The three biggest stories of the week1. Apple's commitment to Swift is clear
On Friday, Apple launched a public blog dedicated to the advancement of the company's new programming language, Swift. It's a rare move for the typically secretive company.
As the Swift team at Apple noted in its first post:
This new blog will bring you a behind-the-scenes look into the design of the Swift language by the engineers who created it, in addition to the latest news and hints to turn you into a productive Swift programmer. Get started with Swift by downloading Xcode 6 beta, now available to all Registered Apple Developers for free. The Swift Resources tab has a ton of great links to videos, documentation, books, and sample code to help you become one of the world’s first Swift experts. There’s never been a better time to get coding! - The Swift TeamFirst unveiled at last month's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Swift is designed to be faster, clearer, and more computationally effective than Objective-C.
Apple has also released a free Swift programming guide on the iBookstore. The 500-page manual offers a detailed guide for each feature and a formal reference for the language.
2. OS X Yosemite, iOS 8 development moves forward
Apple is set to release public versions of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite this fall. The next crop of beta updates should arrive before the end of July.
For more on the current betas, see: Apple's iOS 8 Beta 3 Adds M7-Powered Pedometer, Caffeine Tracking To The Health App, and AppAdvice Daily: The Messages App Is Now Useable Thanks To iOS 8 Beta 3.3. Is Apple committed to accessibility? The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) recently approved a resolution to press Apple to create and enforce accessibility standards for apps. In a post that many have since called inaccurate, Reuters suggested the NFB resolution could lead to litigation. By the end of the week, NFB was forced to clarify its position, and its opinion of Apple. As Aldrin Calimlim noted:
Reuters reported on the resolution in an article that’s “provocative and poorly reported,” according to a blog post by NFB President Mark A. Riccobono (via Daring Fireball), thereby fueling “inaccurate assertions” about the proposal ... “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date, and we have duly recognized this by presenting the company with at least two awards (including our annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award) and publicly praising it whenever the opportunity arises,” Riccobono adds. “We do not want to needlessly antagonize a company that has been such an outstanding accessibility champion. Nevertheless, inaccessible apps continue to proliferate, and blind users cannot update the apps on their iPhones without anxiety.”In 2008, thanks to pressure from the NFB, Apple began adding captions and other accessibility improvements to iTunes. Since then, many of these features have been added to the iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, and Apple TV products. These features, however, only relate to each device’s operating system. There are no accessibility standards for the third-party apps that run on those devices.
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