iOS 8 is scheduled to be released this Fall, and we’re excited about the new app development possibilities it brings. Some of our favourites include inter-app communication, home automation, health management, and new location-based services. As of iOS 8, Apple is also giving app developers access to App Store sales and visitor analytics through iTunes Connect.
Here’s our roundup of the top 5 most promising features for app publishers and entrepreneurs:
1 – Inter-App Communication
While iOS 7 shook things up with its new visual design, the inter-app communication features in iOS 8 are even more significant. Previously impossible app ideas are now open to entrepreneurs. For example: iOS 8 apps can share documents, allowing users to control how they view, edit, and share their files. This means that new apps can expose photo editing features, so users can apply their favourite 3rd party filter without having to leave their photo app.
Apps will also be able to display streamlined versions of themselves in Notification Center, giving users quick access to certain features on the go. There really is a lot here, and we can’t wait to hear your new ideas.
2 – Home Automation
Smart devices like the Nest thermostat and Hue lights are really gaining traction. To help control them, Apple has added HomeKit to iOS 8. Instead of a single app, HomeKit is an underlying technology that makes it easy for any app to communicate with compatible devices.
Soon you’ll be able to ask Siri to raise the temperature, dim the lights, lock your doors, and more. An app could monitor your house using a smart camera and other sensors while you’re away on vacation. Heck, we’re looking forward to seeing the first smart cat food dispenser! People are only scratching the surface in terms of home automation, and we expect HomeKit to power some great new devices and apps soon.
3 – Health Management
As well as helping to improve your home, Apple wants your iOS device to improve your health. The new Health app in iOS 8 gives apps and devices a single place to display biometric data. The iPhone 5s has built-in sensors that provide movement data now, but new devices like Vessyl and HAPIfork allow people to monitor their food and drink intake as well.
iOS 8 apps can take advantage of this data using HealthKit, allowing nutrition and fitness data from other apps to be examined and monitored in new ways. If you can dream up a game you play by eating more veggies than your friends, we can help make it happen.
4 – Location-based Services
Some apps work best when you’re in a certain location. If you’ve ever walked into an Apple Store and used the Apple Store app, you know how great an experience this can be. Now apps can show an icon (or a link to the App Store) on the lock screen when you’re close to an applicable location.
Imagine having your coffee shop’s loyalty app just a swipe away after you walk in the door. This adds to Apple’s iBeacon technology, introduced in iOS 7, which can alert your device when you’re close to something of interest. Want to build an app for your store, museum, or even your local scavenger hunt? We’d love to help!
5 – Better App Store analytics
The iOS App Store’s curated approach to sales is one of the reasons that many users love their Apple devices. Unfortunately Apple doesn’t make much information available about how people find or purchase your app on the App Store. This Fall, that changes. Apple will provide stats on how many users view your App Store page, how many people purchase and install your app, and how often people use it.
To help find where users are coming from, you can build App Store campaigns to find out how best to promote your app through the App Store. On top of that, Apple will provide in-app analytics which will compliment the third-party reporting tools we currently provide to our clients.
If you can’t tell, we’re pretty excited for the new possibilities iOS 8 brings. There’s never been a better time to plan your next app idea or update. Get started now with our App Design Guide or get full details on our approach and pricing with a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org.