The iOS7 software update for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners is the biggest for some time, and heralds a shift in focus from Apple. iOS7 is largely a ground-up redesign, based on integrating software design and hardware design.
The new iOS7 incorporates new special effects, such as parallax, giving interfaces a sense of depth, as well as translucency effects, again emphasizing depth, or some such.
Developers should find quick wins, as they utilize subtle changes under iOS7, which make an app more user-friendly. If a user finds an app both engaging and simple to use, free from superficial lag-inducing decorations, it is a success. This simplification of app interfaces is predicted to be a stark new focus for developers, targeting a clean, bright, welcoming experience for the user.
Continuing this vein of minimalism and ease-of-use, an important feature for developers to acknowledge is the new ‘background refresh’ for publishing apps. This feature will ensure that apps are fully refreshed even before being opened; something that will be popular among consumers who desire a fast, efficient experience with social networking and media apps. Taking advantage of this feature may be key to the success of certain types of app.
Developers of children’s apps will benefit from the new ‘Kids’ category in the app store. It is hoped that this feature will enable developers of children’s apps to connect with their audience more effectively. There will be only age-appropriate advertising content, and age groups will be separated to maximise the probability that an app is presented to its target audience. This could also make suitable apps more accessible to the education sector in line with the increasing use of tablets and computers in schools.
Another exciting feature that holds great potential in the long term is the notion of iBeacons. This initiative uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to deliver data to iOS devices. This data can be harnessed to enhance current location-based app technologies; a device could identify hyper-local information about precisely where its user is, then a smartly crafted app could be applied to provide relevant information and targeted notifications.
Finally the automatic updates feature of iOS7 should give publishing developers greater confidence that new content they create for their apps will reach their audience. If this feature is enabled, apps will automatically download updates as they become available, without the need for a user prompt. This way, every person that has downloaded a certain app will always have the most up-to-date version possible; a convenience feature that will also further necessitate the release of bug-free updates. In our case, this has almost guaranteed that more end-users will be running the latest version of our apps.