Apple are adding a range of new improvements for iOS this month as part of their yearly update, including drag and drop file handling, merging the lock screen with a new and improved Notification Center, iPad user experience enhancements like the new Dock interface and more human-like Siri voices.
A lot of this has been leaked prior to the announcement, but we’re still waiting to hear how developers are going to take advantage of the new augmented reality capabilities. This is one area that could potentially change a huge range of software, including both Google and Apple Maps.
Alongside the new feature updates for all users, Apple are changing the way several features work in iOS in addition to the App Store, and these may affect you, particularly if you’re using the Sharing or App Review features.
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App store discovery
For many years, games have dominated the charts in the App Store, leading to other apps being hidden or drowned out in the noise. Apple are updating their App Store to entirely separate games from other apps, leading to better discovery potential for your app.
In prior versions of iOS, Apple had implemented direct integration with Facebook and Twitter (you’d connect your account in the Settings app).
With iOS 11, that’s changing – you no longer add your accounts to iOS, instead using action sheets for sharing. Whenever you install an app that’s capable of being shared to, it’ll install an icon onto your sharing action sheet. When you share using our apps (or others), you’ll see this action sheet pop-up with actions for sharing – typically including email, Facebook and Twitter, amongst others. The idea isn’t just to provide extra functionality, it’s to provide extra clarity too.
The important part is that only the end-users (and not publishers like you) control which service the end-users can share to. As a publisher, you can control whether sharing is on or off (and new options allow you to control that on a per-feature basis, like sharing a page, or sharing products, etc.), so it’s important that you decide whether you want sharing to be enabled, as the end-user has more control over where things are shared.
In the past, developers and app owners were able to use many different methods of asking end-users to review Apps, and often those developers (unlike YUDU), would really push this in front of end-users in a variety of different, often obtrusive, means – in a way that would often make the overall user experience less enjoyable.
This year, Apple have updated their policies so that all developers will use a more standardised way of requesting an app review by their end-users, ensuring that they’re not unduly annoyed by the request from the App owners. As such, YUDU will be following Apple’s guidelines if you choose to enable the app review request feature.
What does this mean for me?
If you own any app(s) currently on the App Store, all of this should be welcome news. The trend towards gating off the “gaming” section of the store into a store in its own right is something that arguably should have taken place some time ago. Regardless, it is a welcome change all the same – and one that provides a greater degree of demarcation between one type of app and another.
There is still a lot of work to be done on streamlining the UX for app discoverability – particularly when it comes to making app-crawling algorithms as helpful as search-crawling algorithms like Google and Bing, but this represents an important step forward in clearly categorizing the content that sits within the app store, in the process making non-gaming apps significantly more easy to locate than they once were.
It’s also highly likely that in the next two to three years Apple will start to roll out official gaming peripherals that will help to drive this huge growth market forward even more for them, alongside this, expect to see more attention paid to AR support as well.