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GUEST OPINION What does iOS7 mean for retailers?

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Having announced what it sees as the biggest thing to happen to iOS since the advent of the smartphone, Dan Hartveld, Technical Director, Red Ant, offers a concise heads up as to what iOS7 means to retailers

The revelations at Apple’s 2013 WWDC this week have set the industry alight with speculation – about iOS7 and its new interface, iTunes Radio and a raft of other updates and improvements. According to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, iOS7 marks ‘the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone’.

Apple has set the agenda for smartphone development over the years, but recently, they have lacked the radical innovation people loved them for, and iOS was long overdue a refresh. While most of the changes announced were simply Apple catching up with Google and Microsoft, what developers do with the new functionality in iOS7 will really prove whether iOS is still the most exciting mobile operating system.

So what does it all really mean for developers?

1.Interface redesign

The new-look iOS7 immediately gives developers and designers a couple of things to consider:

·Developers of apps that have been significantly customised will need to test that all their assets still look good in iOS7. There’s a chance that some apps could end up looking very odd, with boxy buttons and unattractive backgrounds

·Retailers’ app colour schemes and finish are likely to need to some adjustment to ensure they don’t clash with the new interface, and continue to look and feel familiar to their customers/users

· Frosted keyboard and dialogs mean developers need to consider what’s behind them, because in iOS7, the background shows through.

2. Automatic updating

For a long time, the Apple App Store has not been set up for enterprise level software, which retailers’ apps are coming to rely on. Automatic updating is one step toward a simpler update process for the retailer and the user.

3.Backward compatibly

While support will become increasingly difficult to get for earlier operating systems, it should also be less of a necessity. The UI changes in iOS7 mean that designing and maintaining both versions might be harder, but the good news is that iOS7 adoption to 90% is likely to happen before the end of the year. Developers and Apple are likely to expect to drop iOS6 support early on, and users will find it difficult to update most apps without updating to iOS7 as well.

4.Background processing

Improved background processing will allow developers to build better multi-platform apps with higher performance, and allow for a more flexible UI that can be updated quickly – this includes catalogues that are always up to date and always available.

5.Information exchange

The ability to exchange information or even stream data with ease between two iOS devices opens up opportunities for sharing content, product referrals, loyalty rewards and community building.

6.Smarter apps will know your real life situation

Expect to see new apps that take full advantage of reliable knowledge of the best travel routes, times, traffic and so on.

7.Increased support for attachments

Sharing content in a variety of media from apps will become simpler and speedier than ever. Developers will be able to design apps with the built-in ability to share URLs, photos and other data from app-based emails and MMS.

8.Improved opportunities for augmented reality

We predict that with the new improvement in iOS7, you’ll see apps making better use of 3D environments, particularly in augmented reality.

9.Improved animations

Developers looking for unique and engaging ways to offer a better user experience will now be able to take advantage of a more sophisticated set of animation options, leading to a more compelling user interface and slicker, more dynamic and responsive apps.

10. Expect to see more subtitles

This can bring added value to app development in relevant situations, marking as it does a significant step forward when it comes to accessibility for the hard of hearing, and privacy for those who choose not to share their media with the public.

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