September 9th, 2015. The Apple Special Event. Even though they just had a major conference in May (WWDC15), the news from this event was pretty huge. Not only is Apple making some serious moves towards improving customer satisfaction, but it’s opening the field for app developers.
Apple is known for creating superior products with stunning visuals and a flawless UX – from their website to their phones, their design is always noteworthy and beautiful. More so, Apple is loved by techies for their innovative approach to, well, everything. They are as disruptive as Google – possibly more so – in their own unique way.
“I’ve learned that focus is key. Not just in your running [of] a company, but in your personal life as well” – Tim Cook
The iOS/Apple app field has long been a profitable one for app developers and entrepreneurs, but it was restricted by a lack of openness. This began to change at WWDC15 when CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple would make its primary coding language, Objective-C, open to developers.
Additionally, Apple announced that the new Watch OS (OS2) would be much easier for appreneurs to develop upon, a point further emphasized in this recent event. In general, this event was the next step in the path towards Apple becoming the platform for app development. Everything from the Apple TV to the two new iPhones (the 6s and 6s Plus) is app centric. As Cook stated, “we believe the future…is apps.”
App development is the perfect investment opportunity. With the right idea and right development partner, you can build a multi-million dollar app at a cost-effective price. With Apple making big moves towards increasing app developer agency within iOS, now is the time to get involved.
Let’s talk about some of the big announcements and what it means for the world of app development.
This is the obvious starting point. The iPhone is hands-down their best selling product. Though the 6 and 6 Plus are relatively new, Apple went ahead and released this new and improved smartphone. Don’t worry – the 6s and 6s plus are the same price as their predecessors.
The new changes are pretty sweet:
• The new 3D Touch feature lets iPhone users tap and hold a Message (or Mail, flight numbers, etc). The message will pop-up, allowing users to view the item, and then it will disappear when the user stops holding the button. This will make it much easier for iPhone lovers to quickly view and switch between commonly used apps. Whatsapp, Dropbox, and Instagram all work with 3D Touch.
• The improved camera not only lets users take front-facing Selfies at an astounding 5 megapixels, but the standard camera takes photos up to 12 megapixels – and video is shot at 4k. The biggest change to the way iPhone cameras work is the new Live Photo feature.
• A Live Photo is basically a short 2-3 second video; the new iPhone camera automatically takes an extended photo that captures 2 extra seconds – one before the actual photo is snapped and one after. Even better, Facebook will begin supporting Live Photos later this year.
• While a hardware upgrade is a standard part of the Apple release, the new A9 chip deserves a mention. The new chip and its cousin for the new iPad (discussed below), the A9X, basically offer desktop level processing power. That’s right, your iPhone now has a better processor chip than your standard desktop. Just over its predecessor, the A8, there is a 90% improvement in graphics processing and a 70% improvement in general tasks. That’s pretty impressive.
• The other hardware changes are pretty significant as well – the new Lon-x Screen is more durable than its ancestor, Sapphire Glass. The iPhones are now made out of a 7000 Series aluminum alloy designed for aircraft. It almost seems like they’re worried about the phones bending or something. There’s even a new color – Rose Gold.
• Other important iPhone announcements include a new upgrade phone program. Apple will charge users an additional fee ($32/month) and the user will receive a newly upgraded phone, every year. Additionally, Apple is making it easier for non-iPhone users to switch. Android, lookout!
“Our whole role in life is to give you something you didn’t know you wanted. And then once you get it, you can’t imagine your life without it. And you can count on Apple doing that.” – Tim Cook
Though the release of the Apple Watch OS 2 was announced at WWDC15, the Special Event elaborated upon what this entails a little further. The new Watch will provide more open access for development and a whole new look. VP Jeff Williams announced that there were over 10,000 Watch apps – with a 97% satisfaction rate. So despite a lackluster start, expect the Watch to really take off in the upcoming years.
App developers are flocking to the Watch platform in droves – in fact, expect a Watch Facebook Messenger app to be released soon! While the Watch was originally pretty difficult for developers to work with; the new OS makes it an open field – get on board with your own Apple Watch app before it’s too late.
“We’re very simple people at Apple. We focus on making the world’s best products and enriching people’s lives.” – Tim Cook
The iPad Pro has arrived. This is essentially Apple’s response to Microsoft’s Surface – tablets that replace desktops or laptops in terms of processing power, utility, and overall capabilities. The new processing chip, the A9X, is said to be nearly 2 times as powerful as the previous iPad processor. At nearly 22 times faster than the first iPad, 80% faster than all laptops within the last year (even better when testing for graphics), the iPad Pro is a pretty big deal. Most important for ipad app developers is the increased graphics, improved audio, and a better battery life. All of these will increase the number of apps, the quality of apps and how often an app is used on the iPad.
“Anything can change, because the smartphone revolution is still in the early stages.” – Tim Cook
So, for a little bit of background, my mother actually works for Microsoft (no bias here, I swear) and I remember the first “smart” TV patented all the way back in 1994. I distinctly remember visiting her office and making fun of this new toy with her and her co-workers. At best, the TV barely functioned as a TV and the calling it “smart” is laughable in today’s world.
The Apple TV is completely different. In keeping with Apple’s modus operandi, the Apple TV is beautiful, innovative, and fantastic. As stated above, Apple believes that the future of technology even (or especially) including television. So, the new TV not only has its own app store, but every program is run off of applications.
Along with a new touchpad-equipped remote, the TV is integrated with the Siri, Apple’s legendary Digital Personal Assistant. With this pseudo-A.I. TV users can verbally request for specific apps like Netflix or Hulu. Viewers can even ask generalized questions like “show me action films” and Siri will search across all of your apps. Other Siri-enhanced options include the ability to verbally request film information such as actors, directors, and so on.
This is probably the biggest news for app developers because it is a whole new market – quite literally with the creation of a new app store. While some of apps are already built, there’s going to be a wave of innovation. Don’t get left behind – give SDI a call at 408.802.2885. We can get your Apple Watch app – or an app for any other platform – ready in a few short months. Contact us today and get a quote for your project.