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Five key app developer takeaways from Apple’s March 2015 Event

Sarat Pediredla10/03/2015Eventsalt

China is a big market:

We have always known China as a global electronic manufacturer, but over the years the country with the world’s largest population has evolved; now, it’s starting to become one of the biggest consumers of electronics too.

Initially, China’s small and large tech players were driving this demand, meaning that brands were less important than features and usability. However China’s younger generation is different - these consumers are willing to spend a lot of money on recognised and branded products, in place of cheaper local alternatives. Perhaps that’s one reason why Apple has paid particular attention to the country, where according to Kantar World it’s already extremely popular.

But what does this mean for mobile app developers? As such as big market for Apple, its devices and ultimately its apps, designers and brands need to keep this in mind when designing and developing their mobile apps. Localisation into Chinese could soon become a necessity instead of an added benefit. Market research and feedback on the tastes and preferences of Chinese consumers will also ensure that apps appeal to this key global market.


Apple Pay:

Apple Pay has been hugely successful in creating a market for the payment systems of the future. Various companies, including Google, have explored payment systems with nowhere near the success that Apple has been able to achieve in just a few months. The market has rapidly become a battleground for various players in the tech industry; Samsung recently announcing its own payment system, whilst Google is in the process of developing a framework called Android Pay that will enable developers to create their own payment systems.

However Apple is clearly leading the way, and currently has the most number of banks and retailers signing up to its payment system. Apple has created amazing ways to pay for anything using iPhones, iPads and now the Apple Watch too. We were hoping to see the launch of Apple Pay in other countries during this event, but there was no announcement of such plans.


Research Kit:

One of the most amazing announcements at the Apple event was the Research Kit, a software framework that mobile app developers can use to create apps for medical research. Such apps can enable medical researchers to provide custom medical examinations and tests to users, and easily collect the data generated. The scale at which data can be derived from these medical examinations will enable researchers to collect more information and provide better solutions to the individuals suffering with medical conditions.

The Research Kit framework is Open Source, making it easy for developers to play with coding to generate different kinds of tests. With the users’ consent, these tests can be utilised to collect relevant and useful data points, using the app built for the iPhone. This feature opens up a treasure trove of possibilities for medical and pharmaceutical industries to gather data from users immediately, and harness this information to create better medications for patients.

Hey Siri:

Hey Siri was a feature that Apple had developed so that iPhone users could interact with their devices and Siri, without needing to click and hold the Home button. It’s similar to Ok Google, which Android users have been accustomed to using on their smartphones. Hey Siri is available on the iPhone, but only when the user’s device is plugged into a power source. Apart from that there is currently no alternative way to use this feature.

When Apple Watch was first announced in September 2014, Siri was set to work with the Digital Crown, in a similar manner to the Home button on the iPhone; the user had to tap and hold the Digital Crown to activate Siri. However during the March 2015 event, Apple demonstrated that users can simply raise their Watch and say “Hey Siri” to interact with the device. It goes without saying that this improves the usability and comfort of the Watch.

Mobile app designers and mobile app developers need to keep this feature in mind when creating interactions for their apps on the Watch. Enabling apps to use Siri to interact with notifications will provide a hands-free and more natural user experience.


Apple Watch App:

As a device that’s set to revolutionise the Wearables – specifically the Smartwatch – industry, the availability and pricing of the Apple Watch formed a focal point of the event (excluding the new MacBook launch). Enthusiasts eager to get their hands on the Watch were keen to know when it would be available to buy.

But we were more excited with the announcement of Apple Watch App, which enables users to install, access and manage apps on the Watch. It also looks like there is going to be a separate app store to access the Native Apps that will soon be available for the Watch.

This could open up amazing opportunities for brands and mobile app developers to increase the visibility of their apps. It will also provide them with an alternative way to attract customers to their existing app ecosystem.

There’s no doubting that the March 9th Apple Event was an historic one, with countless changes, announcements and launches that are bound to shake up the industry. However from the perspective of our mobile app developers, these are the 5 key things we learned from Tim and his team. Did you watch the event? What are your thoughts on the new developments? Comment below to join the discussion.