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Apple’s iOS 8. What does this mean for app developers?

by Omar Sohail

Posted on

Apple’s iOS 8. What does this mean for app developers?

Apple’s unveiling of two of the most highly anticipated smartphones of 2014; the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus was not the only surprise delivered at its mass event. In addition to its iWatch, the company’s newly polished operating system; the iOS 8 has a repertoire of features that iOS app developers would love to take advantage of.

Trouble is, are there any improvements in the latest iteration that developers can capitalize on? Let us take a look at some of the features of Apple’s latest software offering.

Features of the iOS 8

Apple is terming its latest operating system as a figure of Extensibility. That term is no misnomer, because app developers will be able to turn their constrained developing environment in to an environment for free flowing ideas, which will further turn in to providing a complete makeover for applications and the overall interface of the operating system.

The iOS 8 features over 4000 new APIs (application programming interfaces) in order to enable amazing features and capabilities. Given below are a few features being given to developers which will allow them to seamlessly turn a restricted operating system in to one that will be radiating flexibility.

1.Additional sharing options

Previously, Apple’s iOS sharing options were only limited to a few options. Now, the iOS will allow the user to quickly share photos, video files and their links, along with other websites and a myriad of additional content with behemoth social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumbler and many more.

This will allow developers to take advantage of their own apps and allow the sharing option to become compatible with that app, so there is no limit to how much content can be shared across the World Wide Web.

2.Improved Notification Center

By swiping down the screen, users will have more notifications available to them. This is because iOS 8 allows app developers to form widgets related to their applications.

These widgets will conveniently be able to inform the user on the latest updates ranging from breaking stories to software updates, to improved text and email notifications.

Newly unlocked features

Given below is a list of additional features that mobile app developers will be able to take advantage of.

1. Camera API: Third party camera app developers will be able to develop camera apps that will come bundled with additional control regarding basic camera controls. This falls under the camera’s features such as exposure, focus, and white balance.

2.PhotoKit: With the PhotoKit, developers who are responsible for providing users with 3rd party photo apps will allow users to edit photographs of their choice, without having to go through the tedious operation of importing them first.

3.HomeKit: HomeKit is a new feature bundled with the iOS 8. It gives mobile app developers and home owners the opportunity to transform their homes in to smarthomes. Several devices can be programmed to be compatible with Apple’s SIRI software that will allow users to control certain elements in their home just by using voice commands.

Some of these elements include controlling the internal temperature of the household.

4.Touch ID: While the Touch ID interface was present in Apple’s previous flagship smartphone, its interface has improved overtime. Developers can take advantage of this by making their apps ‘friendly’ with the fingerprint scanner. Simply stated, apps that require a password will no longer require the user to continuously input those credentials.

Thanks to the new and improved Touch ID interface, that same operation can now be performed by putting their thumb or any other finger on the scanner.

5.HealthKit: For app users who have an affinity for monitoring their vitals, app developers can form new apps with which users they can tail their health details and gain the healthy lifestyle that they always wanted.

6.CloudKit: iCloud’s newest update will give app developers extra freedom when developing apps because now, users will be able to sign in to their Apple ID without the need of submitting their personal data.

Mobile gaming will reach a new platform

iOS 8’s gaming technologies will allow app developers to create more immersive mobile gaming titles. With such apps boasting nothing but visual bliss, smoothened gameplay and interactive content, mobile gamers will increase overtime. Given below are the gaming technologies that will be offered to game developers.

1.SpriteKit: 2D games are about to become more fluid and even more battery efficient. With iOS 8, app developers can take advantage of the SpriteKit in order to provide enhancements to 2D gaming apps, in terms of both performance and visuals.

2.SceneKit: As the name suggests, developers will not be able generate and render 3D scenes; with these scenes later incorporated in to 3D mobile gaming titles. Using an improved physics engine, interactive elements such as water and dust particles, lighting and clothing are going to get a lot more lifelike.

3.Metal: Metal is a technology designed for game developers who create console titles. Long story short, the technology will provide the forerunning platform that will allow app developers to finally start developing gaming apps that boast the same gameplay, graphics and content that are present in modern day console titles.

In addition, this technology will also be optimized to utilize as much CPU performance as possible to smoothen out the gameplay.

With new technologies, features and applications bundled up in to a very powerful and flexible package, the iOS 8 operating system is going to be a mobile app developer’s heavenly abode.