iOS 10 Features – 10 Hidden Updates in Apple’s New OS

iOS 10 is coming, and along with it a long list of major changes for developers. But along with those changes come a plethora of small and medium quality-of-life updates that should make this iteration of the iPhone experience the smoothest yet. The below features haven’t been widely publicized by Apple, but expect fans to be extolling their virtues when iOS 10 releases later this year.

Voicemail Transcriptions

New to iOS 10 is the ability to have voicemails automatically transcribed for you into text. Your phone can now automatically analyze voicemails for you and present them as a text message. Now you won’t need to fumble with your phone as you scramble to copy down information from a voicemail; you can simply click the number shown in the message to call them right back.

VoIP Apps Integrated Into the Call Screen

iPhone users have long used third-party VoIP apps to make phone calls without needing to use a dedicated data plan. This has served well enough until now, except for the fact that VoIP app users weren’t able to integrate core iPhone features like their contacts list into the apps. Now, in the latest update, Apple has integrated VoIP calling apps into their call screen, so you can make calls using the native iOS screen. VoIP calls will also be saved as recent, and now integrate with all your standard phone programs.

Autocorrect Recommends Emojis to Replace Text

In a move of style over substance, Apple will now recommend you switch out words in your iMessage conversations for emoji symbols. When you invite a friend to pizza, your phone will prompt you to change the word “pizza” to an emoji of a pizza. With Apple also including instant text replies, such as a thumbs up or down picture, it seems the companies’ goal is to make a texting a faster, cleaner, and more fun experience.

Rich Links for iMessage

Have a favorite song or internet clip you want to share with friends? Previously you would have to paste a link for others to click on and check out, but no longer. Now, thanks to what Apple is calling “Smart Links”, video or audio links can be directly placed into iMessage.

Apple Music Now Shows Song Lyrics

Is Taylor Swift really saying “Starbucks lovers”? Now you’ll finally have the answers to your burning lyrics questions thanks to Apple Music’s new lyrics feature, which will show you song lyrics as part of the listening experience. It’s still unknown how many songs will come will lyrics initially, but it’s fair to assume a lot of your favorite songs will be covered.

Quicktype Answers More Questions 

Apple’s Quicktype feature has dabbled in answering questions before, with simple responses like “Yes” and “No” built in to make your texting life easier. Soon, though, the Quicktype feature should be expanded to encompass a much larger range of questions and situations. If someone asks you about dinner plans tonight, for example, Quicktype will scan your calendar for restaurant names and addresses. Then all you have to do is confirm the address and hit send.

Apple Pay Coming to Safari

Apple Pay will now be offered to web developers through Safari. Whenever you reach the payment screen of your favorite website, you may be able to choose “Buy with Apple Pay” to confirm the purchase with your touch-ID without ever having to pull out a credit card.

Smarter Maps with Detours and Improved Location Services

It can be frustrating to search for the nearest fast-food place or gas station only to receive a cluttering of options, many of which you have already passed. Apple will address this and other Maps annoyances in iOS 10. Now, Maps will return you a single option that is closest to you, and won’t drag you too far off your intended journey. You’ll even see your detour time incorporated into your overall travel length.

Edit Photos Before You Take Them

 Apple’s new Live Photo enhancements mean that you’ll take the perfect photo, complete with cropping and filters, every time. Now you can adjust photo features before you even take the shot, allowing for seamless and perfect snapshots every time. Plus, new digital video image stabilization means your photos will come out smoother and cleaner than ever.

Dual Browsing in Safari for iPad Users

iPad users who have long wished for stronger multi-tasking tools on their tablet are in luck as now they will be able to split their screen vertically in order to browse and manipulate two Safari windows concurrently. This is a massive boon to those that rely on tablets for work as they now have access to a capability which has been wanted for over a half-decade.

You’ll have a chance to check out all these features and more when the new iOS 10 update launches this fall.

iOS 10 – What Do Upcoming iOS Changes Mean For Your App?

The recent reveal of iOS 10 means big improvements for users, but it will be even more revolutionary for app developers looking to take their feature set to new heights. Here is a rundown of how these new features will help you make your app more accessible than ever before.

Removal of Apple apps allows more real estate for your product

In recent years the iPhone home screen has become cluttered with official apps. Junk apps like iBooks, News, and Tips can finally be deleted, meaning your app will have an easier time finding space – and purpose – on a user’s phone.

Up to this point Apple held a sort of monopoly on specific app services, but if and when a user deletes an official app like Weather or Mail it could open the door for superior alternatives. There are already many stock-app alternatives in the App Store, but they’ll have a real chance to shine now that users don’t have to worry about doubling up on install space.

Another benefit is that, if users clear up space on their Home screens previously cluttered by junk apps, it could improve engagement for apps that have already been downloaded. TechCrunch notes that many users reserve their last page for “rarely used apps” and “apps that [don’t] readily fit into [a user’s] preferred organizational system.” Now that users can delete many of those apps, the third page may no longer resemble an app graveyard.

Integration of apps into iMessage means constant access to your content

With the popularity of emoticons and stickers, it’s no surprise that Apple will finally allow users to access custom emojis without first needing to open the corresponding app. This change is a massive boon to any developer focused on creating content that could be made easier via iMessage integration.

The obvious winners are the aforementioned emoji services, as well as gif and message effects apps, but things get really exciting when you start thinking outside the box. Imagine playing an asynchronous multiplayer game within iMessage, paying a friend back for lunch with a simple text, or receiving real-time updates on the location of your Uber as you’re messaging friends. The potential is there, and now it’s down to developers to find new and interesting ways to push the feature.

Apple even announced that a dedicated App Store will be available for iMessage. There developers will be able to place all of their newest services for users looking to push the boundaries of the iMessage service.

Siri app integration changes the way users type and search for content

For the first time, all apps will be able to integrate Siri voice commands into their system. While the effects of this are obvious for chat apps like WhatsApp and WeChat, all sorts of apps stand to benefit from the inclusion.

The addition of Siri’s voice commands could simplify search, messaging and more for your users, making the experience faster and more intuitive. For example, a food services app may use Siri to allow customers to ask for upcoming meal specials at all of their followed restaurants without needing to dig into the profile of each one. It will be up to developers to learn both the powers and limitations of Siri, as well as how they can use her to improve their app.

New and improved notifications means your app can send updates in real time 

Previously, if an app wanted to update a user on some sort of change, it was forced to send multiple updates, each with new information. These messages could quickly fill up a user’s screen and become confusing to read. This is no longer the case as now your app can update users live in real time. Developers can utilize this new feature to provide recent, relevant content for games, sports scores, transit status, maps and much more.

With so many new features rolling out alongside iOS 10, you will be empowered to expand your app like never before. It is in every developer’s best interest to embrace these new tools to create more accessible, flexible and powerful apps for everyone.

E3 Games – The Biggest Announcements for Mobile

Just in case Apple’s huge WWDC announcements weren’t enough to whet your appetite for the next year of mobile, the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) also kicked off this week, and brought with it a series of important gaming announcements for iOS and Android. The games collected below might just be the next big thing come this time next year.

Payday: Crime War Revealed

Payday has been highly successful on PC and consoles, and now it’s time for the crime-themed first-person shooter to hit mobile. The game will change significantly in its transition, though, and as the “Crime War” subtitle suggests it should be a more aggressive game than its predecessor. Unlike the PC version, which pits four players against AI-controlled police in a series of escalating heists, this new mobile edition will send four criminal players up against four police players. Gamers can unlock upgrades, gear and personalization options as they play. Payday: Crime War is set to release soon on iOS and Android.

Severed Brings Vivid Role-Playing to iOS

Severed is a unique role-playing game built from the ground up to take advantage of touch controls. Drinkbox Studios originally launched the game on the PlayStation Vita, but the responsive swipe-based combat and stunning visuals should be right at home on iOS devices, too. Players control Sasha the one-armed warrior as she explores dungeons, battles monsters and solves puzzles.

Deux Ex: GO Puzzles iOS Players

Square-Enix has successfully rebooted Hitman and Tomb Raider for mobile, and now it’s time for Deux Ex to get the “GO” treatment. Like the previous GO games, Deus Ex GO will take the world and mechanics of the PC/console series and repurpose them as a devious puzzle adventure game. Players will utilize unique hacking and combat abilities to thwart a terrorist plot in a futuristic world plagued by civil unrest. The first two GO games were financially and critically successful, and it wouldn’t be surprising for Deus Ex to follow in suit.

Fallout Shelter Adds Updated Quests

A big update is incoming for everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic bunker building sim. Developer Bethesda Softworks showed off a new Quest system by which players can send their Vault Dwellers out into the Wasteland, where they’ll do battle with enemies using a new combat system. The additions promise to be meaningful, but the real question is whether or not they’ll bring in lapsed players for a second go.

Minecraft Gets The Friendly Update

A host of new features, including cross-platform multiplayer and new animals, are coming to Minecraft Pocket Edition via what Mojang and Microsoft call “The Friendly Update”. Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of Realms, persistent, private multiplayer servers from which you can invite other players, thereby mitigating a lot of the risk you might run into by allowing random players into your world.

Sims FreePlay and SimCity BuildIt Updated

Two of EA’s big mobile brands are getting updated in conjunction with this year’s E3. First, The Sims FreePlay has received a Police Update which gives players two new career choices: Metro Police or Special Agent. These in turn will let players become the Chief of Police or… a Paranormal Agent? The next update is for SimCity BuildIt, and gives players access to “Future Cities” including new Omega items like Jetpacks.

 

With this year’s E3 games looking hotter than ever, mobile gamers should have plenty to look forward to in the coming year. And who knows – One of these games might be the giant everyone’s chasing after come next year’s convention.

WWDC 2016 – Apple’s Top 5 Announcements for App Developers

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicked off its 34th year with a host of massive announcements that will shape the landscape for app developers over the coming year. Over the span of a two-hour keynote, Apple laid out exactly what changes, improvements and alterations are coming to iOS 10. Just in case you don’t have a spare 2 hours, we’ve broken down the biggest announcements from this year’s keynote and how they could affect app developers moving into the future.

apple-sign-wwdc-2016-2

5. Siri Comes to Desktop in macOS Sierra

iPhone and Apple TV owners have been enjoying Siri’s snarky brand of personal assistance for a while now, but Mac users have been left out in the dust – until now, that is. Apple announced a new Mac operating system with a new naming scheme to match iOS, tvOS and watchOS. OSX – now called “macOS” – is getting a new update called Sierra, and with it Siri is finally coming to the desktop.

Siri on desktop should function as a supplement to Finder and Spotlight, allowing users to search for files, switch between active apps, browse the web, and perform math functions. These features are exciting on their own, but going into the future Apple is hoping to make Siri even bigger, positioning her as an intelligent household assistant that can help you through your day-to-day.

So how does this impact mobile app developers? Combined with new Siri updates on mobile, which we’ll cover more later, developers can now feel empowered to add Siri features to their desktop apps and increase feature parity between different versions of their apps.

4. Apple ‘Junk’ Apps Can Now Be Removed

That “Apple Junk” folder we all have on the last page of our phones can finally be cleared with the advent of iOS 10. Not all preloaded Apple apps can be deleted, but the 23 that can are:

  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Compass
  • Contacts
  • FaceTime
  • Find My Friends
  • Home
  • iBooks
  • iCloud Drive
  • iTunes Store
  • Mail
  • Maps
  • Music
  • News
  • Notes
  • Podcasts
  • Reminders
  • Stocks
  • Tips
  • Videos
  • Voice Memos
  • Watch app
  • Weather

The apps you’ll have to keep around? Safari and iMessage, among others.

Now that Apple is allowing users to remove many of their official apps, it opens the door even further for developers to introduce superior alternatives.

3. Responsive Notifications Are Coming to the Lock Screen

Notifications can be a mixed bag depending on the app, but with iOS 10 Apple aims to empower developers to create more useful notifications. By utilizing 3D Touch, users will now be able to respond to or expand notifications from the lock screen.

Beyond that, Apple is also including the ability for developers to update their notifications in real time. Now, taxi apps can inform you when your ride gets close, news apps can update relevant stories as they happen, and sports apps can show you scores in real time. If your app utilizes notifications, you’ll want to start thinking about how they can be updated to take advantage of these exciting new features.

2. iMessage Gets Rich Links and Third-Party App Integration

Apple’s pack-in messaging service is about to get a lot bigger in iOS 10. Easily the largest update Apple has made to a core app in recent memory, the upcoming patch will add rich links, third-party app integration, larger emoji, effects and much more.

Let’s start with the basics: everything you love about iMessage is still there, with emojis now three times bigger than they were before. In fact, autocorrect will now prompt you to use emojis in place of words when applicable. The creative side of the app will grow from there, with text effects that can appear in your speech bubbles. Now you can make text larger or smaller, write in “invisible ink” that’s only visible after swiping over the message, or blur your text until the recipient taps it.

Beyond emojis, iMessage will now allow rich links, meaning that videos and music can be played without ever leaving the app. Similarly, third-party apps can now be integrated with iMessage, allowing you to send money, order food, and prompt all manner of activities from your messaging partners.

1. Siri SDK Lets Developers Add Siri to Apps

The biggest announcement for app developers at this year’s WWDC was definitely the big update for everyone’s favorite personal assistant AI. Apple debuted the Siri SDK for developers, which will allow anyone to incorporate Siri into their apps. WeChat, Slack and WhatsApp were named at the keynote as apps that will now support Siri voice commands, but that should just be the beginning of the Siri integration. With millions of apps on the store that can now follow your every voice command, Apple is positioning the iPhone as a serious competitor to personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, and Siri is finally getting the legs to support that weight.

Screenshot Localization – Why And How to Optimize in New Territories

Localization is an important step in the growth of any app. Many developers focus squarely on the United States, but China has actually surpassed the US in iOS downloads, and Japan continues to produce the most revenue for Google Play. Now, countries like China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Russia represent significant untapped markets for many developers. If you had the chance to increase your app’s potential userbase exponentially, wouldn’t you take it?

For that reason alone, localization is a must for any serious app developer. However, the localization process leaves many lingering questions, and not all localizations are created equal. A strong localization takes into account not only your app’s title and keywords, but your screenshots as well. After all, these images will take up the majority of your listing on iOS, and on Google Play they are one of the first elements on your app’s store page.

When localizing an app, adding your screenshots is the second step of the submission process – and it should be treated with a proportionate level of importance. Users may never even read your translated description, but they will definitely see your screenshots!

The creative used on an app page is crucial for conversion in new territories, so you should try to use localized images whenever possible. For example, if you’re localizing a GPS app for China, you’ll want to trade the US maps for Chinese ones and swap US landmarks in your images for, say, the Great Wall. Similarly, if you’re developing a cooking app, you might want to include images of local delicacies in order to entice new audiences into downloading. When it comes to localization, you’ll want to do as much research as possible in order to truly appeal to users’ sensibilities, no matter what the topic at hand may be.

Similarly, some countries may prioritize certain features over others. When positioning your app for a new territory, you’ll want to research trending features and position those towards the front of your screenshots so they will be immediately visible to browsing users. For example, WeChat’s group chat and emojis are hugely popular in China. If your app features something similar, why not highlight it in one of your first two screenshots?

Speaking of WeChat, this popular messaging app is actually a solid example of screenshot localization. Check out the app’s first three US screenshots below:

localize_screenshots_4localize_screenshots_1localize_screenshots_2

And compare them with the app’s screenshots in China:

localize_screenshots_1localize_screenshots_2localize_screenshots_3

Note how the app has been repositioned ever so slightly to emphasize freedom of communication in the United States, and the size of the userbase (complete with group chatting and emojis) in China.

When localizing your app, your first two screenshots can make all the difference for conversion, particularly on iOS. Just take a look at the search results below:

localize_screenshots_5

Each listing only has room for two screenshots, and if your app has a video – like WeChat (pictured above) does – that only leaves you with one screen to convey your most vital points of information. Suddenly, that subtle difference in screenshot ordering between territories becomes absolutely vital.

Localizing your app may seem complex, but in the end it’s all about understanding the wants and needs of each territory you enter. Translate the language in your screens, use images that local audiences can relate to, and reposition your most important features towards the front of your screenshots, and you’ll have a solid foundation for any new territory you decide to venture into.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing