New Apple iPhones and iOS Create Fresh App Developer Opportunities

By Ian Naylor | September 13th, 2018

Apple iPhone launch

Image Source: Apple

Apple rolled out three new iPhone models at the launch event yesterday, plus a new Watch and the usual iOS updates, all of which creates another pool of opportunity for app developers, with new converts and upgraders expecting their apps to feature the latest tricks and support the new tech in these devices.

The new iPhone XS, XS Max and “budget” XR are likely to confound sales expectations again this holiday season, as the Apple bandwagon shows no sign of slowing down. Inside each device, new cutting edge hardware driven by the various features in iOS 12 create new and exciting opportunities for developers.

ARKit 2.0 Makes AR Ready for Primetime

Thanks to Apple's ARKit 2.0, augmented reality is moving firmly from a gimmick to a useful territory. Able to track, measure and display information in real-time to multiple users, brands and marketers will be looking for apps that add value to signage, navigation and other areas. Developers can look to create fun features for families doing the shopping, experiences for visitors to museums and events, plus new use cases that the technology opens up.

The key to any successful AR experience is clear presentation of information, and plain guidance to its use and the benefits of augmented reality within your app. Find the way it adds value first, and then build the experience to deliver that value. We’ve had a couple of years of AR examples now to understand what works and what doesn’t, developers need to work to ensure their implementations are worth the effort.

Siri Expands Across iOS

Apple looked to have been on the back foot with Siri's progression compared to its rivals. But, the new Siri Shortcuts in iOS12 enable the AI to integrate with any app or feature on the phone, creating some interesting new possibilities for developers.

Enabling Siri in your apps will allow users to create new interactions, which will vary wildly depending on the app. But, you can encourage greater stickiness by demonstrating useful examples and showing how it works up front with the app. Information, messaging and similar examples such as “when x happens, launch the app and do y” should provide inspiration to users.

Machine Learning Opens New Avenues for Apps

Perhaps the hardest feature to demonstrate in iOS and the new iPhone models is the power of the Neural Engine, a key part of the processor package and its machine learning capabilities. Now available to any app developer, this power can be harnessed using CoreML to monitor user actions, intentions, scan the world through the camera and much more.

Machine learning can boost app performance when it comes to recommendations, decision making or predicting. However, while traditional services have large amounts of data to rely on, new apps will have to build training data on the fly through user experience, so much validation and testing will be required before touting any new machine learning features as ready for action.

Make Use of Apple’s New Hardware

Millions of people will buy the new model iPhones, and they will expect their apps to leverage every element of the hardware and UI. Starting with the easy wins, Apple made repeated mention of the improved stereo spacing from the new model phone’s speakers. Any app with sound from startup tones to full games should reexamine their stereo capabilities and make use of them to wow the user.

The 6.5" Super Retina display of the iPhone X S Max 2688 x 1242 creates a new playground for developers and any image-based apps should focus on bringing out the best visuals using HDR and making best use of the screen real estate. Updating traditional apps to take advantage of the extra space, or at the very least ensuring a good fit on the new screens is the minimum effort any developer should go to, updating imagery with higher-resolution versions to avoid looking cheap on these gorgeous screens.

Thanks to Apple’s beta developer efforts, developers are already getting to grips with these new features and the apps that show them off will be rolling out soon. If the examples they provide can add value to your own apps, or you have new ideas, don’t be afraid to test them out.

Ian Naylor
Ian is the Founder and CEO of Appinstitute, one of the world's leading DIY app builders. Naylor has founded, grown and sold 4 successful internet and technology companies during the past 18 years around the world. An expert authority on mobile app trends, Ian is a regular speaker at numerous industry events. Appinstitute has been named in the top 50 creative companies in England by Creative England.

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