Apple touts iOS 8 as their biggest iOS release ever. Coming from the biggest, most innovative technology giant in the world, that’s a major statement. In our ASO series, we found the apps which exploit the latest technology are much more likely to get featured in the Apple App Store. iOS 8 represents a major opportunity for app developers to get ahead of their competition by both creating new apps, as well as revamping current apps to take full advantage of the latest technology. In order to do this, one needs to understand the ins and outs of the new platform. Thus, we’ve compiled a list of the latest features and what they mean to developers.
Device Continuity is the future of Apple products, and Android will likely to follow suit. The idea is to allow users to seamlessly transition between devices without interrupting their current task. Imagine writing an email on your iPhone, putting it down, going into another room, and finishing it on your Macbook. Or playing a game on your iPhone, pausing it, going to the bathroom and continuing on your iPad. The possibilities are endless.
The concept of Device Continuity has been planted in iOS 8 and the device compatibility will be expanded in the upcoming release of OS X Yosemite. MacBooks and iPads will have all the functions of iPhones in the future: the ability to make receive calls and FaceTime in addition to the functions they already retain. Devices will be so seamlessly integrated, MacBooks will be able to connect to your iPhone’s personal hotspot for internet. When MacBooks are in use, iPhones will automatically shut off to conserve power.
App developers who are able to utilize device continuity both effectively and creatively will have a great chance at getting featured across the App Stores for iPhone, iPad, and Macbook.
While iCloud was used in iOS 7, Apple is now pushing the iCloud Drive (as it’s now titled) as it’s own cloud storage service like Box and Dropbox with data plans available for purchase. iCloud Drive allows for any type of file stored on computers and phones to be accessible from any device. iCloud Drive plays into Apple’s major conceptual push for device continuity and will be further explored with the release of OS X Yosemite this Fall.
In our previous article on iOS 8 rumors, one of the most talked about reports concerning iOS 8 was the “Healthbook App”. Sure enough, one of the major innovations in iOS 8 is the Health app, which can interact with other health-related apps on iPhone to create a one-stop dashboard of health data. The Health app can track the amount of steps you take, the distance you run, the amount of calories you consume, and more in conjunction with apps such as Fitbit and Jawbone. Unfortunately, many apps are currently unable to connect with Health due to a bug at the launch which Apple claims it will fix later this month. Despite the temporary road-block, the Health app is built to be compatible with other health-related apps and thus represents a great opportunity for iOS developers to find opportunities to capitalize with Health-compatible apps for iPhone and iPad users.
Another major feature of iOS 8 is Family Sharing. Family Sharing allows for families of up to six people to share their digital purchases from iTunes, iBooks and the App Store without having to share one account on one credit card. When kids attempt to buy things in the App store, a notification goes to the parent and the purchase can only be complete pending the parent’s approval. Family Sharing could potentially make in-app purchases for kids games much more profitable.
Credit Card Scanning
Safari can now use the iPhone camera to scan credit card numbers when making online purchases, speeding up iPhone-based eCommerce. A savvy developer could certainly find a way to integrate this into their in-app purchases to simultaneously exploit the latest technology and make it easy for customers to spend more money on their apps.
The host of other minor improvements includes a Siri equipped with Shazam, allowing her to recognize songs when asked. Apple also followed Android’s lead in employing QuickType, which gives shortcuts to the words users may be writing based on their texting history and what’s being typed.
Another minor innovation is the ability to send mini-voice messages as texts. As we’ve previously explored, communications apps are big business. Developers could potentially ingrain themselves in these voice messages by finding an innovative way to make voice messaging more fun, perhaps through audio filters.
The Verge got it right when they said “We won’t see the full potential of iOS 8 for weeks or months after its release”. While Apple’s announcement and subsequent release of iOS 8 is big news for developers, until OS X Yosemite releases later this year, we won’t know its full potential. In the meantime, developers start your engines, the race to exploit the latest technology in iOS 8 has begun.
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