What does iOS 7 mean for iPhone owners, developers, and brands?

One of my favourite things about working at Somo is the fact that I am constantly surrounded by 140+ mobile specialists, all passionate about any new mobile release. We talk, compare, and argue about every tiny mobile related announcement. Yesterday, was of course Apple’s WWDC developers conference where we knew that Apple would announce some pretty major changes to their mobile operating system. As we all know now, the major announcement was iOS 7 - a brand new, designed-from-the-ground-up operating system that brings hundreds of changes to the look and feel of the iPhone.

While the conference was taking place we were all engaged in a pretty lively all-Somo email conversation. Below are some of the key points taken from that thread, highlighting some of the big changes iOS 7 will bring to the Apple developer community, all iPhone users, and any client or brand with an iPhone app.

iPhone users

Apple CEO Tim Cook, said this was the “biggest update to the iPhone since the iPhone”, and for consumers, it is. Is it ‘flat’? Who cares? It is beautiful. The iPhone software now looks dramatically different at first glance... and at every interaction. New look, new animations, new everything; for iPhone owners this will make their phone look like a new handset. This will likely make people fall back in love with their aging iPhones.

iPhone owners may find the complete lack of Google a bit of an issue if they rely heavily on services such as YouTube, Google Maps, or Google search. Apple have been quietly removing Google services during the last few updates, and now they are all gone. Expect sub-par search, maps, and no default video app.

The beautiful new UI

Brands

For brands with an iPhone app, design is now going to be more important than ever. Expect lots of design reviews for all apps, including branded apps, much like when iOS 5 was released and app owners had to consider designing for the larger iPhone 5 screen. With iOS 7 it isn't a new size we have to think about but a new design language and new transition guidelines. This will lead to a flurry of more beautiful apps in the app store - a beautiful OS drives beautiful software.

Of course there is more to the new operating system than meets the eye, a lot of new APIs, including notification sync and powerful enterprise solutions,  enable brands to really integrate their apps deeply with the OS and create much more useful experiences than previously possible. Plus, with full multi-tasking now available, brands must think harder about how battery drain caused by their apps running in the background will affect users. For any brands that have apps in the App Store, Somo are happy to offer a full iOS 7 assessment for existing apps and how they may need to be amended to perform correctly for the new OS. Please get in touch to start a conversation.

Automatic app updates means that brands can always be sure that users will have their latest version. Geographically popular apps also give brands the opportunity to create apps that may be best suited to a particular location - an app for Goodwood for example. The app Wishlist feature also allows for users to earmark apps that they may want to download at a later date, meaning brands are less likely to lose out to users with a poor connection. Air Drop enables users to share over WiFi and Bluetooth (yep Bluetooth is back in fashion!) and the new ‘WiFi Hotspots 2.0’ makes this even more seamless; now users can share content extremely easily there is an opportunity for brands and advertisers to create brilliant, viral content to be shared peer-to-peer directly from phones. Brands should consider distributing other types of  highly-sharable content, such as mobile vouchers.

The new App Store The new App Store, with automatic update downloads and popular app near you

Developers

Firstly, the Somo developers are loving the unknown challenges that the new OS brings - who doesn’t love a challenge? For developers iOS 7 means lots of performance unknowns, there are lots of questions around the newly added multitasking functionality, and lots of queries about supporting iOS 6 and below at the same time as iOS 7.

Importantly, Apple announced 1,500 new APIs with iOS 7. Essentially this means lots and lots more opportunities to make apps look and move slicker. At Somo HQ we are really excited about the animations API – rightly so, play with iOS 7 for two minutes and you will be too – as they will help us to create apps that look stunning in movement. The animations and transitions built into iOS already help iPhone apps to look nicer in motion than Android apps, we expect the new animations API in iOS 7 to widen the gap between developing slick experiences for iPhone above Android. The new APIs will allow us to design interfaces with a greater blend between the software and hardware, resulting in more control of the iPhone hardware, creating richer, deeper experiences. Take that, mobile web!

Developers now have a lot more to play with Developers now have a lot more to play with

Whatever your role in the Apple market, iOS 7 will affect you - embrace the change, use the opportunity of newly excited, more engaged, more attentive iPhone users to get across your message. Somo are experts in all things mobile, get in touch for a chat about iOS 7 and any questions you may have.

Author

Joel Blackmore

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