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Isn’t it great to be back to not having a beta version of Xcode installed? I hope you enjoyed the last few days because that time is over. 😂

But why would you install the Xcode 14.1 beta that came out two days ago? Well, if you’re anything like me, then your current favourite feature of iOS 16 is the new lock screen widgets, and iOS 16.1 will enable live activities on the lock screen (and in the Dynamic Island, for those with a Pro). Apple has even published two new articles on displaying live data and updating/ending a Live Activity to get you started!

Time to start coding that Live Activity, right? Did that Xcode beta download finish yet?

As always-on screens become standard across in-use iPhones over the next few years, will these constantly updating widgets become an essential part of how we (and our users) use our phones? It’s so difficult to know. Sure, the examples of an in-progress sports game or a time-sensitive delivery (the documentation uses a Pizza delivery as its example) are obvious! But will people use and appreciate this feature in your app if you spend time implementing it?

Or is it another Launchpad (which was deemed important enough to make it onto hardware buttons!), iBeacons, iMessage apps, or so many others that looked amazing at launch but didn’t pan out into real-world use? I intend no criticism of Apple with that last sentence. None of us can be sure of which features will be truly successful before they launch, no matter how much market research or planning we do.

If I had to make a guess, I think Live Activities stand a good chance of being successful. The new lock screen is something everyone with an iPhone uses multiple times every day, and that’s a good start. But as always, it’s a balance. Do you have a compelling use case that you can’t ignore? Will you get some marketing juice out of being there with a day-one Live Activity release? Will Apple feature your app? Or would it be better to wait and see how the dust settles?

If you need to spend more than a couple of minutes thinking about how you could use this API, it might be good to hold off on that beta Xcode download for a few weeks.

Dave Verwer

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Is your company hiring? Now is a great time to get some eyes on your open job opportunities. Please let your hiring managers know that they can post jobs for free over on iOS Dev Jobs.

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