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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 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 23, 2016

5 Key Takeaways for Brands from WWDC 2016

There was no shortage of announcements made this year at Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). We’re going to take a closer look at a few updates coming this fall to Apple’s suite of devices. For a detailed recap of the announcements made at WWDC, read our WWDC Keynote Recap.

Hidden amidst Apple’s announcements of their updated apps is the emergence of a new theme in iOS: extensions. Maps, Messages, Siri, and even notifications received robust updates that allow developers to engage with users in more ways than ever. What Apple seems to be heading towards: extensions are the new apps.

What are extensions? Think of them as add-ons for Apple’s first-party apps, such as Maps and iMessage. These add-ons will range from shortcuts to extended functionality. For example, with Maps, you will be able to look up a location, see hotels in the area, and book a room without having to ever leave the app.

 

Extensions add new touchpoints in iOS

Maps extensions are critical for restaurants, transportations services, hotels, retail and more since users will be able to book dinner reservations and request a ride to the location – all while using Maps. While message extensions are not practical for every brand, they should be considered as they will be a great benefit for those who can find a connection with their product or service. There is even an iMessage App Store, which means iMessage extensions have a dramatically increased chance of being discovered. Siri extensions currently have limited uses, but they are certainly an interesting start to a new line of features. Also, with previews available for notifications, it’s important to consider what these interactions will look like for your app while also considering the user’s privacy.

 

Better UX on watchOS

The latest Apple Watch update will allow it to learn which apps are used most and prioritize updates and processing power accordingly. Improved launch times and background updates make interactions almost instantaneous. No more raising your wrist, waiting for the app to load and waiting for the content to refresh. Also, widgets are now available to developers. Brands must consider whether widgets are a valuable add-on for their app as users will now be able to basically save and scroll through their favorite apps on the Apple Watch.

 

Single sign-in on tvOS

Authentication can be an infuriating process when using the same account across multiple apps. Now, for pay-TV channels on Apple TV, users will be able to sign-in once and access all of the apps available to them through their cable provider. This may not be big news for individual content creators, but for any brand with a TV channel, it’s a vast improvement for accessing your content. Users who originally “didn’t feel like taking the time to log-in again” will now simply have to download your app to enjoy the content.

 

Improved mobile communication with macOS

OS X, now macOS, mainly received quality-of-life improvements in the Sierra update. The Apple Watch now allows auto-login on macOS and ApplePay is available online with mobile authentication. This added continuity and communication between devices creates opportunities for new interactions. One industry that will specifically benefit from ApplePay’s new online presence is e-commerce. Consider this: someone’s shopping online and they’re ready to check out, only to realize they need to enter their credit card information and they left their wallet in the bedroom. With ApplePay, they’ll be able to login to their account, a confirmation request will appear on their iPhone, they approve their purchase, and that’s it. Not only does it provide added security, it cuts down on time spent making online purchases; especially on websites that a user may not have previously visited.

Information is becoming easier to share between devices and is a vital factor in user experience between screens. If there is a mobile app equivalent of a macOS application, consider how to leverage this new functionality for added use between devices; if there is not a mobile companion app, you may want to consider creating one.

 

Siri is now available to developers

Integrations are limited at the moment, but this is a very interesting update. One subtle announcement made that makes this even more exciting is the ability to include speech recognition in any iOS app. This furthers the trend of omnipresent interfaces, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Instead of having to physically interact with technology, omnipresent interfaces allow interaction with a device without having it near you. Apple is heading towards a connected home and further connected ecosystem in their suite of devices. By integrating Siri into apps and macOS, seamless transitions between devices and nearly conversational control of them are on its way. What form this will take varies by app and brand, but it’s an exciting addition for future opportunities nonetheless.

 

Contact us today to learn how your brand or app can benefit from the latest updates in the Apple ecosystem.

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