As one of the world’s most popular operating systems, iOS is a platform that you simply cannot avoid if you’re a developer or entrepreneur with a smartphone app.

With more than 500 million app store visits every week and Apple paying out more than $26 billion to developers in 2017 alone, the future of smartphone apps is bright, and launching one for your business could be a wise move.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of apps for small and medium-sized businesses, but today, we’re looking deeper into Apple’s best major iOS release, and giving you a heads up on the essential changes you should prepare for ahead of the iOS 12 rollout this September.

iOS 12 is Apple’s biggest release yet

With major iOS releases, Apple usually drops support for its oldest devices to allow room for more advanced functionality thanks to better hardware.

But for the first time, the latest iteration of the operating system will be available on all of the same devices as its predecessor – that’s 22 iPhone and iPad models.

It’s the biggest iOS release of all time and means hundreds of millions of devices can upgrade and enjoy the new features from Apple and third-party developers.

Last year’s iOS 11 release dropped support for 32-bit apps, but if you’re still maintaining a legacy app to support older operating systems, you should consider pulling the plug and creating new updates for iOS 12 users.

This major release is set to be the most popular yet, so streamlining your development process could make your app more efficient and cost-effective.

Siri Shortcuts allow third-party integration

With Amazon Alexa and Google Home transforming the smart assistant market over the past couple of years, Siri has become a shadow of its former self.

Apple hopes to change the fortunes of its assistant in iOS 12 with a new feature called Shortcuts, created to execute a series of tasks based on a user command.

If you usually head for a coffee before work and set off a playlist as soon as you enter the office, you can run a shortcut and have Siri order your coffee in advance and play your music when you sit down at your desk: next-level automation!

Developers can gain access to Siri Shortcuts and implement their own shortcut features using SirKit for iOS and watchOS.

Play around with the Shortcuts API and consider adding a shortcut to encourage users to spend more time using your app.

You should also check out Siri Suggestions, a feature that uses signals to suggest relevant shortcuts and in-app actions.

Apple wants users to spend less time on their phones

 

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun inside an app, and Apple wants to help users – and, in particular, parents – overcome this problem with a new Screen Time app.

Thanks to the new tool, users will be able to see exactly how long they’ve spent inside of each app, and set custom timers to lock themselves out of particular apps after a set period of time.

Say you were concerned that you were spending too long on Instagram; with iOS 12, you can limit your screen time of Instagram to 30 minutes per day, and after that, you’ll be locked out of the app.

Because of this, you’ll need to ensure your apps are more engaging and persuasive if you want users to stick around. Depending on the nature of your app, you could even experiment with background activity to provide users with ongoing functionality, even when they’re not using their device.

Grouped Notifications could make marketing trickier

Sending users push notifications to remind them of special offers or discounts is a great way to increase conversions and generate sales, but many users simply don’t enjoy being bombarded with notification after notification.

Because of this, Apple will group together notifications based on the app in iOS 12, so if you’re used to sending marketing messages multiple times a day, it may be trickier to capture the attention of your app users and get them to interact with your software.

What’s worse, a new notification management function will allow users to turn off notifications for apps altogether, or have them delivered silently to the Notification Center.

Before iOS 12 is released to consumers this September, you should look to review your push notification strategy to avoid Group Notifications and reduce the chances of users turning your alerts off altogether.

Older iPhones will be more powerful

Apple suffered some flack when it admitted it was slowing down older iPhones to prolong their battery life, leading many to accuse the company of purposefully bricking devices to encourage users to upgrade.

With iOS 12, enhancements have been made to increase loading times on older iPhones; apps will launch up to twice as fast, and the keyboard will load up to 50% faster.

You can use this increase in speed to add more functionality to your app. If data shows that the majority of your app users are running your software on older devices and suffer from slow speeds, they’ll benefit from an increase and will want to spend more time using your tools.

ARKit 2 brings new possibilities

Augmented reality has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years, and for ecommerce businesses especially, merging reality with tech can be highly effective.

If you run a clothing company, for example, you could employ augmented reality technology to allow users to ‘try on’ augmented clothing to get a feel for the size, colour, and fit.

Of course, nothing will beat trying on a new product in real life, but it’s a technique that works for brands like Converse.

With iOS taking an incredible 52% of the UK smartphone market share and adoption of new iOS releases greater than on Android or any other operating system, it’s essential that your company app is designed with iPhones and iPads in mind. At Zudu, we offer custom app development in the UK, covering iOS, Android, Windows, Wearable and Hybrid operating systems. Get in touch to find out how an enterprise or consumer app could transform the fortunes of your business.

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