Top 10 WWDC 2016 Videos

Wondering which WWDC 2016 videos are the best for developers to watch? Check out our recommended top 10! By Tim Mitra.

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If you weren’t lucky enough to get a “golden ticket” to WWDC this year, catching up with the videos can be quite a challenge. There are over 120 of them available on the WWDC 2016 Videos site!

This year introduced a ton of new goodies for developers, notably SiriKit, iMessage Apps, the new Xcode 8 Memory Debugger, and much more.

Wondering which videos are the best “bang for your buck” with your limited amount of learning time? The Tutorial Team and I have assembled this list of what we consider to be the Top 10 WWDC 2016 videos.

Note: To watch more videos in less time, we recommend you download the videos from the WWDC 2016 Videos site and then use VLC media player or QuickTime Player to replay the videos to 1.5x or 2.0x speed. You can thank me later! :]

1) Platforms State of the Union

[Video Link]


If you only have time for one video, this is it!

For developers, the real start of WWDC is the Platforms State of the Union session. The Keynote is a fluffy offering to surprise and delight the general public, investors and Apple faithfuls. The State of the Union, in contrast, is where the really interesting details come out.

This talk surveys the new technologies and outlines which sessions will provide more details on each technology. Highlights of the 2016 Platforms State of the Union include:

  • Extensions bring many features of the four platforms are available to developers.
  • SiriKit and Messages have been opened up for use in your apps, along with enhancements to SpriteKit, SceneKit, AppKit, Core Data and GameplayKit.
  • watchOS 3 promises unheard of speed, background app refresh, inline video, SpriteKit and SceneKit.
  • Swift Playgrounds on the iPad was the biggest surprise. Positioned as educational tool, it’s now possible to write actual code and apps on the iPad.

There are many more new items covered in the Platform State of the Union than I can address in this article. If you watch no other WWDC 2016 session video, this is definitely the one you want.

2) What’s New in Swift

[Video Link]


One change that will affect every developer is the upcoming release of Swift 3, which brings some significant changes. If you’ve been following the Swift Evolution project closely, you can skip this session as you already know what’s coming, but if you haven’t this session is well worth watching.

The session begins by looking at the state of Swift and its open source development. Swift 3.0 is the first release of the Swift Evolution open source project. The aim is to make Swift open and transparent, develop it under a strict code of conduct and release it with a permissive license.

The bulk of the session covers what’s new in Swift 3, with the major change being the “Swift-ification” of Apple APIs. The session highlights the new naming conventions, reduced redundancies and the benefits of using structs over strings in enumerations.

In addition, many changes have taken place in the semantics of Swift. Highlights include: improved syntax, type systems, improved implicitly unwrapped optionals, changes in the standard library, numerics and dictionaries using strings. Whole module optimization is on by default and the compiler now caches as much as possible.

Of course, to help the migration of your code easier, Xcode 8 includes a handy Swift Migrator tool. Apple encourages developers to update their code and get ready for the Fall release.

“We asked ourselves, if some things were not already in Swift, would we add them? Often the answer is no.” – Chris Lattner

Note: To learn more about migrating to Swift 3, check out What’s New in Swift 3? by Ben Morrow and WWDC 2016 Initial Impressions by Chris Wagner.

3) What’s New in watchOS 3

[Video Link]


The Apple Watch, while having a high adoption rate among the faithful, has suffered from poor performance. Many developers have turned away from it, hoping that Apple would remedy the experience for users. It appears that with watchOS 3 they have done just that!

With new features like background refresh and some under-the-hood tinkering, Apple claims to improve performance by 70%. By creating app snapshots, each app can be pre-loaded into memory so that apps snap open immediately.

Game developers have wondered about using the watch for game development as well. watchOS 3 brings SpriteKit and SceneKit integration, as well as inline video and speaker access with AVFoundation. Network access and CloudKit sharing in the background are also new. Adding this to the digital crown, gyroscope, and gesture recognizers means “game on”.

Glances have been rolled into the much more accessible and interactive Dock. Complications and ClockKit will allow developers to create unique experiences. This session video delves into these items and few more.

If you’re interested in writing watchOS apps, this session is a must see.

4) Improving Existing Apps with Modern Best Practices

[Video Link]

“Each bug is a unique snowflake”

This session got plenty of upvotes, especially from the seasoned developers. The talk offers straight-up advice applicable to almost any app:

  • Set Minimum Version. At the time I’m writing this, 95% of devices are running either iOS 8 or iOS 9. So step one is to set your minimum version to 8.4 and take advantage of the improvements offered by Apple. When iOS 10 ships, set the minimum version to 9.3. Use the Issue Navigator to fix all those warnings and update the deprecated methods. You can even turn on “treat warnings as errors” – just pretend Chris Lattner is reviewing your code! :]
  • Adopt Accessibility. It’s critical to make sure your apps work for user who cannot see your impressive graphics. Be aware of locale-related elements, such as date and number formats.
  • Use the Migrator. Use the new Swift Migrator to migrate your code to Swift 3 and test the results. File bug reports and tell Apple what didn’t work.
  • Use Asset Catalogs. Asset Catalogs can make your app more performant and better-looking on multiple devices.
  • Use Dependency Injection. This is a good way to pass items around between your view controllers, in prepareForSegue() and with an unwind segue. You could also do what Apple does and employ protocols.

These are just a few tips – this session is chock full of many more. This is a great session for anyone developing apps.


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