Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off Monday, and there's plenty of speculation about what the company plans to reveal.

Adding to the suspense, Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services at Apple, boasted earlier this week that Apple's lineup this year was the best he had seen in 25 years.

What's the company got up its sleeve?

Although consumers will likely have to wait until later this year for big product announcements, industry experts say that the company may roll out some new features in its software at the conference.

The tech giant is expected to focus on two big themes at the event: health and connecting the home. And the company could introduce features in the new iOS8 that will enable iPhones and iPads to act as remotes for home appliances as well as introduce more health and biometric capabilities in the software.

"Right now, it's all a fragmented experience. They are going to start to connect things together," said Jordan Edelson, CEO and founder of app software developing company Appetizer Mobile. "Apple is going to have to make a push into that realm, they can do a lot this by using the iPhone. They are just trying to connect the dots on all of these things."

Also related to improving Apple's home experience, the company may implement Siri capabilities in Apple TV, Edelson said. This would help the company compete with Amazon's Fire TV, which is voice enabled, he said.

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“You get what you pay for” is a cliché for a reason. As consumers and businesses are growing more dependent on mobile devices for more than just peer-to-peer communication, companies have been quick to develop mobile applications to actively and directly engage their customers. Smaller businesses that lack serious capital regularly opt to save a buck by sending the development overseas. However, saving money offshoring a mobile app will cost significantly more in the long run.

App development can range anywhere from $2,000-$250,000, which is a variation far too expansive to have any real meaning. All developers are not created equal. Below are some of the risks of outsourcing your mobile app development and some red flags for not being taken advantaged of through foreign developers.

The Risks of Offshoring Mobile App Development

First, any time you are taking part of your business and asking another country to play an integral role in development, you run the risk of cultural barriers. Outsourcing the work to a foreign country means that the technology and cultural standards for aesthetics will be different and frequently outdated, making the appearance off. For this reason, it will take time for them to understand your project, and the learning curve can definitely eat into projected savings.

Another risk is miscommunication. It is hard enough to explain to an experienced person in the same room with you what you want to build. Relaying this information to a person thousands of miles away and mostly through electronic communication sets one up for plenty of risk in receiving the product you were seeking. Software development is a highly involved social process with people regularly sharing complex ideas and abstract concepts.

Finally, let’s go back to cost — the main reason most companies outsource in the first place. While an overseas firm may charge you a tempting $20 an hour, how much value are you really getting in that hour? A competent in-house app developer at $100 an hour may well produce more value for you than several junior developers working at $20 an hour overseas.

Offshoring apps also expose you to security and data leaks. A recent report found that companies that go overseas are 31% more likely to experience potential data leaks or IP loss. Even with an NDA, you are exposing your valuable assets and precautions such as court settings and litigation come at a high cost.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

Even after understanding the risks, sometimes keeping a project domestic isn’t an option. If you want to outsource your app development, there are some key red flags that you should keep in mind when choosing an overseas firm:

  • Cost is too low: $50-$75 an hour is standard to low in terms of what it costs to develop an app. If you are looking at firms offering $10-$20 an hour in services, you can be guaranteed that your final product will lack quality.
  • No local contact info: Be conscious of the contact information you are given. Overseas companies will purchase a U.S.-based area code or can use a temporary Skype address to communicate with domestic businesses. This is easily attainable and is used frequently by independent freelancers as an aggressive sales tactic. Once the app has been completed, sometimes these types of contacts are deleted — leaving little to no possibility of follow-up if there are issues. As a safety precaution, gather as much background information on the company as possible and ask for local or office numbers.
  • Beware wire transfers: Use a credit card, not a wire transfer. Some overseas firms ask for wire transfer only. A credible company will take a credit card, which offers you more protection in the event of fraud.

Jordan Edelson is a seasoned entrepreneur, CEO and founder of the groundbreaking and globally recognized Mobile Digital Agency, Appetizer Mobile

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With the proliferation of HTML5 into the application development sphere, web apps have accelerated in development, with many even attempting to use the programming developments to sound the death knoll for mobile application development. The debate has raged on since HTML5’s advantages were made plain in the marketplace: HTML5 is fast, nimble, and readily adaptive, but by no means should be seen as exclusive to web apps or an alternative to native app development. A recent study by Venture Beat even confirms that app developers have decided that there is no “one-size-fits-all” platform or solution. We wanted to look at a few ways that native app development and HTML5 can work in tandem with one another in order to improve the UX for an app.


 Leveraging Native App Programming with the Speed of HTML5: Native Framework with HTML Content

Once the purpose and functionality of an app is decided, developers must decide how core components are going to integrate with the very core of the device. From touch sensors to gyroscopes to accelerometers, there are a number of sensors and device-specific elements that may only exist in a proprietary, native app platform. By leveraging these sensors and proprietary device considerations within a native framework, coders can then interpolate lightweight, HTML5 coding so that each app gets the best from native frameworks and lightweight coding. This way, the app infrastructure and native considerations only need to be updated for each platform, rather than maintaining entirely separate code for each platform the app uses.

HTML5 Framework with Native Widgets

Additionally, app developers can also choose to build singular database applications that are comprised entirely of HTML5 and save the device-specific native coding for widgets that can offer greater functionality. Companies or app developers looking to push out apps into a web store need to be mindful of the requirements to compete in sphere’s like Apple’s App Store or Google Play; these stores pride themselves on offering a great user experience, yet never want to push out an app that will essentially mirror the mobile website. If you wish to use HTML5 to develop something similar to the mobile site, it may be best to leverage native app languages through widgets. This is a seamless way to integrate both native language and HTML5. In this article from Smashing Magazine, author Peter Traeg gives a glimpse into how this may work:

“Depending on how you wish to structure the application, native “widgets” may be implemented for each platform (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.) and then invoked from the common core HTML5 application. In this strategy, the HTML5 code would provide the workflow for the application, and the native content would sit in the background, waiting to provide the supplementary experience when needed.”

Maintain Your App Quicker and More Efficiently

HTML5 is updated on a single database or server in the same way that many websites or web apps would use, meaning that every update or improvement doesn’t have to be rolled out through an app store or a cumbersome update process. Instead, updates can be dispatched in real time with efficiency, and app store updates can be reserved for big updates to the native code and the framework of the app. Alfred Bailey, in, hails the lightweight updates that HTML5 can espouse, saying that for “HTML5 apps, the process goes much smoother since there are fractional parts to be installed which can be easily deployed using open-source JavaScript tools while launching the app.”

Like with most situations in software development, there is rarely just one singular solution for implementing the best possible web or mobile application. For more information on how to best plan your app, contact us today. 

Mobile technology continues to evolve to include a myriad of devices; apps are no longer home on just the ever-present stalwart of the smartphone, and instead extend to the tablet, automobile, and now wristwatches and other wearables. While many of the wearable tech gadgets that have entered the marketplace seem to focus on current apps and their ability to adapt to this particular device, wearables present a unique opportunity for app developers everywhere. As more and more devices will undoubtedly circulate within this sphere, it’s critical to examine how this may affect the app marketplace as a whole.

Wearables will certainly offer additional opportunities; however, these opportunities will quickly evolve depending on the technology that each device may embody. Wearables are going to lean on a dependency on sensors, usher in a transformative camera experience, and be incredibly speech heavy. 

Dependency on Sensors

While Samsung’s introduction of its Galaxy Gear Watch and the long-rumored Apple iWatch all rapidly accelerating the wearable app ecosystem, it is easy to forget that many wearables have existed for a long time. Fitness apps like Nike’s Fuelband, or the Jawbone UP, just to name a few, offer app functionality be acting as a pedometer and monitoring activity level for the wearer throughout the day, integrating with a fitness app on a different device. These apps are incredibly dependent on sensors. Despite the popularity of these fitness apps, Wired suggests that the sensors built into the app devices themselves are clunky, and may soon be replaced by more ubiquitous nanosensors that can be woven right into clothing and other items rather than lean on a whole device. While this seems highly optimistic at the time of writing, one thing is certain: Wearables offer the user a broader, more encompassing ability to monitor things like heart rate, distance, and even mood, allowing fitness apps to better track their effectiveness for a user. TechCrunch has gone so far as to suggest that all fitness apps should have a mood sensor. As wearables become more pervasive in the app ecosystem, sensors may become increasingly more important, taking in temperature, heart-rate, wind and air resistance, and velocity in order to better represent the conditions around the wearer.


Transformative Camera Experience

Wearables and the idea of a wearable electronic device seems to center on the wrist, but Google Glass has also ushered in a new era of wearables and the appropriate applications that exist alongside it. Wearables, including Google Glass, will usher in a new way to rely on the camera not yet seen in other devices. With the almost Star Trek-like functionality of speaking into one’s wrist for a video conference, to the ability to capture things on film as you see them similar to a vision straight out of Bradbury’s science-fiction, these wearables will lean heavily on the camera, and make camera integration central to the work of the app developer.

Very Important Voice Over

Similar to the way in which cameras will become more central to apps for wearables, voice technology will become increasingly more centric for the wearable app user. Since each of these devices leans further and further away from the traditional computer experience, wearable devices will rely heavily on voice integration in order to be successful. The artificial intelligence component of applications like Siri or Microsoft’s answer to Siri, Cortana, will spill over into the wearable app sector as app developers will rely more and more on the intelligence and understanding of native language.

By taking into account microphones, sensors, and cameras, app developers can better serve the wearable ecosystem. For more information on wearable devices, mobile applications, or any app development questions you may have, contact us today.