It’s been over 2 months since Apple officially announced iOS 9 at WWDC 2015. The new operating system was released in its beta state, for developers to play around with and test their mobile apps on. Along with the developer beta, Apple followed the same path it took for the last Mac OS update, making an iOS 9 beta version available to the public as well.
As September fast approaches, speculation is growing around the next iPhone, with expectations of possible leaks of information. This next device will definitely be launched with the iOS 9 pre-installed, and in less than a month it will be available to millions of consumers worldwide.
Preparing for iOS
Developers and brands are rushing to upgrade their iOS 8 compatible apps to work with iOS 9. But is making your app compatible enough to ensure that consumers continue to use it?
Of course, there are also brands that don’t bother to upgrade their app’s code. It is well known that iOS 9 will support a previous generation of mobile app. Hence, some brands focus on building new products for clients and customers, instead of re-writing the code for existing apps in the market.
However, what they forget is that when the OS is updated, it doesn’t just change a few cosmetic settings. It also brings along a truckload of new features, which could potentially enhance the user experience on a mobile device.
Here are some features that we think brands and mobile app developers should consider adding to their existing mobile apps for iOS 9:
This feature has been used by a lot of Android-compatible tablets and smartphones over the years. But until now, it’s not been available on the iOS ecosystem. Apple is finally enabling split screen in iOS 9, although only for iPads – this feature will not work on iPhones.
This makes sense, bearing in mind that a split screen on an iPhone could be a really uncomfortable experience for users, whilst on iPads this feature will be amazing. Brands and developers need to adopt this feature, and ensure that their apps will perform just as well when used in split screen mode.
Another feature arriving with iOS 9 is the ability to search within apps. This gives users the opportunity to interact with their apps in a very unique way. If the brand or the mobile app developer enables this feature in their app, the user could use the search section to find answers linked into the app. A click on the suggestion would not just open the relevant app, but also take the user to the exact screen where the information is available.
An example of this would be a user searching for a restaurant. The results could link them to a restaurant’s app, through which they could order their meal, making it almost a one-click purchase.
Another feature being introduced in iOS 9 is app thinning. This feature enables the developers to squeeze the app’s size by various processes, making it quicker to download and taking up less space on the user’s device.
Once the app is installed, the developer can push on-demand resources to the app when requested by the user. This feature enables users with low memory to effectively download apps and use them, instead of having to delete apps to make space for new ones. You can learn more about it here.
HomeKit was announced before iOS 9, but until recently there were no real supporting products for it. With the release of iOS 9, HomeKit supporting products are being launched on a daily basis. These devices can work alongside HomeKit and interact with the user’s mobile device, enabling them to setup and operate smart home capabilities. Brands and app developers should definitely work towards integrating this system into their apps, where relevant.
Users these days have access to an iPhone, iPad and/or Mac most of the time. Apple users expect to be able to access their information on all three platforms, whenever they need it. Apple is already blurring the lines between these devices using iCloud drive, which enables users to enjoy a similar experience on all these devices. Brands and mobile app developers should ideally use CloudKit to ensure that the users can access their apps on every device they pick up.
These are just few of the hundreds of features that we think can be implemented into apps to enhance the user experience. If you are looking to upgrade your existing apps for Apple's latest operating system, get in touch.