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I didn’t comment on the iOS 14 leaks of the last few weeks. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know rumours aren’t my thing.

However, as I was reading Bryce Pauken’s piece on the private API that allows non-numeric notification badges this week, one of those rumours did strike me. Specifically, the possibility of widgets making it onto the iOS home screen.

At one side of the scale, you’ve got the iOS 14 rumour of widget filled home screens, and on the other, you have iOS 13 where the only dynamic customisation of an app’s representation on the home screen is a number in a red circle.

It struck me that there might be a middle ground between the two, dynamic app icons. Back when the iPhone was new, it made sense that apps couldn’t draw their app icon. Apps terminated when they were not frontmost, and there were no background APIs. Memory and battery were too constrained. But now? With low power cores, massive batteries, and comprehensive backgrounding options? It feels like it should be feasible. If we can have an always-on, 1Hz refresh rate screen on our wrist, I’m sure we can have a sometimes-on 1Hz dynamic icon refresh.

If the widget rumour turns out to be real, they’ll likely be first-party only. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get a little crumb thrown our way with dynamic app icons? I’d finally be able to remove the default calendar app off my home screen and replace it with the calendar app that I use. 🤞

Note: I don't include custom app icons in my list of customisation options for iOS 13 apps, as changing them takes direct user interaction.

Dave Verwer

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Senior iOS Engineer @ onX – Are you an iOS developer who loves the outdoors? Bring your iOS skills to onX, where we bring our devotion to the outdoors to work daily with a singular, powerful goal; to inspire others to find their own adventures off the pavement. – Remote, or Montana, USA


It's also worth saying that if you're actively looking for a job, you should sign up for the jobs specific mailing list over at iOS Dev Jobs. It's one email a week, every Monday, and includes lots of jobs that don't get featured here. I'm also planning something a bit special for the jobs site soon, so you'll want to be signed up for when that ships!

And finally...

Remember ArgumentParser? Well, what if someone used it to build a tool to create entire SwiftUI apps from the command-line... and no, it doesn’t generate source code, it generates entire. working. apps... from a command-line tool. 😬

You should probably see it to believe it... I honestly don't know how I feel about this. 😂