Why Make Your Apps iOS 8 Ready?
iOS was released 7 years ago. And the latest version iOS 8 would be released in couple of months along with the eagerly awaited iPhone 6. What makes this version of iOS 8 so special in terms of design, functionality and integration point of view? Let us take a look at the key elements to find out why you should consider updating your apps incorporating the latest features of iOS8.
1. Interactive Notiﬁcations
Interactive notifications allows you to take action on email, text messages and messages from social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. right from the notifications banner. For example, as shown in the illustration, you can comment/like a post on Facebook from the notifications banner without exiting the app you are working on at that moment.
Adding the interactive notifications feature into iOS 8 makes it cool because, now you don’t have to navigate away from the app you are currently using while responding to messages / updates from other apps. With this iOS 8 feature your apps can be made more intuitive.
2. Quick Type / Predictable Typing
QuickType is the new intelligent typing feature in iOS 8. It has been made context-sensitive and can suggest predictive words in accordance with your communication style. Words are also predicted based on the app you are using or the person you are communicating with. For example, if you are messaging, QuickType will suggest words that are more casual than if you are emailing. Likewise, if you’re conversing with a friend rather than your manager or business partner. Predictable typing has been around since 2007 and is provided with a lot of other platforms, like Android, Windows and Blackberry. However, with QuickType Apple has taken predictive typing to the next level. Apple has also given developers the ability to customize keyboards or create specialized keyboards within their own apps.
3. Health Kit
With the new OS comes a fully integrated health application from Apple. The new Health app gives you an easy-to-read dashboard of your health and ﬁtness data. Apple has also released a tool for developers called HealthKit which allows integration with other health and fitness apps, to work together. The new health app collects all the data in one place and gives you an overview of your health with just a tap on the screen. The app also allows you to share your health data with others. For example, it allows you to share your blood pressure data with your doctor.
4. Sharing Options
All available platforms like Android, iOS, Windows Phone allows you to share photos, videos and other content with social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But iOS 8, has opened the sharing options to all developers, sharing isn’t just for Apple’s own services and partners anymore. Now, almost any application can integrate with the system-wide share sheets and present a way to upload comments, photos, video, audio, links and more from within any other application.
5. Custom Actions
In addition to providing custom sharing options, Apple has included ‘custom action options’ in iOS 8. They’re part of the new Extensibility feature set, which is one of the most important additions to iOS 8. Extensibility in iOS 8 means that we’re no longer bound to action options supported by Apple alone. Now, iOS 8 lets you expand select areas of the system by allowing any app to add an action extension that enables custom functionality. For example, if Microsoft wants to get Bing translate to be built into Safari (Apple’s web browser) they do not need to make a deal with Apple. Microsoft can simply make an action extension to the Bing app and it will be available like other built-in options. Therefore, if you are using Safari and reading something in English but your native language is Spanish, you can tap the Share button, scroll horizontally to the Bing Translate extension and the page would translate-in-place for you.
5. Notification Center
Notification center is the translucent drop-down menu for managing alerts. In iOS 7 notification center included a “Today” view, “All” notifications view and “missed” notifications view. In iOS 8 Apple has simplified the notifications center by reducing the panel to only include “Today” and “notifications” view. Widgets in iOS 8 will also appear in the notification center to offer quick information from apps at a glance. For example, you could add widgets that update you on package deliveries, reminders, sports reports or breaking stories from your favorite apps.
6. For Developers
iOS 8 is an important release for developers as it opens up new areas of iOS, allowing developers to extend the reach of their app’s content and functionality. It gives developers about 4000 new APIs and services to enable new features and capabilities to be infused into their applications. Mentioned below are few of the new capabilities with iOS 8.
a) Touch ID
iOS 8 gives you the option of using Touch ID to sign in to third-party apps. A password is not required. Your fingerprint data for Touch ID is protected and is never accessed by iOS or other apps.
b) Photo Kit
Photo editing has been made simpler with iOS 8. Developers can now enable their photo apps to edit photos directly in the Camera Roll without having to import them into the app.
c) Camera API
iOS 8 allows third-party camera apps to have control over exposure, focus, and white balance in addition to the controls already in the app.
Health and fitness apps can now be integrated and allowed to share data with each other. That means you can view all your health data at one place with just a tap on the screen.
HomeKit introduces a new way for you to control supported devices in your home using Siri. That means you could use your voice to turn on lights or adjust the thermostat.
iCloud is a cloud storage service from Apple. The CloudKit allows developers to use iCloud in their apps and enable you to sign-in with your Apple ID without sharing your personal information.
Apple has loaded iOS 8 with amazing new features. What makes iOS 8 a big deal for business are the updated and upgraded apps. Now, if you have an app on iOS 7 or lower then it definitely makes sense to get ready and optimized for iOS 8, so that you can make full use of the features available and unlock new capabilities in your app!
App screens Courtesy: Apple, Inc
Senior Manager – Business Development, RapidValue Solutions