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As a leading iOS developer, going into 2021, we want to make sure you have all information at your fingertips on the various updates and announcements Apple has made throughout 2020. These enhancements could prove valuable to your business, or detrimental if you are not optimizing your applications.
As you review the below, keep in mind that Cheesecake Labs is happy to provide you a free consultation on how any of these updates could support your business and continue to build on a delightful experience for your users.
Here are the key takeaways which reveal significant updates to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac operating systems, as well as updates on other Apple products.
iOS 14 will offer a new space at the end of Home Screen pages that automatically organizes all the apps in one simple and easy to navigate view. When installing an app, users will also be able to choose whether it should appear in the Home Screen, or stay in the App Library only.
While the App Library may help users organize their apps and easily search for the apps they need, your app might easily become forgotten. So you might need to explore how to deliver value to users – and keep your app easily accessible and visible – by offering a widget.
Widgets are a small and glanceable representation of an app, with a deep-link to bring users to a specific screen in the app. They will now become more accessible, as users will be able to drag them out of Today View and on the Home Screen.
With dozens of apps installed, your app might easily get lost in the Home Screen or App Library. Android has been offering widgets on the Home Screen for over a decade ago, and this is the opportunity to increase visibility of your iPhone app – with a spotlighted position in the home screen – and offering a shortcut to the most relevant feature of your app that will ultimately increase users engagement.
App Clips are mini-apps that require zero downloading — similar to Android’s Instant App. It supports Apple Sign In and Apple Pay to offer incredibly fast checkout, and it can be discovered and launched in different ways, including via NFC tags or QR codes.
With App Clips, you can dramatically reduce the friction that comes with discovering and installing an app. It’s a game-changing strategy to increase conversions, get new downloads, and encourage engagement for the long run.
With the release of iOS 14, users will be more conscious about when apps are accessing their personal information, including location and camera/audio recording. Privacy disclosure prompts will display to users when data linked to their identity is tracked, or data to track them across apps and websites is collected.
Be thoughtful about data tracking requirements during app design, and explain to users why you’re collecting such information or asking for specific permissions. If there’s not a clear value to the user experience, apply a different strategy and don’t track it.
Instead of taking the user to a different screen, the new Siri UI will just show an icon on the bottom of the existing screen. A similar behavior will now happen to incoming calls, that will simply look like a push notification badge, allowing the user to keep working on the previous task.
Since Apple is leveling up the voice interface experience, you should consider extending the compatibility of your app with built-in Shortcuts to explore the automatic integration with Siri.
Apple shifted away from Intel processors, meaning iOS and iPad apps will run out-of-the-box in the new Apple-Silicon-based Macs. You can opt-out MacOs distribution if you want.
Thanks to this significant hardware change, you have the option to expand the audience of your app with some additional QA effort. Be cautious though with the app usability across different devices – iPhone, iPad and Mac – as well as hardware requirements for some features, such as AR.
Apple announced Watch Series 6, which includes a new sensor to measure the user’s blood oxygen level, amongst other improvements over previous versions. It also launched a less expensive version called Apple Watch SE.
The availability of the SE version might increase the number of users on the Apple Watch, so you should consider supporting the core feature of your app on this device, like our client Lockitron. And fitness-related apps should explore new ways to deliver value to users with the new blood oxygen measurements.
Apple unveiled a new fitness experience, available on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV and powered by Apple Watch, with a variety of workouts by the world’s top trainers – and for just $9.99/mo.
Apple Fitness+ service will include workout content that will compete with digital products like PEAR, Peloton, and MIRROR. If you have a fitness or health app, you should analyze its value proposition and understand if Apple should be considered a competitor.
Apple introduced the eighth-generation iPad, featuring the powerful A12 Bionic chip that brings the Neural Engine to the entry iPad for the first time.
The performance of iPad apps that use machine learning capabilities, like people occlusion and motion tracking in augmented reality (AR), will be much faster.
Briefly, Apple is offering a new bundle of services that competes with Netflix, Spotify, Google Drive and Xbox Game Pass – all in one package, for only $14.95/mo.
The business impact of this service bundle is the increased competition for subscription-based streaming, music, cloud storage and gaming services.
Apple launched a tiny, intelligent home speaker and smart home control powered by Siri, for a more affordable price than existing HomePod. It features intercom, stereo pair, personalized experience based on user’s voice recognition – and other capabilities existing on Amazon Echo since 2 years ago.
With people spending more time at home because of COVID and the increasing affordability of smart home controls, user adoption of this technology might increase and more homes should be connected. You should explore the potential to extend the features of your app to offer a more personalized and connected experience across different devices, as well as Siri integration.
In addition to the usual chip performance, camera capabilities, and design upgrades, the new iPhone supports 5G and the Pro Max version features a LiDAR Scanner for more realistic AR.
Users with iPhone 12 Max will be expecting apps to allow them to explore more seamless AR experiences. Also, your business should consider how to deliver a 5G experience to your users, intensifying the usage of the cloud, exploring more connected devices, and new solutions for streaming and entertainment. Conversely, keep in mind that your audience might not have 5G immediately and that low-connectivity scenarios still need to be considered when designing and building the best experience of your app.
As a leading iOS Developer, according to Clutch, we are happy to provide you a free consultation and iOS app assessment to understand how to best leverage these updates from Apple.
If you don’t evolve, it is highly likely that your competition will, so you can not afford to overlook these updates. Here’s how you can get in touch with Cheesecake Labs. Someone will respond to you within one business day.
Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2021!
Jumped drillships to join great friends on their amazing mission, exploring his developer/entrepreneur skills. Loves traveling and can cook a lasagna better than his grandmother.