Apple’s announcements today covered a wide array of topics related to the iOS ecosystem., introducing two new devices: the iPhone 5C, and the iPhone 5S. Both devices have implications for organizations around the globe.
In addition, the picture is finally becoming clear with what Apple will be doing around iOS 7 and its release. With all of this information, every organization should be asking: How does this affect us and the experiences we have created?
I have identified five key areas you should be looking at as well as action items for each item that your organization should take.
The biggest impact from today’s Apple Event is that iOS 7 will be released to most devices on September 18th. The assumption is that developers will get their hands on the final version (gold master) of iOS 7 today. Apple held back the final release until the announcement because some changes had not been announced. This included the 64-bit compatibility, rewritten CoreMotion API, and some of the camera functionality for the iPhone 5S.
Once the developers get their hands on this final version, one would expect that tomorrow (or sooner) iTunes Connect will start accepting iOS 7 applications. This tight timeline between iTunes Connect accepting iOS 7 applications and the actual release date is a bit unusual, however, in the last month Apple has vastly reduced the review time for iOS application. In some cases, this has been as quick as 24-hours for some developers, which hints at the fact that they are ready to handle the massive influx of iOS 7 applications that will be submitted.
If you are prepping your iOS application for iOS 7, be sure that you are in your final preparations now. If you have yet to start, be sure to grab the latest version of iOS 7 and Xcode from the developer center and start the process.
Asia and Emerging Markets
The iPhone 5C is an important initiative.
While it might seem unimportant, this is about one key thing: China and emerging markets. That is further evidenced by the fact that it supports more LTE bands than any other current released smartphone. This is Apple’s play to reduce Android’s dominance in Asia. The cost point (roughly $99 with a contract) should be appealing enough to woo many Android users to move across the line to iOS. The big question will be, just how many take the leap.
This is further evidenced by another ‘first’ from Apple: The iPhone 5C will be released in China on the same day as it is released in the US, something that hasn’t ever happened with any previous iPhone. It is clear that Apple sees their future in China as a key part of their success moving forward.
Many expect that Apple’s market share in China and emerging markets will increase drastically over the next 12-months due to the iPhone 5C. If you have experiences in the App Store or distributed internally for your global organization, be sure you are doing all you can to fully support other locales with a primary focus on China.
The iPhone 5S continues with an emphasis on security. Initially at WWDC 2013, Apple announced improvements on its file protection API’s as well as announcing a deeper level of enterprise integration for iOS 7. With today’s announcement, you can add Apple’s new Touch ID fingerprint scanning to this list. This means that the iPhone 5S is now a serious option for organizations that have valid security concerns for their mobile devices.
You can now authenticate for iTunes with fingerprint on the iPhone 5S.
This shows that Apple is going beyond the two-factor authentication with they integrated with Apple ID’s a few months ago. Additionally, with the current concern over privacy, Apple did a great job highlighting how your fingerprint will never leave the device -it will be stored in an area of the phone that will inaccessible to hackers even if they gain control of your device.
If you have an MDM provider for your organization, be sure you discuss with them in weeks ahead about how they will be integrating the new security features provided in iOS 7 for your organization. If you are working either internally or with a third party to create or maintain an iOS experience, be sure you perform a security analysis to determine if you are effectively leveraging the functionality that iOS 7 provides.
Motion and Contextual Experiences
Another feature that hasn’t received enough initial press is the motion coprocessor that will be included in the iPhone 5S.
In short, this will allow applications to have much better insight into what the user is currently doing (such as walking, running, driving, etc…). In addition, it will be able to provide much more sophisticated information about the user’s movements. External devices such as the Nike Fuel Band, Jawbone Up, and the Fitbit will now have competition from an unlikely device: your phone.
This also will play a huge role in the contextualization of the app experience. If the application can know when you change activities, it can present an entirely different experience. What if the Messages app presents a different interface when driving? What if apps like RunKeeper can seamlessly start, pause, and stop tracking your running without you ever having to touch the device? The possibilities here are vast.
If contextual experiences and motion are important to your application, then be sure to download the final version of the iOS 7 SDK for developers when Apple releases it. Take time to review the new functionality provided in CoreMotion to ensure you are making the most of the functionality provided to you.
As of September 20th, Apple will have the first 64-bit smartphone in the wild.
This has big impacts for what is possible within an application. In short, this gives apps the ability to deal with more information in memory. In the example Apple gave, Infinity Blade 3 is able to have much larger virtual worlds, but this could mean many new things for your application.
In addition to an overall performance increase, Apple’s introduction of SceneKit in June along with the introduction of OpenGL|ES 3 at today’s event means that there will be the possibility of even more immersive visual experiences on the iPhone 5S. While the tie here is obvious for game developers, it doesn’t just have to be tied to games. There are expanded possibilities with augmented reality, advanced data visualization, and 3D rendering on iOS devices that leverage this new functionality.
If you have experiences that are already released via the App Store or internally at your organization, you need to build them for the 64-bit version of iOS to test and ensure everything works as expected. Apple described the process as seamless for developers, but if past experience is any indicator, a transition from 32 to 64-bit usually has some hiccups.
The reach of these new devices will be wide. The new devices will be in 100 countries and on 270 carriers by the end of the year. iOS 7 will be in the wild in just over a week. The time for action on these items is now as consumers will be looking for experiences that fully leverage these new capabilities.