Craig-iOS7-WWDC-APIs-SDK-01

We’ve reported on a number of big improvements coming to iOS 7 for both app developers and accessory manufacturers already. Yesterday we reported first on the new blinking and smiling detection features available to camera and photo app developers, and earlier this month told you about some of the new Bluetooth related APIs coming this fall.

We previously walked you through some of the new APIs and features for gamers, but there is still a lot more coming to third-party app developers in iOS 7. A few big improvements: a text to speech API, background downloads for in-app content, motion effects, 3D maps, and much more.

Head below for details on some of the more notable new APIs available for developers to take advantage of in iOS 7:

Text to speech API |

One new API available to app devs in iOS 7 is Text to Speech. In the past, developers would have to integrate their own text to speech solution, which of course adds time and cost to development and makes apps larger. With iOS 7, Apple is integrating an API that will allow developers to make their apps speak with just three lines of code. Not only will it allow iOS app developers to implement speech in their apps with ease, it will also work in Safari for developers building web applications.

Motion-Effects-iOS7-01Motion Effects |

One of the big new user interface features to get attention in iOS 7 is the parallax effect that makes onscreen objects appear to move in a 3D space as you tilt and move the display. Apple showed off the feature with the home screen’s icons, and is also using it for other UI elements such as action sheets and Safari tabs. Good news for developers: the feature is also going to be available for third-party devs to easily build into their apps using new APIs known as Motion Effects. Just like parallax, Motion Effects will be controlled by the device motion detected by the accelerometer, and devs can apply it to any object animatable with Core Animation.

Background Downloads |

Like Apple has done with Newsstand background downloads in previous versions of iOS, apps will now be able to download assets in the background. Instead of a download within an app stopping when the app gets backgrounded, Apple will now take care of the process for developers. It will also do so with power efficiency in mind by downloading faster when on WiFi or, for instance, when the app is in the foreground, and slower if the app is backgrounded and network conditions aren’t optimal.

Free Hosted in-App purchases |

Something else both developers and users will appreciate in iOS is free hosted in-app purchases thanks to new APIs in Store Kit. That means Apple will allow developers to offer free in-app downloads to users, and Apple will take care of everything in terms of hosting and distributing the content so devs don’t have to run their own services. The hosted in-app purchases will download in the background and be limited to 2GB per in-app purchase, but should be a great way for developers to distribute optional content to users and reduce the size of initial downloads.

In addition to new unified receipts for app purchases that now include in-app purchases and the initial app purchase in a single receipt just like on OS X, Apple is also providing devs with an easier way to report suspicious activity related to in-app purchases in iOS 7. When detecting irregular activity, devs can now easily let Apple know if multiple devices are making purchases for the same game account. New unified receipts will also help devs transition to the freemium model, allowing them to easily see when a user purchased the app (before or after going free) in order to know what content they are entitled too.

As we noted previously, Apple also implemented a way for devs to crack down on cheaters spamming leaderboards in iOS 7.

Maps |

iOS7-Maps-3DOn top of updated cartography and improved hybrid satellite imagery in Maps (pictured above), iOS 7 brings some improvements to third-party developers using Apple’s Map Kit.

The most notable is new APIs for working with 3D maps. Just like the maps app on iOS 7, developers can now access maps with 3D buildings and two finger gestures for rotating and pitching the map within a 3D environment. The new MKMapCamera API will also let developers adjust the camera position within a 3D map and create cinematic camera transitions.

Developers will have the ability to test the rotate and pitch movements right in the iOS simulator.

One other new Map Kit feature for third-party devs is Directions, allowing apps to integrate both Apple’s driving and walking directions with alternate routes and time estimates.

Check out some of the other new features that app developers will have access to in iOS 7 in our previous coverage of new Buetooth APIs, new features for gamers, and the new blinking and smiling detection features.