New iOS versions always create a sense of excitement in the app development community, as iOS developers are keen to get their hands on the new APIs that Apple has made available to them. Over the coming months, developers will be looking at the changes and additions to the iOS SDK to make sure they are taken advantage of when it comes to their iOS 7 app development. However, along with bringing new APIs to the table, Apple has had its yearly cleanup and deprecated existing ones, meaning that developers have more work cut out for them. With iOS 7 bringing the most radical changes to the operating system since its original release back in 2007, developers should expect to have to carry out a lot of work to bring their apps up to the new aesthetic that Apple has introduced with iOS 7. Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. While developers will have their work cut out for them, iOS 7 is bringing a heap of new APIs and features that developers will be excited at the chance of implementing in their apps. It’s fair to say that iOS 7 app development will take on the biggest change that iOS developers have seen in the history of the SDK.
1. Multitasking in iOS 7
Prehaps the biggest change for iOS 7 app development is the changes that have been made to multitasking APIs. Whereas developers were before limited to just a few select areas such as background audio, navigation, and VoIP, Apple is now allowing developers to run code at select intervals of their choosing. When a phone receives a push-notification, it can now act as a push trigger, allowing the app to wake up in the background for up to 10 minutes, execute code (which is more than likely going involve networking of some kind to allow data retrieval), and then close. This is to give the illusion that the app has run in the background all along, as when the user next launches that app, they no longer have to wait for the data to be downloaded.
AirDrop facilitates a new way of sharing files between devices easily. AirDrop works over wifi or Bluetooth, and for short range communication, promises to be quicker than composing an iMessage or email. Apps that implement sharing should definitely take advantage of AirDrop. AirDrop has the advantage of not having to know the recipient’s contact details, as users can temporarily turn on AirDrop requests from those who are not already in their phone books.
3. UI Dynamics
iOS 7 is all about the new and radically different interface design. One thing that Apple is really focusing on is the intention of different UI elements. The introduction of the new API called UI Dynamics is built specifically for this purpose. UI Dynamics allow developers, in just a few lines of code, add physics to elements that appear on-screen, so that when they are touched and manipulated by the user, they can respond in a way that shows purpose and intent. An elegant example of this is on the lock screen. Just as with prior versions of iOS, there is a camera button in the lower right hand corner, than when slid upwards reveals quick access to the camera app. If the user decides half way through sliding that they no longer wish to use the camera, they can stop the slide and the lock screen will fall back to its original position. However, they could also physically slide the lock screen back down, or even do it with such a fast motion, that the lock screen bounces once it reaches the bottom of the screen. Implementing UI Dynamics in you app will help to add a sense of depth to your application and leave users of your application in awe as they see what clever uses you have been able to make of it.
4. General iOS7 UI improvement
Apps that use the stock iOS appearance now feel outdated, because the UI hasn’t been refreshed since it was first introduced back with the original iPhone in 2007. In order to make an app look good at present, it is necessary to perform heavy customisation of the UI by creating custom views. With iOS 7, it will be OK once again to use stock widgets to create your UI as it will result in an app that looks modern and up-to-date with the current style trends of iOS.
5. New frontiers
iOS 7 really does level the playing field, as not one app can get away with looking like a pre-iOS 7 era app. Whereas one or two apps dominate each App Store category in the App Store at present, developers have a chance to hit the road running and preparing an update to their app to take advantage of the new APIs and UI that is available with iOS 7 and create an app that will rocket to the top of their respecitve App Store category.
It’s safe to say, that with all of these changes, the next few months ahead will prove to be an exciting time for iOS developers in the realm of iOS 7 app development.