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What Will iOS 11 Bring for Developers?

If there is any company that knows how to make a media splash with every single update, it’s Apple.  For better or worse, Apple’s newest features always set media abuzz, both new and traditional.  The upcoming iPhone and new version of iOS are likely to be just as impactful.  Apple’s upcoming iPhone event has many people anticipating incredible new features, stunning changes to the iPhone, and facelifts for older apps.  Unfortunately, Apple’s events are usually heavily skewed towards media consumers and media makers, and not as much for developers who will need to adjust their sites and apps to the upcoming changes.  With that in mind, this article will explore what iOS is likely to bring to the table for developers both professional and amateur.
 

What Do We Know for Sure?

Apple has released an official iOS 11 preview on their site.  It’s most certainly geared towards the everyday consumer, but information that is important to developers can be teased out of the descriptions.  One of the most obvious pieces of information that is likely to affect developers is Apple’s new focus on iPad.  A good percentage of the preview materials Apple has provided are centered on how iOS is likely to affect the iPad.  A focus on iPad should prompt developers to get familiar with the newest models of iPad (if they aren’t already experienced with them, of course,) especially because there are often iOS features that are exclusive to iPad and iPad pro models.  These exclusive features could have a major impact on how your users experience your site or app.

In further exploring the preview page, one tidbit of information that is likely to be quite relevant to iOS developers is the incoming changes to the dock.  The dock has always been important to app accessibility and user friendliness, and now new dock design is going to introduce multitasking and dynamic window reshaping.  Any developer at this point should have some alarm bells ringing.  Optimizing an app for multitasking on an iPad is likely to require a re-analysis of resource management.

Additionally, Apple is introducing, for the first time ever, a proper file manager for iOS 11.  Apple has previously strayed away from extensive file management options on iOS, but the new “Files” app appears to be a step in a new direction.  Not only will the new native app be able to explore on-device files, but it will also have instant access to iCloud and shared documents from other connected Apple devices.

Another major directional change worth watching is Apple’s steps towards augmented reality.  iOS 11 is bringing with it a new product from Apple known as “ARKit,” which serves as a framework tool for AR developers.  Apple is boasting that the ARKit is going to be able to dynamically gather information from the built-in cameras and microphones and then pass that information on to games and other apps that can use that information to project an AR experience for the user.

Apple is also giving off a few hints at some other major directional changes in the description of their updates to Siri.  Siri, previously, incorporated very limited artificial intelligence, largely relying on a wide, but limited set of questions that prompted standard responses.  In iOS 11, however, Apple claims to have greatly expanded Siri’s AI capabilities using machine learning.  This will allow Siri to speak more realistically while also personalizing her responses and results for you based on your unique life.  Most impressively, Apple is maintaining its long history of security by ensuring that all Siri communications and responses are encrypted end-to-end.

What Isn’t Quite Confirmed Yet?

One of the biggest rumors that looks likely to be true at this point is a rumor of wireless charging being implemented into the iOS and iPhone.  An article on Mashable details how a large and reputable battery company known as RAVpower has made serious hints that the new iPhone will have wireless charging capabilities.  It is possible it may only charge wirelessly.

While most other rumors are conjecture, this story seems quite credible.  If does turn out to be true, a wireless charging standard for iPhones will have huge implications for power management in iOS.  Wireless charging is a whole new ballpark in comparison to wired charging, and there are a great number of differences that developers working on iOS will need to take into account.

Other rumors are  much shakier ground currently, but include theories that Apple will be including facial recognition software natively in iOS 11, might be removing the home button entirely, and may be doing away with finger print scanning.  While these are far from confirmed or even credible, developers planning on extensive iOS work should be prepared for the possibility of these changes.

Our team is passionate about Apple, iPhone, and iOS development.  We have taken each new frontier in stride and we are ready to do it again.  If you want to work with real experts who know how to keep up with innovation, come visit us today at www.nixa.ca.

At Nixa, we are passionate about design and new technologies. We would be glad to share our passion with you.

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