August 20, 2014

What did we learned from WWDC about iOS8?

Written By Martin Sandhu

From a standard users point of view there aren’t many changes in this iOS8 update to get excited about. At least not much in terms of user interface. However, there are many changes in the system functionality. And here’s how they effect the end user functions:

  • Major changes for the Messages application – Better thread management, for example users can now create a title, add new people, or leave a conversation. You can also enable a “do not disturb” function.
  • iMessage also finally caught up with the competition adding voice and video. It is particularly useful when traveling (I use this functionality in application Telegram, weChat). These voice messages can now can be listen directly from screen blocking, just pick up the phone and position by ear.
  • More interactive notifications – just pull down the screen that you are in to reply to the message straight away.
  • Updated calendar – accept or deny the meeting request without needing to unlock the screen or leave your favourite app.
  • In iOS7 users were able to double tap on home button to see recent apps, now there will be also a list of recently contacted people.
  • iPad’s Safari update enabled tab view, a feature taken from the current iPhone version.
  • Build custom hooks between apps enabling desktop-level flexibility for developers.
  • Users can now install an external keyboard, for example, Swipe (something that Android users have enjoyed for a long time). The system was also equipped with a keypad in a new, much more convenient hint system. Unfortunately, only available in a few languages.

How is this all going to effect developers?

  • Extensibility – until new there wasn’t many third party applications integrated or cooperated with iOS (Twitter and Facebook) but now and finally Apple has opened itself up to over 400 new API in SDK. Now apps like photo filters can be used in other apps too.
  • Widgets – this is remarkable update from apple. Devlopers can create their own widgets which will be displayed on lock screen navigation pull down. This ability will allow users to interact with the app without unlocking the phone. Example shown on keynote was from ebay where user was able to bid an item straight from lock screen.
  • Third party keyboards – this will  again be achieved with extensibility. Apple has finally allowed developer to create custom keyboards and allowed users to choose between them.
  • Touch ID – introduced with iOS 7 now open for third party apps which is great addition to user protection. Even developers will not have access to users fingerprints.

Not long time ago we wrote about App Store optimisation, now Apple adds more features which allow applications to be found more easily for both developers and end users. “Explore” will help users to search for apps that fit their specific interest. A “trending searches” feature will show what other users are looking for and what search keywords are trending. As a bonus, developers can upload app video for even better promotion and demonstration.

Apple also introduced multi purchase availability, so users can buy app bundle from same developer and receive a reduced price.

Developers are now able to utilise “Test-flight” for free – allowing them to check apps before sending them to the App Store or to a client.