iOS 8 is coming to the app store, and it’s going to have some pretty awesome new features, especially as it pertains to apps. For some reason, it seems like developers, big and small alike, always wait until a month or two after a new OS has been released to update their app to take advantage of new software capabilities. You might recall seeing this with the flat design of iOS 7.
If you really want to stay ahead of the game, you should have your app prepared to update with a new version as soon as new software is available. Here are a few reasons why:
Why You Should Prepare for iOS 8
First Mover Advantage
Although iOS 7 had a drastic new look and feel, there weren’t a ton of technical upgrades app developers could take advantage of. iOS 8 is making up for that with less aesthetic changes and more big time technical upgrades. You want your app to take full advantage of these new features so you can stay ahead of your competition and establish yourself as an innovator in the space.
There’s already been some buzz about how great some of the apps taking full advantage of the new iOS 8 features will be – so your competitors might already be thinking about it!
Apple Loves Apple
Apple likes to show off apps using its new technology. They do this in numerous ways like featuring your app in the app store (which can lead to a spike in organic downloads) or including it in their commercials. Media publications like TechCrunch and Mashable also often like to write pieces highlighting apps taking advantage of new software.
If you’re looking to boost your organic downloads, simply staying up-to-date with the newest tech is an easy way to do it.
Keep Users Happy
You like happy users, right? Well you know what users like? Shiny new toys. And more importantly, apps that aren’t clunky and outdated. With iOS 7, Apple announced that they hit 90% adoption just 10 months after its release. As you might expect, tastemakers tend to be the early adopters, so you can bet that they’ll be updating their software as soon as it’s available. And if you take advantage of the new features and come out with an awesome new update, you can also bet that they’ll love talking about your app and spreading the word.
What Excited Us about iOS 8
So what are some of the new features you should be taking advantage of? We picked out our four favorites for you to think about. Let’s take a look.
Although this is a slight over-simplification, this feature allows third-party apps to talk to each other and share information and functionality.
This has apparently been in the works for a while now, and will allow you to expand your app’s functionality to other apps on the user’s phone. One example of this given in a Business Insider article is 1Password letting their app to log into other apps with it’s service. Previously you had to go into 1Password and copy the username and password and then paste it into the desired app that was asking for your login in.
Think about all the uses for your app, and see if you can integrate them into other apps.
Apple introduced a fingerprint scanner on the home button with the release of iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S. This was awesome, but had limited use cases and could only really be used to unlock your iPhone and approve purchases within iTunes.
Now they’ve finally decided to open it up and release a public API. Anywhere you need to authenticate a user’s identity, you can utilize this feature.
This allows for quick, easy, and secure access to your apps. It’s great for apps that already require a sign-on and authentication, like finance or banking apps (e.g. Mint or Simple). It also allows apps to add an additional optional layer of security as a perk. An app like Facebook or WhatsApp could add a quick authentication feature so users can keep their social networks and messages private, but also have easy access and not have to type in a long password.
Do you require users to log in before using your app? If not, would that option be useful for some of your users? Think carefully about it, and decide if adding that feature would be worth the development time and resources.
Manual Camera Controls
Apps will now have the ability to take direct control over the camera. This is obviously only applicable to apps with a photo or video feature, but it’s still a cool addition, and should be a hit with camera aficionados.
You can now control how the photo looks before you take it! Expect some cool new integrations with this. However, just because your app might use a camera does not mean this would be a useful feature. For example, some banking apps allow you to take pictures of checks to deposit them into your account. In this case, it’s probably easier to use the auto-focus because having direct control over the camera wouldn’t add any benefit. However, don’t be too quick to jump to brush this feature aside. It might be worth scanning through your reviews; maybe the auto-focus isn’t working well for some users, and it would be quicker for them to focus or adjust lighting manually?
Health and fitness apps and wearables have been booming the past year, and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. HealthKit offers you access to whatever health and fitness information the user has and decides to share with you.
This can provide a lot of interesting opportunities to integrate, and as more wearables and apps come out, I’m sure the data will become even more in-depth. Although you might not think it applies to your app, don’t overlook this one. You can definitely get creative here.
Maybe you’re a meal planning app and you can take into account the number of calories burned over the past day or week to intelligently suggest meals? Or maybe you’re an app like Groupon and can see how active the user is to provide better ideas for coupons they might like? The point is, you can do some cool things with this data if it’s available.
Those are the four features we’re most excited about! If you’d like more detailed information about the actual development and integration of these features, you can find it here. Let us know what you’re excited about with iOS8!
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.