift and OS X Yosemite?

Got your own favorite features in Apple’s latest releases? Let us know in the comments below.

Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Why no one cares about your app and what to do about it

Arnold Kim, of MacRumors, listens as a developer explains her app at the AltConf Journalist Pitch Lab in San Francisco, CA, June 3, 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Tara Zirker shows the StayAtHand travel app to MacRumors' Arnold Kim during AltConf's Journalist Pitch Lab. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — You created an app. You think it’s awesome. Your friends say so too. Something nags at you, though: You have zero reviews, your downloads don’t outnumber your Facebook pals, and you need to make rent.

There’s a fancy name for your problem: “discoverability.” Millions of good apps face it, gathering dust between bogus fart apps and Flappy Bird clones.

“It’s hard to make a living in the App Store,” says Michael Yacavone, founder of Individuate, which makes personal-development apps Ace It! and Affirmable.

But there is definitely money to be made in the App Store, to the tune of $15 billion Apple has paid developers so far. Apple recently vowed to improve discoverability by adding an “explore” tab to the App Store, but whether users will search for new and exciting apps remains to be seen. The basic problem remains for most developers: Nearly everyone is ignoring you. Journalists can help, but you have to know how to deal with them.