WWDC 2018: What Apple’s latest updates mean for devops teams

From iOS 11 to “digital wellness,” the updates from Apple’s annual developers conference were not to be missed and are now causing the most chatter among the devops community

wwdc2018 keynote
Apple

Last week, Apple held its annual WWDC conference in San Jose, California. A staple in the developer community, the event is highly anticipated across multiple industries and consumers alike as it brings provides all the latest updates to Apple’s platforms—both web and mobile.

Similar to previous conferences, this year’s event was filled with exciting updates and promises of faster performance coupled with new features. From a first look at iOS 12 and its features to Siri getting smarter and the ability to create your own personalized emoji, the industry is still energetic following the latest updates. But as industry influencers and reporters dissect the various announcements made, what does this all actually mean for the developer community? Which will have the greater impact on their day-to-day routine and tasks and what will be the biggest challenges?

Following last year’s conference, I dove deep into the preview of iOS 11. With the announcement coming three months before the operating system was set to hit the market, I broke down the biggest changes and challenges devops teams would be facing with iOS 11. This year, I’d like to expand my focus to explore some of the top announcements coming from this year’s show and what each means for devops teams. From iOS 12 to MacOS Mojave, there is a lot devops teams need to take into consideration.

Bottom line: iOS 12 means more continuous testing for devops teams

Undoubtedly one of the biggest announcements from this year’s conference is the announcement of iOS 12. The reason it is getting so much buzz is because this operating system will be available for iPhones dating back to 2013 and also the iPhone 5s. As you may recall, Apple has caught a bit of criticism in the past for its updates, as many felt new operating systems weren’t supported by older devices and older phones were slowing down.

With this announcement, users will get most of the new features included in iOS 12, along with the latest security patches. Apple is also touting that iOS 12 will provide better performance that won’t slow older phones down.

Understandably, people are excited about not having to purchase a brand-new device, but what does this new operating system mean for devops teams? Unfortunately, there is quite a bit more testing to come for devops with the news of this latest operating system, especially considering rumors of five new devices coming in September.

Traditionally, devops will prioritize testing against the leading devices and operating systems; however, with the release of iOS 12 and its ability to run on older devices, teams will need to expand their testing to include testing the new operating systems on devices such as the iPhone 5s. Teams will have to consider things like varying screen resolutions across a variety of devices. In a time when digital apps are serving as the leading engagement points, devops need to ensure apps run flawlessly regardless of what phone or operating system a customer is using. 

To avoid some of the panic around the expanded testing environment, devops teams should keep in mind that not all devices, and not all users, will update to the iOS 12 immediately. Because of this, teams should prioritize testing iOS 11 and iOS 12 in parallel for the next six to nine months.

Tracking personal wellness means added pressure for devops teams

Since the introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007, mobile usage has grown exponentially. Not only are people spending more time on their phones, but they are using their phones to complement their daily activities.

In a somewhat interesting twist, last week Apple announced a number of features that will help limit the amount of time spent on your phone, if you have such desires. From knowing how much time you spend on your device to control device usage for children, Apple seems to be tackling the issue of digital well-being head on. However, this focus on digital wellness will likely not to transfer to devops team. This change is also aligned with the recent announcement from Google at last month Google I/O conference on its “digital well-being” transformation.

It has always been top of mind for devops teams to deliver a consistent experience user permanent for retaining new and current users, making updates quicker and adding new features on a consistent basis. With Apple putting controls in place that help users limit how much time they spend on their phones, competition will rise. The quality of the app is going to be more important than ever now.

If apps are going to be used less frequently, devops teams will need to work overtime to compete with other apps on the market and ensure that they are constantly introducing new features to keep customers attention. And, developers are going to need to cater all future updates to consumers in this same way; ensuring optimal quality every time.

Mojave introduces new testing platforms for web developers

From a web testing perspective, the preview of MacOS Mojave is getting the most attention. With this new operating system will also come an update from Safari. Similar to what iOS 12 means for mobile devops teams, these updates introduce a new operating system and browser that teams will need to test against. Apple made a beta version of the operating system available directly after the keynote last week, so devops teams have likely already started to dig into it for testing purposes. Testing for responsive web design (RWD) and progressive web apps (PWAs) will now need to take place on this new operating system and Safari.

In addition, an interesting set of features were also planted into the new MacOS version. Notably, a new Mac App Sore was developed that enables dev teams to include iOS apps in this MacOS store. It can be a great time when GA is out for devops team to consider leveraging this new app store and match the apps that can and should fit both OS platforms.

Devops teams will certainly have their hands full with the string of announcements coming from last week’s show. User experience will dictate which organizations succeed and which ones fail as a result of these new updates.

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