While we’ve already covered some of our favorite features of Apple’s sleek new Operating System, iOS8, the operating system and newest iPhone models offer a host of unexplored possibilities. Now, after the dust has settled a bit, we wanted to comb over three more things that have become some of our favorite features about this new operating system, and what they potentially could mean for very particular verticals within app development. Today, we wanted to look at how an expansion in screen size and resolution help positively impact the graphics for mobile-based action games, the effect of Swift, and the intimate integration of health and touch into the iOS 8 infrastructure.

iOS 8 

Size Matters: Bigger Screens and SDKs Mean New Worlds for App Developers

Bigger means better for app developers working on apps optimized for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The increased screen size and resolution helps encourage developers not to shy away from games or apps that may be increasingly visually demanding. The improved real estate is also bolstered by enhanced processing in terms of graphics and speed, allowing games or apps that require a huge amount of memory and response time to fully express their capabilities on a mobile device. Rather than limit these games to larger platforms, manufacturers like EA Sports can now rest assured that they can glean the same type of performance from iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as they could previously expect from handholds like the iPad or even consoles like PlayStation Vita, PSP, or the PS4 and XBOX.

Similarly, enhancements to SDKs for app developers have also been game changers for the app development industry in iOS 8. SceneKit, geared toward 3D rendering, SpriteKit, geared toward 2D development, and Metal offer a lower point of entry for some increasingly cunning app development technologies. These SDKs help optimize visuals, shared memory, controls, and much more to ensure app developers make the most of every creation.

Swift

Introduced in June 2014, Swift is a development language that isn’t necessarily limited to iOS, and instead supports OS X application development as well. However, as more and more apps offer the ability for users to transfer the UX from one device to another, it’s pretty critical to have a nimble app development language that can readily adapt to the demands of different devices. Swift specifically looks at Cocoa and Cocoa Touch with concise, expressive syntax that makes better use of maximizing a devices resources, and works in tandem with Objective C. This is a fantastic tool, platform, and language for developers to maximize their resources.

Touch Sensitive

While we previously discussed the merits of connectivity and allowing users to communicate by sharing sketches, touching, or tapping their screen, iOS 8 helps introduce a whole range of different functionalities with the touchpad that were previously unavailable. As many apps leverage TouchID for security settings, users are now ushered into a world where biologically identifiable characteristics are able to protect data, unlock privacy settings, or authorize major events within an app. Similarly, the Health dashboard helps usher in new levels of intimacy between users and their device. While this changes the game for wearables and Internet of Things technology, it also simply provides a platform where an iPhone can act as a trainer, monitor, mentor, and security vault. These improvements drastically improve the mobile experience, and offer new possibilities for savvy app developers.

For questions or concerns on how you can make the most of your app idea, contact us today. 

Though Apple’s introduction of the Apple Watch was a widely predicted addition to wearable technology, few could anticipate how Apple’s expertise in delivering user experience could take the watch to such dizzying new heights. Many expected Apple to transform this space, but the way in which the new device offers new opportunities for app development could not have been predicted. Today, we will address how the shape of the watch, touch technology, and the introduction of new types of connectivity can effectively help to transform the app marketplace, unlocking untapped potential for developers.

Watch 

Shape Shifting Apps

While the responsive design has become more and more of a staple and less of a buzzword, Apple’s introduction of the iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch at the same event presents some incredibly challenging shifting landscapes for app developers in terms of shape and size. The Apple Watch has a couple of different sizes, including 38mm and 42mm watch faces. Similarly, the iPhone 6 has a Retina display of 4.7”, while the iPhone 6 Plus, an answer to Android alternatives that push the plus-sized screen, clocks in at a massive 5.5” Retina display.

With this in mind, app developers now have to optimize for a multitude of different screen sizes for iOS apps and provide a seamless and intuitive user experience regardless of the digital real estate. This will present challenges that are both liberating and confining to app users as they look for ways to create new user experiences on these devices and maximize the new shapes of tactile technology.

Touching Distance

In the same way that  smaller screen causes app developers to be decidedly more succinct about the way in which they design touch functionality, it also opens some creative doors to the way in which apps will interface with the user on such a tiny screen. Apps that rely on a user interface that has less real estate will naturally require more nuance, ushering in more touch functionality to the app ecosystem.

Already, one of the apps that Apple is using to signify the power of this is Sketch, offering users the ability to make small doodles right on their wrist and send to nearby users and friends. The recipients can also watch the drawing get created, animated, and respond with a creation of their own. It can only be expected that this type of user interface and touch control will set the bar for a new generation of apps that leans on real-time communication via touch and swipe.

Similarly, the Tap functionality on the watch allows users to get alerted that another user is thinking of them by just tapping the face of the Apple Watch. By leveraging the nuances of different tap patterns and touch, you can customize different touches and taps to extend to different people. This represents a whole new set of possibilities for developers to consider when looking at cultivating a good UX/UI for apps on the Apple Watch.

Connectivity

While the nuances of the touch, tap, and swipe functionality represent new possibilities on an increasingly smaller real estate, Apple has paved a way for touch features to translate directly to new means of communication. Apple’s new Watch allows for users to communicate to users in close proximity by a simple touch or tap on the screen. Tap offers the chance to customize taps and patterns so that users can receive a small vibration on their wrist to capture the attention of a friend sitting nearby without the disruption of a phone call. Similarly, the heart rate monitor that is built into the heart of Apple’s sport watch also allows users to share their vitals using Heartbeat.

While these offer new ways for users to connect, it seems hard to know what possibility these things may hold for app developers, and how this functionality can be neatly interpolated into a mobile application. The Apple Watch will certainly usher in a new era of wearable technology and offer enticing possibilities for app developers.

For more information on designing your new iOS app, contact us today. 

Jordan Edelson takes us through how to build a mobile app.

Listen to the interview at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/smallbusinessunstuck/2014/09/30/294-brian-shapland-matt-ingleby-judd-hollas-jordan-edelson

With Apple’s recent keynote unveiling their newest creations, including the Apple Watch and their newest generation of iPhone, there were a few other significant releases that dotted the keynote. While we have already gone over Apple Pay in detail, today, we wanted to look further into iOS 8 as an operating system. This new operating system offers some key improvements for app development that open the gateway to features that were never before possible. In addition to supplemental APIs and SDKs, some of iOS 8’s integrated features are native to the OS, yet make the UX a key playground for new opportunities in development.  Today, we unpack three significant features that make iOS 8 among the most exciting platforms for mobile application development today, including sharing options and custom actions, documents, and enhancements to cloud storage. 

iOS 8

Sharing Options & Custom Actions

No matter the platform, mobile app marketing should always remain a focus for app developers. It is increasingly critical that application developers build in ways for an audience to help spread the word about their new creation, building trust in apps through user reviews as well as sharing positive experiences through social platforms. iOS 8 has made this process one step easier, with push button share capability to every major social platform, including Facebook and Twitter. This may seem insignificant, but app developers need only realize the power of social media; 90% of consumers have said that reviews in some way can influence their ability to purchase. 

iOS has leveraged the power of social media by removing the friction, increasing the opportunity to share in-app screens via Facebook and Twitter. This gives the user increased pathways to act as a veritable spokesperson for an app, and helps ensure that apps that are new to the marketplace have ample opportunity to be amplified by influencers on social media. This is an oft unsung improvement on an already UX-focused operating system, and certainly one that app developers should applaud.

Custom actions give app developers the ability to define different actions for the action button based on the setting or situation. From defining a photo for a specific user or contact, or even printing documents, developers now have the resources to leverage a myriad of options with the action button. This is a huge step forward in iOS, where actions used to be severely limited by a solitary button.

Documents on iOS 8

Another step that Apple has taken to increase the way in which users use documents on their smartphone includes how iOS 8 handles documents. The biggest change to document handling comes not only in increased support for more document formats, but the fact that several apps can now open and access docs without creating unnecessary copies. This maximizes both virtual memory and hard drive space, ensuring the user has the option to use the same documents on multiple apps and get the most out of their smartphone’s memory.

Cloud Storage

Another major unsung improvement in iOS 8 are improvements to integrating iCloud using a new SDK for app developers. Enhancements to the iCloud API allow app developers to use cloud storage to better store user information and ensure that users have a minimal amount of friction to store their data. This allows users access to their personal storage without a login, and ensures that there is a real time update of the app’s user data. This decreases the friction in the user interface and also improves the overall user experience by leaning on cloud storage, ensuring a user’s data and preferences are saved without a significant investment in effort on behalf of the user.

These minor improvements in iOS 8 represent major achievements in user experience. For more information on how to achieve the best user experience for your app, please contact us today.