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Apple Watch Apps Instantly Went 64-Bit Thanks To Obscure Bitcode Option

Monday October 1, 2018. 10:40 PM , from Slashdot/Apple
Jeremy Horwitz, writing for VentureBeat: An obscure feature in Apple's Xcode development software enabled Apple Watch apps to make an instant transition from 32-bit to 64-bit last month, an unheralded win for Apple Watch developers inside and outside the company. The 'Enable Bitcode' feature was introduced to developers three years ago, but the Accidental Tech Podcast suggests that it was quietly responsible for the smooth launch of software for the Apple Watch Series 4 last month. Support for Bitcode was originally added to Xcode 7 in November 2015, subsequently becoming optional for iOS apps but mandatory for watchOS and tvOS apps. Bitcode is an 'intermediate representation' halfway between human-written app code and machine code. Rather than the developer sending a completely compiled app to the App Store, enabling Bitcode provides Apple with a partially compiled app that it can then finish compiling for whatever processors it wants to support. The report suggests that this change allowed Apple to avoid the great 'appocalypse' which occurred when it decided to kill support for 32-bit apps on iOS.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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