June 2, 2014 Last Updated 6:43 pm

Apple event previews new features for consumers (and developers), though little news for digital publishers

Apple unveils new programming language for developers, Swift; also introduced Test Flight for beta testing and previewing apps, bundled apps

The big Worldwide Developers Conference event today was not expected to yield much news for digital publishers, and it did not. But for developers, the event ended with the startling news that Apple will be launching a new programming language called Swift, replacing Objective-C.

Apple-event-cook-1Before unveiling its new programming language, Apple concentrated on previewing new features to be found in the next generation of the Mac OS, which will be called Yosemite, and the new iOS 8. Like iOS 7, much of the new features found inside the new software is cosmetic, but many new useful features will be introduced, as well.

The new versions of the operating systems will allow iPhone users to make and receive calls from their Mac and iPads, a feature that will probably convince even more landline users to finally dump their service.

iCloud Drive is will likely be a big Dropbox competitor, and Mail Drop will allow for the sharing of files of up to 5 GB.

Apple mentioned little about the Newsstand or programs like iBooks Author. But it did mention a couple items that will be of interest.

First, Apple will now allow developers to bundle apps together into lines of apps. Does this relevance to portfolios of magazine titles, for instance?

Apple also is finally introducing Test Flight, one of its recent acquisitions, as a service tied to developer account program. This will allow a developer to let folks like, well, TNM, to test out a new app prior to its launch.

Apple hinted that there would major changes to the App Store, briefly previewing search and design changes – though few of these changes appear to really impact that basic mess that the App Store and the Newsstand has become. Search, after all, is all about a product finding what you already know about. The problem publishers have involves discoverability, which is a bit of a different issue than search.

swift-heroApple software chief Craig Federighi also unveiled a feature that will allow third party apps to utilize widgets from other apps. The demonstration showed how a Bing translation could be used to translate text within another app. As Apple does not have built-in translation inside Safari or its other apps, it is a way to bring new features. Could this allow for translation with digital publication apps?

WWDC is, of course, about developers and at the end of the event it surprised many by unveiling Swift, a new program language. The introduction of Swift may prove to be a very, very big deal. The programming language promises to simplify app developing and geeks everywhere will be putting it through its paces over the next few days and weeks.

But for publishers, programming languages are for their developers and vendors to concern themselves with. For investors, Swift is way over their heads when in comes to understanding the significance of it – and, of course, time will tell if developers find it useful.

As for publishers, the lack of mention of Newsstand or iBooks Author will mean today’s event was a complete snooze.

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