Apple CEO, Tim Cook kicked off the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2019 in San Jose on Monday morning, showcasing the software updates that will power the Apple family of devices—iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and Mac computer—for the year to come.
Let us walk through the big announcements from the keynote that could and most probably shall affect your business.
1. (Apple) Watch Breaks Free
At the WWDC conference, Apple announced three big things with WatchOS 6:
- Apple Watch would receive a standalone version of the App Store.
- Users will be able to purchase, download, and install applications on the watch itself.
- The app would no longer need a companion app on the iPhone.
With apps that operate independently from iPhone, Apple has upgraded the stature of the Watch to that of an independent device that users can use for their digital needs. In other words, app developers and businesses should get ready with apps that provide an excellent digital experience to users on Apple Watch.
As more users start leaving their phones behind, businesses that are available on the Watch will have a distinct edge over those who do not.
So, if you are planning to build an app, make sure you take into account WatchOS and start the development process accordingly. And if you already have an iOS app, it is time to seriously consider Watch as the additional platform to support.
2. iPadOS: A Truly Distinct Experience
iPad will get its own OS, aptly named iPadOS, that comes with iPad-only functionality, an upgrade that finally makes use of some of the iPad’s extended functionality. With this big announcement, Apple’s move to pitch the iPad as a laptop replacement has finally become a reality.
There are many business-friendly features that iPadOS bring along with it. Some of them are the ability to add a thumb drive, separate accounts for business, personal, and a download manager.
Apart from this, the iPad will get a new split-screen apps feature that brings side-by-side launching of apps, which even includes duplicate apps. iPadOS will also feature drag-and-drop support between open apps.
With this focus, Apple is indicating that businesses need to think of how to upgrade their apps to take advantage of these new features and make their users happy. We recommend that you re-evaluate your app to see if features like docking, split-screen view, etc. would be useful to your users, and get started on the upgrade and be ready for the iPadOS launch this fall.
Though it seems older apps using iOS would continue to run, it would be wise to update your codebase for iPadOS.
3. AI and ML Getting Deep into Apple’s Ecosystem
Apple revealed that Siri will have a slightly new voice, generated entirely by a neural text-to-speech technology rather than a human-based recording. On the other hand, HomePod will start to deliver personalized music based on a user’s play history.
Apple also welcomed Core ML 3—the latest version of its machine learning model framework designed to help iOS developers embed AI smarts into their apps. Thus, Apple, with this announcement has made it clear that the world will soon revolve around AI and ML and that ‘soon’ has arrived now.
The indications are clear:
- Chatbots should be part of your business strategy and with Siri integration, they need to also sound natural.
- Users will expect a personalized experience and your app should use on-device machine learning to cater to the needs of users.
You need to start looking for a Digital Experience Agency that can work on AI & ML effectively.
4. Sign in with Apple
Apple, with its announcement at the WWDC 2019 tried to tackle the issue of security by introducing a new feature named ‘Sign in with Apple.’ The objective to introduce this feature is to crack down on data sharing during app logins.
This specific feature is intended to work across all Apple devices like Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches. Moreover, Android and Windows users also get the liberty to make use of this service via the Web.
With this feature, Apple is keeping user privacy at the forefront of mobile app development. As a business, it makes more sense to upgrade your app for increased user engagement as users will be more inclined to interact with your product/services knowing that their information is safe.
5. iOS 13’s Much-Awaited Dark Mode
A long-desired iOS feature—Dark Mode—is finally coming in iOS 13 this fall. Apple is updating the entire iOS interface for dark mode as well as all the default apps.
That means when a user shifts to dark mode, and your app does not follow suit, it is going to stick out like a sore thumb. It will be jarring for the users and does not bode well for the longevity of the app. With new apps that will inevitably pop up with dark mode support, businesses that do not adapt are likely to lose out.
We recommend that existing apps be re-evaluated and adapted to support dark mode in time for the iOS 13 launch this fall. Depending on the nature of the app, and the number of screens involved, it can be a quick job to a very involved upgradation. Contact your iOS development expert to discuss.
Apart from all the key takeaways that we mentioned in the blog, there are still plenty more announcements that need to be unpacked from the event. If you find any other announcements relevant to making the digital experience more streamlined, do let us know by sharing your views in the comment section.