Apple is working on a developer cloud

In a public recruitment advert, Apple has effectively announced that it’s developing new cloud-based services for third-party developers.

Currently, Apple’s developer services are largely web-based, with separate App Store Connect and Notary services which aren’t fully integrated. Access to some, such as Notarization, is partially incorporated in its Xcode SDK, but developers often have to resort to command tools during preparation of software for distribution. Many developers have been openly critical of what they experience as weak parts in these services.

This new post is for a senior ‘manager of managers’ based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where Xcode is developed, and it’s only natural that any future service would be tightly integrated with Xcode.

In the past, Apple has been an industry leader in developer support services. During the late 1980s, it welcomed registered developers to its worldwide AppleLink service. At a time when most of us were still using dial-up modems to connect, this gave direct email access to Apple engineers and other staff in Apple’s offices around the world, and a suite of bulletin boards containing news and discussions. Its client software integrated well with Classic Mac OS, and the communications backbone was operated by General Electric Information Services (GEIS) under contract.

AppleLink was featured in world news on 9 August 1991, when it bore the first email sent from space, from a Maintosh Portable in the Space Shuttle.

Quantum Computer Services, who developed the AppleLink client software for Apple, launched their own client and service in 1989, which they called America Online, and developed into what is now AOL.

Apple launched eWorld, AppleLink’s AOL-based successor in 1994, then migrated developer services to the Web over following years, finally turning AppleLink off in 1997.

It remains to be seen what announcements Apple will make at WWDC in June this year, although it probably won’t be until 2021-2 that its full developer cloud launches.