Apple today has started selling the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack on its online store. With all the news about the company building out and prototyping virtual reality tech, it’s interesting to see it offering a glimpse at what that future tech may be by selling the device on the online store. Harkening back to the classic ideals of the View-Masters from the past, the new View-Master allows users to go on exciting new adventures. Utilizing a mix of augmented reality and virtual reality, these adventures are now taken to a whole new level. Taking advantage of Experience Packs, users can navigate space, various destinations, and wildlife through a mix of AR and VR.
Apple has quietly added a server-side API to CloudKit, following an announcement on the developer news blog. This will enable developers to add a lot of functionality to apps powered by CloudKit, enabling developers to interact with the iCloud CloudKit database outside of user interaction with iOS, Mac or web apps. The web service API enables developers to run independent code on servers that can add, delete and modify records in the CloudKit stack.
Until now, interaction with CloudKit has been limited to the APIs Apple provided in apps. Although this was useful, it lacked the options for more advanced use — most modern apps rely on servers to perform tasks whilst users are away. With the addition of the web API, developers can create many more types of applications using CloudKit as the backend. For instance, an RSS reader app can now add new feed items to the CloudKit stack from the server. Before, this action could only occur when a user opened a CloudKit-powered app, which was essentially impractical and meant developers had to use other tools.
There’s been a lot of conversation this week around the quality of Apple’s software and services, and yesterday’s brief App Store outage certainly didn’t help. It’s true that new services like Apple Music and iCloud Photo Library are improving but aren’t rock solid yet, but there are two things that currently sour the app experience for me.
First, Apple only does a so-so job of implementing new software features from operating system updates into their own apps. It’s too easy to rattle off a dozen examples. Second, major players like Facebook and YouTube don’t have first class apps that showcase new software features either, and this is where customers spend the most amount of time.