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