While the press loves all the new announcements and hardware announced at WWDC 2023, the show is really about how developers can make the next generation of apps and programs for Apple devices.
After the main keynote, I sat down with a few Canadian developers who made it to Cupertino, California, to experience Apple’s new software in person.
Six years after Sarah Boland left her marketing persona behind, she brought her stop motion app, LifeLapse, to WWDC.
During the 2023 conference, Boland and Teresa Mayede, the head of brand marketing at Life Lapse, were excited to learn more about the behind-the-scene updates for in-app purchases and new ways to provide education for its users.
The education side of Life Lapse has been growing for a while, and the team just added more learning zones and life hacks to their app to ensure that anyone can get the most out of stop motion. The company’s website includes tripod hacks, unique ways to use stop-motion animation and a free masterclass.
Overall, the Life Lapse story seems to be one of defying odds. Boland even started out by getting “demolished” on Canada’s Dragon’s Den investment show and then using that energy to prove herself. Years later, Life Lapse supports a team of people and has a 4.8 rating in the iOS app store.
Regarding Apple’s new Vision Pro headset, the team is excited about moving their stop-motion editing expertise to the headset. While there are a lot of cameras in the virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) headset, the nature of it being on a human instead of a tripod makes it ill-equipped for stop motion. However, if the new 3D camera tech comes to any other Apple products, it could be something the team at Life Lapse will start playing with more.
Waterllama is an app that recently fell into the Canadian zone as its creators, Vitalii Mogylevets and Polina Komisarova-Mogylevets, moved to Toronto from Ukraine.
The app uses fun characters and design to help users remember to stay hydrated throughout their day. This is the second year for Waterllama at WWDC since the app won the Cultural Impact award at the 2022 App Store Awards.
I got to talk to Vitalii at the 2023 WWDC event, and the first thing that seemed to strike him was how much more comfortable he was this year. He shared a lot of experience about how WWDC is a really fun collaborative experience for developers who don’t get to meet many other app-based creatives in their day-to-day lives.
When it comes to what was announced at WWDC, many ideas have popped into his head regarding other apps his team can create. The most recent app they’re still working on is called Mindllama, which helps people de-stress throughout the day, and there are plans for another that focuses on sleep.
Specifically, Vitalii is playing around with ideas to expand the Mindllama experience into VR with the new Vision Pro since the immenseness of the headset should allow for intense and very calming meditation sessions.
That’s not all; even the new smart stack widgets on watchOS seem perfect to help Waterllama users to track their hydration intake, and there’s a chance that the new wrist movement API could help the app know when you’re drinking and prompt you to log your liquids.
You can view the entire family of Llama tracking apps on the iOS store here.
Travellers looking to move around foreign cities with the same ability as a local should try out Busbud.
This app is from Montreal, and I got to talk with a development team member Nathaniel Blumer. The service lets people see various types of travel information, but it’s generally locked to affordable ground transportation methods like buses, trains, ferries and carpool services.
You can think of Busbud as the Expedia.ca of ground travel, but it’s actually much more than that, with included travel guides, translated buying options in foreign countries and more.
At WWDC, Blumer was thrilled to talk to other developers about minor bugs that he’s been struggling with since the team rebuilt Busbud in SwiftUI a few years ago, and by the time I had talked to him on day two, he’d already met with people who confirmed those bugs are being worked on at Apple.
That said, don’t get the wrong idea about Busbud. Since the SwiftUI rebuild, the app has risen from a mid-two-star rating in the App Store to an incredible 4.8. In my brief time testing it out, the app moved smoothly, featured a consistent and well-implemented design and seemed very straightforward to use. I could see myself using it to learn more about local transit options the next time I travel.
While he’s not sure if Busbud will make its way to Vision Pro any time soon, Blumer wants to take a more measured approach by incorporating AR into the standard Busbud app first as a visual way to help direct users to bus stops and through confusing train stations.