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WWDC is tomorrow, and there has been some rumblings about what might be coming with Xcode - this tweet really got me thinking more - about Xcode, it's future, and what technologies is Apple blessing.

What would a next generation Xcode look like? We do know there have been tons of rumors and demand for Xcode for iPad. This kind of raises more questions then it answers though.

Here is what I think Apple is going to do tomorrow with Xcode:

Xcode for iPad ARM

But yeah, Xcode for iPad - although I don't think it is really the point - the point is the wholistic future of the IDE and developing for Apple platforms.

Surely Apple is not going to port the existing Xcode implementation to the iPad - that'd be a lot of work, but more importantly why would they? Shedding tons of legacy options and features from Xcode for an iPad implementation in order to begin working on the future of the Apple IDE is crucial. Xcode wasn't meant to handle all of this originally, and it really, really shows when you are building software with it. I do not want to cement the current iteration of Xcode as being the defacto IDE into our ARM future, and I doubt Apple does either - it screams legacy.

Xcode "Next"

I believe Apple will announce this as a brand new re-envisioning of Xcode, potentially even breaking from the "Xcode" nomenclature - released alongside a fine but relatively small update to the now soon-to-be-legacy Xcode in an Xcode 12.

The fact that this is "Xcode" coming to iPad, will not even be the biggest part of this - even though it will be what shows up in the headlines. The iPad seems like a very convenient ARM computer that is already shipped that Apple can use to set up the future of their platforms on ARM for these type of things (yes, it is also great to have - but I think "Xcode to iPad"!!! misses the point here).

This new Xcode - will likely remove things that new projects don't tend to use (Storyboards, Objective-C, C++? support, etc) resulting in a more focused + performant product - and a stronger statement of the future of developing on Apple platforms then they have ever made. Time to stop arguing on Twitter about whether it is a good choice to be building new things in Objective-C.

Without these things, this new IDE will essentially be a way to build apps using Swift / SwiftUI. But most importantly, I think this is first iteration to what will either immediately be, or soon will be - the IDE we use to build apps from/for any Apple Platform.

Remote Builds


This new IDE could have large focus on remote building, as it is likely a main feature of how the iPad app actually works - it builds your code remotely and runs it locally. I doubt Apple will have any large scale remote build service for development builds - but you could set up your Mac potentially to be the remote machine. It is also possible (probable), that this will just be an option - as the toolchains that are needed to build applications will have to be brought to ARM anyway because of the Mac ARM transition that is also rumored. Or maybe there will be no remote ability - the iPad CPUs are plenty fast enough to actually compile apps.


I think we will see the return of BuddyBuild - the solution for CI/CD for Apple Developers. I am not super hopeful with this considering past attempts by Apple to solve this issue and similar ones, but it could mean easily doing all of the development parts of the SDLC (Build, Test, Deploy) from your iPad (ARM machine).

Also, I get the feeling for some reason that they will not allow developers to use a new BuddyBuild system for free (unless they require it for submission, which is possible). 50$ / month for Apple CI/CD? This is going to be something incredibly expensive to run, if they end up doing it at this scale - 50$ / month might not even mean they break even - if they care.

Xcode Old

Starting Monday, I think opening the current generations of Xcode will begin to feel old and slow(er than it already does, somehow!).

Let me know what you think of this on Twitter.

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