August 22, 2019

WWDC 2019 Keynote Recap: This is Only the Beginning

One thing is for sure. Apple is working on something big. We’re not even exactly sure how big just yet.

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June 5, 2017

5 Key Takeaways from the WWDC 2017 Keynote

Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is the tech giant’s biggest event of the year. It kicks off with a keynote where all the device and software updates for the year are unveiled and the rest of the week is spent training developers in attendance to leverage the latest features and API’s Apple has to offer.

While there was no shortage of announcements at this year’s keynote, we’ve picked the top 5 that we’re most excited about and that we believe will have the biggest impact on brands.

Preview of App Drawer in iMessage at WWDC

Quick-Access Drawer for iMessage Apps

Following up from last year’s addition of app extensions in iOS, Apple has now made it easier than ever to access and use iMessage Apps. There will now be a tape of apps featured below the text box in iMessage to quickly select which app you would like to use. This is great for users, but it's even better for brands. Users will be more aware of extensions and can use them faster than before – meaning they’ll also be looking for new apps to use in conversation. Since there is an app store specifically for iMessage extensions, your app is much more likely to be discovered. If you didn’t have an iMessage App before, now might be the time to consider it.

Apple Pay slide during WWDC Keynote

Apple Pay

50% of businesses across the US will soon accept Apple Pay. And we don't expect this trend to slow down anytime soon. Before the end of the year, its likely that businesses that do not accept Apple Pay will be in the minority. However, software is just as important as hardware. Apple announced that the App Store, which has now passed 180 billion in app downloads, has paid out more than $70 billion to developers and 30% of that is from the past year alone. There’s no longer a question of whether you should adopt Apple Pay in your app or in your store, but an imperative to implement both and as soon as possible.

WatchOS native core bluethooth support showcase

WatchOS 4

Apple announced today that there will be a number of new watch faces and workout options for the Apple Watch. What caught our attention was that Apple also added native core Bluetooth support. This may not sound particularly exciting, but we think it is. This opens up a number of opportunities for connected devices and is one step closer to making the Apple Watch a fully connected health and fitness ecosystem. For example, a glucose monitor could be connected to monitor blood sugar levels without having to manually add each test or you could connect a smart tennis racquet to more accurately track your swing. This integration could mean big things for brands, especially those that have already adopted the Apple Watch and are looking for more ways to connect with consumers.

Star Wars VR demo for Metal at WWDC


Metal 2

Metal, Apple’s graphics API, got an update this year – and it’s a big one. Apple not only improved the performance of the API, they added several new applications for it. Metal can now be leveraged for machine learning, it can take advantage of external graphics cards and hardware, and can now even power VR experiences. So, whether you’re playing a game or developing one, creating stunning art or rendering a CG short, Apple has new and improved tools to make it easier and export faster than ever. While gaming and entertainment brands will primarily use Metal 2, any brand looking to add polished animations or visuals to their apps will benefit as well.

Using AR live at WWDC


ARKit

As Apple stated, ARKit will be the largest AR platform overnight. Apps such as Pokémon Go and Snapchat had to develop software that could take what the camera saw and place objects in the real world accordingly. It might sound simple, but its actually quite complex.  Not only does it require immense computing power, but it also leverages complex algorithms to assess the space, as well as the distance of objects from the camera, lighting, etc. Instead of having to develop environmentally-aware software to dynamically place computer generated objects in the real world, ARKit takes care of the heavy lifting so developers can focus on the content. Brands can leverage ARKit for everything from expanding the components in an engine to inspect every element to allowing kids to take a photo with their favorite character from a movie.

September 21, 2016

Beyond Music, AirPods, and UX

We’ve had some time to think about the event, and we’ve noticed something interesting about Apple’s new focus. We already know they’re working to create a seamless user experience across their suite of products, but now there are new opportunities to engage with users when they are not actively interacting with a device.

 

A Strategist’s Perspective on Apple’s September Event

Although there were few surprises at the Annual, hardware-focused Apple September event, the announcement of AirPods might be signaling a new form of UX. The AirPods have a brain (W1 chip) and sensors (infrared and an accelerometer) independent of the phone. Currently, the sensors are only used to detect when they are being worn or to detect a tap, but the future potential is undeniable. The AirPods will one day be much more than earbuds that simply deliver audio.

Imagine the maps app whispering in your ear to turn left, or your calendar app reminding you of your next meeting and who is in it. Push notification could be read to you. We often assume augmented reality involves visuals, what would an audio augmented reality experience be? As we move to more screens interactions, what other interactions might move to earbuds?

Most interesting is what this means to the user. There will not be a single killer wearable; users will have a choice of the wearable to fit situations and environment. As a developer (or brand) we must support the devices that the user chooses. As we expand delivery to new devices and platforms, will the functionality and content you are currently providing your users (APIs) be flexible and able to support AirPods, smart watches, bracelets, glasses, etc.?

Contact us to find out more about these new points of interaction and how to leverage them to provide a better user experience.

September 14, 2016

iPhone 7 & Apple Watch Series 2: What You Need to Know

There were a number of announcements made during Apple's September Special Event. This event, as in year's past, is predominantly focused on hardware. However, there were several announcements about new API's and features. Here's a developer's perspective on a few of the most exciting hardware and software updates.

iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series two with title of the blog next to devices

iPhone 7/7 Plus is More Powerful and Open to Developers than Ever

The new Taptic Engine API allows apps to take advantage of the Taptic Engine and provide users with unique feedback throughout the application. The Taptic Engine is perfect for notifications. For example, an app like Chick-fil-A could provide a unique buzz when the user's order is ready. Starwood could do the same when unlocking a door.

The new A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus has two additional high-efficiency cores that run at 20% power compared to its other, high-performance, cores. This will greatly improve features such as background app refresh. Background app refresh is not a new feature, but the high-efficiency cores will significantly reduce the feature's impact on battery life.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are sold in 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB configurations. This is a welcome improvement over the previous 16/64/128 configurations. The change is also retroactively applied to iPhone 6s and 6s+ models. Apps running on the newer hardware will now have more flexibility to store data locally if needed. This can result in better performance and improved offline mode capabilities.

 

Apple Watch Series 2 gets GPS and an All New Processor

The built in GPS on the new Apple Watch allows apps to access location data without having to be near an iPhone. This is great for any app that uses location services. For example, even without an iPhone, a workout app can track your run, or a hotel app could show you directions to your room.

The new Apple Watch has a faster, dual-core processor. This change has also been applied to the original Series 1 Apple Watch. This will result in significantly improved performance for watch apps, and allow developers to perform more CPU-intensive tasks directly on the watch.

Contact us today to learn more about these Apple hardware and software updates and how your app can benefit from them in iOS 10.

June 14, 2016

WWDC 2016 Keynote Recap

Every year, Apple hosts the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). In past years, WWDC was where things like the Apple Watch and the Apple TV were announced. While there were no new hardware announcements (such as a new iPhone), Apple did have several exciting revelations for developers. They have taken a holistic approach in their ecosystem with every device now having the ability to speak to each other almost seamlessly. This means that apps are no longer just apps. Maps for example will have an extension to make a dinner reservation, you’ll receive a notification to remind you of the reservation where a 3D touch interaction can give you more details, and then a widget on the Apple Watch will allow you to change your reservation if necessary. It’s more important than ever to think around every touch-point possible for apps, not just the app itself.

Now, lets get to the Keynote recap. Be on the lookout for more as we get the latest information from our developers attending the conference.

 

 

Watch OS 3

The Apple Watch is fully open to developers and as Ryan Gant, iOS Engineer at Bottle Rocket, said after the keynote “it is now a viable platform”. Apple announced instant updates, reduced load time and more. The Apple Watch will perform background updates and keep user’s most used apps in memory; this means watch apps will now load instantly instead of having to wait while they load.

Apple also announced a customizable dock so that you can customize which apps are easily accessible, new watch faces for any occasion, updates to their fitness app and much more.

 

tvOS

The new Apple TV now has a dedicated app so that you can use your iPhone as the remote. It’ll use the accelerometer and gyroscope already built into the phone as an alternative to the Siri Remote. Speaking of Siri, Siri is now open to developers and includes over 650,000 movies and TV shows along with YouTube in search results in this latest update to Apple TV.

One of the most exciting announcements for the Apple TV: Single Sign-On. Instead of logging into each app network app specifically, users can now authenticate once using their cable provider account login and it will apply to all apps associated.

 

macOS Sierra

Apple’s flagship OS now fits the naming convention of their other operating systems as it goes from OS X, to macOS. In macOS Sierra, users will be able to use Apple Pay on the web and authenticate with their phone. Picture-in-Picture display has been added to macOS in similar style to the iPad and every window and application can now have tabs.

macOS now communications with other devices faster and better than ever. Focused on continuity, Apple announced auto-unlock for your computer with your Apple Watch, a universal clipboard so you can copy text on your iPhone and paste it on your MacBook, and even Siri will be joining in as a desktop assistant. This way, you can use Siri just as you would on your iPhone, while you’re on your Mac. If you ask her to set a reminder, the reminder will show up on your phone and watch as well.

 

iOS 10

Apple announced a number of updates to their apps for iOS 10. The part we found interesting is that they have opened up developer extensions on several applications. For instance, in Maps, users will be able to make a reservation at a restaurant and request an Uber pickup, all without ever leaving Maps. Messages, among others, also received an overhaul in this update and will receive the same addition of developer extensions.

Check in for more from Apple and the announcements made at WWDC and don’t forget to be on the lookout for our takeaways from the conference once it concludes.

 

 

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