Updates from Google and Apple: What developers can expect

There have been rumours as well as public announcements from both Apple and Google over the past few days. For Apple, rumours have been circling almost non-stop about iOS 8, the new update to Apple’s mobile operating system. On Google’s front, the company just announced some major updates for Google Play game services ahead of the Game Developers Conference this week.

What iOS Devs Should Watch Out For:

Though the official announcement of iOS 8 is still months away (it is rumored to be released around the time of Apple’s developer conference), it doesn’t stop the internet from speculating about what iOS 8 will change from iOS 7. In addition to increased speed and stability, here are a few proposed updates:

Inter-App Communications: Apple is rumored to be testing functionality to allow apps from the App Store to communicate and send data to each other. The API has reportedly been under development for a few years. It was rumored that this XPC service would be ready for iOS 7, but it was removed from the final version without much explanation. Hopefully, the bug fixes and tweaks will be finished before the release of iOS 8.

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Game Center: Apple is reportedly considering removing the little-used Game Center app for both iOS and OS X. The functionality of the Game Center will not be removed for any mobile games that currently use the social service. This rumor is more of a toss up. Apple spent time redesigning the Game Center app with iOS 7, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they still decide to keep it

CarPlay: Apple’s much-talked-about car extension will receive added functionality with iOS 8. Rumors are that Apple is trying to make CarPlay available over WiFi instead of just by Lightning cable. Full CarPlay functionality for third-party developers may still be a way off, but devs should keep an eye on all the developments for this service.

What Android Devs Should Watch Out For:

The updates to Google Play game services have already been confirmed by Google, but Android game developers should be aware of the new features:

Cross-Platform Expansion: Google Play is expanding its mobile games services even more into iOS by introducing turn-based and real-time multiplayer options for iOS. This is important news for mobile game developers as users who are playing their games can now compete with other users across mobile platforms.

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Unity developers may know that there is a plug-in available from Google Play Games which already supports iOS. This plugin will soon be updated by Google to include the new real-time multiplayer capabilities.

Google is currently working on an SDK for non-Unity developers, but the multi-player capabilities will not yet be available when the SDK launches. Both the early SDK and the new plugin should be made available within the coming days.

Google Play’s cross-platform expansion signals an interesting shift in the way the top 3 mobile platforms interact with each other. Microsoft has already signaled that Xbox Live is expanding across platforms into mobile. This push by Microsoft and Google could signal that the companies are looking to lessen the power of third-party sites like Facebook, where most users go to see leaderboards and friend’s activity when playing social-connected mobile games.

Which updates are you looking forward to? Tell us below!

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