On the missing Xcode

Update: We got a seed of an Xcode 10.2 today (January 24, 2018) – so no conspiracy. Perhaps a holiday break? It was fun to write all this down at least.

As an iOS developer I’m used to change. We get new apis every June, new betas of iOS and Xcode every few weeks. Our environment is always changing.

But something recently stopped changing. Xcode. If you go to Xcode Releases and look, the last release iOS developers got was Xcode 10.1, released on October 30, 2018. 84 days ago.

Scroll back through previous releases, and I can’t see any other time where releases have paused this long.

I have a few guesses/crazy theories about this, enough that I’ve decided to write them down.

Mac With Arm Chips

There’s been more and more rumors recently about Macs coming with ARM chips. I can imagine Apple pausing releases of Xcode to integrate and test support for them. I can also imagine an Apple keynote where they announce them, shipping in a month, and a beta of Xcode drops with that support. When? March or April perhaps? Beyond that I feel it’s too close to WWDC 2018 in June.

iOS 13

There’s been lots of speculation that iOS 13 is going to add support for iPad features. Given that could require massive Xcode changes, Apple pauses releases to add support and test. When? It would have to be at WWDC 2018 in June, given previous history.

Marzipan

At WWDC 2018, Apple announced they will be bringing forth a way for iOS apps to run on macOS. This will necessitate massive changes to Xcode to support, hence the current pause. When? Apple said 2019. The question in my mind is do they seed a release to developers earlier than WWDC 2019 in June.

Seed Marzipan in March, get developer feedback for a few months until June, when iOS 13 drops with better iPad support, and hand in hand better macOS support for Marzipan apps.

Conclusion

The pause in Xcode releases is odd. Odd enough that I felt compelled to write this down. But I have no little birdie to tell me any secrets. Yes, I have friends that work in various parts of Apple. But I learned long ago not to ask them any questions, knowing I didn’t want to put them in any awkward spots.

What would be really funny is if we get a new Xcode seed tomorrow morning.