App Development

Apple's iOS 8 announcement: developer first impressions

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Apple fans across the world were treated to a number of exciting announcements at today’s iOS 8 event. Our team is excited by all of Apple’s news too and we’ll be covering all things iOS 8 on the blog for the remainder of the week. Without further ado, here are our first iOS 8 impressions:

iPhone 6

Apple is going big this year with two new iPhone sizes, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. These new sizes greatly increase the amount of real estate that developers can utilize in their apps. Interestingly, the iPhone 6 Plus will allow for different and varied layouts as compared to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5. For our clients, this change means more opportunity to create compelling interfaces that match the form and factor of devices they use. Not only will apps be able to take advantage of the larger iPhone 6 Plus screen sizes, but they will also scale down elegantly to fit iPhone 6 and iPhone 5 screens.

As developers, these new screen sizes mean we need to take advantage the new iOS 8 APIs (e.g. size classes and auto-layout) in order to continue building our clients elegant apps. Fortunately, Apple also revealed that existing apps can be scaled automatically to fill the screens of the new iPhones. That said, taking full advantage of all the new functionality of these devices will require deliberate thought around how to best leverage the newly available screen space.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is arguably one of the biggest announcements of iOS 8 and marks the arrival of seamless mobile payments for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users. Those who purchase one of the new devices will now be able to easily scan their existing cards into the iOS and make mobile payments anywhere NFC transactions are accepted. Additionally, users with stored cards can now make seamless payments online, and possibly within apps too. Apple’s jump into the payment space means big things for wireless and mobile payments in the coming year. We predict there will be an uptick in support for NFC transactions in stores across the country as now both iOS and Android users can pay wirelessly.

Apple Watch

The hotly anticipated Apple Watch arrived today, and like the iPhone 6 is available in two different sizes (38mm and 44mm). The Apple Watch utilizes a new rotating digital crown for most interactions, and allows users to scroll and zoom. The wearable also makes use of a new type of multi-touch display that allows for swiping, and utilizes sensing touch pressure technology that gives users the ability to execute a new “force touch” gesture.

Apple did not provide specs for battery life, but did promise the Apple Watch would be good for a full day of usage. The watch is a sealed package and is powered using an inductive charger equipped with Apple’s MagSafe technology.

The watch jam packed new sensors and technologies that give Apple’s new wearable great potential for new, interesting, and varied interactions. From sensors with the capability to read and send your heart rate to loved ones, to extremely accurate localized haptic feedback that guides you as you walk through a city, there are plenty of new exciting bells and whistles. Apple has also integrated its new Apple Pay directly into the watch.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Apple Watch for iOS developers, is that unlike with the original iPhone, Apple is providing an SDK for us right out of the box. We are looking forward to creating new and engaging apps with a great deal of personalization for our clients in the future.

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