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Apple expands Xcode Cloud platform with launch of paid subscriptions

The new paid tiers will allow development teams to purchase additional compute resources for uses such as app testing and automated bug hunting

Apple has expanded its Xcode Cloud programme to now allow paid subscriptions for developers wishing to access additional compute resources.

There are now four Xcode Cloud subscriptions available, three of which were launched on Tuesday adding to the free tier which was made available to all in June following Apple’s WWDC event.

The three paid tiers offer 100, 250, and 1,000 monthly compute hours respectively, costing $49.99, $99.99, and $399.99.

The original free tier was previously the only subscription available to developers. It came free of charge and offered 25 compute hours per month.

The free tier will remain free until December 2023, Apple said, after which time it will be priced at $14.99. 

A compute hour refers to an hour of time used to conduct a specific activity in Xcode Cloud, such as building or testing an app, or running automated tests on different devices.

Xcode Cloud is a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform for developers of apps on Apple’s device ecosystem to more seamlessly develop and publish apps to the App Store.

Made generally available in June 2022, it followed a year of private beta testing before the wider developer community was allowed to benefit from it.

There are several benefits Apple said developers can enjoy if they use Xcode Cloud, such as automated workflows that will alert all project developers to potential issues or bugs when a new code change is made.

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Apple said this could ‘potentially save days’ of wasted time before the bugs are found by the app’s users after it’s published.

Parallel testing is another of the key benefits offered by Xcode Cloud - it allows developers to scan a project’s health and compatibility on a range of devices and configurations to ensure a solid build is published.

Each device test contributes towards the monthly allotted compute hours so use the feature sparingly. For example, running five 12-minute tests will equal one compute hour used from the developer’s subscription.

Xcode Cloud also interoperates with TestFlight, the company’s beta testing service meaning it’s easy to send experimental builds to all beta testers and receive feedback quickly. 

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