At a virtual WWDC earlier in the month, Tim Cook and Co lifted the lid on what’s next for iOS and iPadOS. Although this year’s releases are a little more understated than some previous years, Apple has still packed both operating systems with new features that will make users’ lives easier, and help businesses do more on their iPhones and iPads. Below, we’ve put together everything you need to know about iOS 15, set to be released this September…

 

SharePlay lets users watch content on their own devices

Apple is making it easier for users to watch shows, videos, and other content with friends and family, even if they’re not in the same country. If your app includes media streaming – whether it’s YouTube content or training videos – you can use a new Group Activities API and let users watch full-fidelity video with loved ones, with syncing handled by Apple.

 

Notifications are changing on iOS 15

Perhaps one of the most notable changes to iOS for developers and businesses is Focus, a new feature that lets users have notifications delivered at more convenient times. It was designed to reduce the number of distractions throughout the day, but it could mean that your notifications are buried or not delivered at all. A new Interruption Levels API lets you offer nuanced delivery with passive and time-sensitive levels so that important messages like shipping notifications and breaking news stories are delivered instantly, and those that are less important, like news on special offers or an inbox notification, are delivered slowly.

 

Multiple App Store product pages

For the first time, businesses and developers will be able to create additional versions of their product pages with unique URLs, metadata, and more, so you can A/B test product pages or perhaps even appeal to different audiences under the same app. Apple has also introduced StoreKit 2, which offers more advanced server APIs and notifications, you’ll be able to showcase and promote in-app events – like sales or launches – on the App Store.

 

SwiftUI is even more useful

Apple has given some love to SwiftUI and made it even more useful for developers, offering improved list views, better search experiences, and support for control focus areas. Plus, with the new Accessibility Representation API, your custom controls can inherit support from standard SwiftUI controls, opening up your software and functionality to even more users.

 

Support for cutting-edge features

With RealityKit 2, it’s now possible to apply custom Metal shaders, add post-rendering effects and build immersive augmented reality experiences on iPhone and iPad, whilst ARKit 5 allows developers to add Location Anchors in more cities, pin virtual content within App Clips, and utilise Face Tracking in the Ultra-Wide camera on iPad Pro. Create ML is now offered as a Swift framework on iOS, allowing you to offer adaptive, immersive, personalised experiences on iOS without compromising users’ privacy, unlocking major new opportunities.

 

Bringing web extensions to Safari on iOS

For developers who have created Extensions for Safari on macOS, there’s good news: if they were developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, they’ll be available on iOS and iPadOS from the autumn, allowing you to offer even richer, more rounded products to users.

 

Opening up the operating system

Apple has long been criticised for its tight grip on its operating system, and although iOS is still more restrictive than Android, iOS makes it easier for developers to take advantage of some of the key features and functionality iOS has to offer. Screen Time API, for example,  means that core restrictions and device activity monitoring can be integrated into your own apps, without compromising user privacy. Apple-owned Shazam is now also available to third parties, allowing you to enrich your app experiences with audio recognition, and Apple has loosened its grip on HomeKit, with APIs that automatically work with Matter-enabled accessories. It’s a new open-connectivity standard designed to increase the compatibility of smart home accessories. Finally, Nearby Interaction allows people to interact with connected accessories taking advantage of the U1 chip on the iPhone, ideal for retail and hospitality.

 

If you want to take advantage of these new features on iOS 15 for your own app, reach out to the team at Zudu today. Call us on 01382 690080 to discuss your project in more detail.

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