Getting Ready for iOS 8 - Pro Tips

August 5, 2014

Apple made a lot of significant announcements at the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference. Now that some time has passed and Apple has already released iOS 8 beta 2, we can look back and reflect on what it all really means to the business person, the consumer, the designer, and the developer.

The Entrepreneur/Business Person

Health-related devices or apps. Have you noticed the new influx of health and activity/lifestyle related products? There’s even a new product category, “wearables.” iOS 8 introduces HealthKit, an integrated app that provides a centralized dashboard of health-related data and a framework that enables disparate health and fitness devices to talk to each other. Companies are quickly jumping on the fitness bandwagon with products like Wahoo TICKR and UP by Jawbone. Do you have the next great idea in this category?

Have apps evaluated for iOS 8 compatibility. Get quotes from your vendor (or time estimate from your developers.) Don’t wait until iOS 8 is officially announced and your app crashes on launch!

Are there any new iOS features you can leverage for v2 (and charge a paid upgrade, perhaps)? Extensions, Documents, or Continuity? Photos & camera integration? Extensions will be key features for any social-network type of apps (make it easy to share from other apps.)

Does the free (mostly?) iCloud data storage (CloudKit) make a compelling case for iOS only apps?

The Consumer

There are tons of cool new features in iOS 8 like custom keyboards, improved Messages & Photos, Continuity, iCloud Drive, and Family Sharing to name a few.
The user interface and graphics are largely unchanged from iOS 7, so it’s not as drastic as the iOS 7 transition.
For more details see my previous blog post and Apple’s latest iOS 8 page.

The Designer

Apple is pushing Dynamic Type. They want to give the user more control over the interface of their device. Scale-able type (and re-sizeable views) are a boon for users with accessibility requirements.
Get over the pixel perfect layout. Apple seems to have made it clear that dynamic, scalable UI is what they want – and if rumors are true varying screen sizes, resolutions, and/or ratios will require a change in UI design and thinking.
Start thinking in terms of Size Classes. Here’s a great blog with some good pointers from The Nerdery.

The Developer

Apple is on beta 5 of iOS 8. They seem to be releaseing updates about every two weeks. Don’t wait until the GM(Golden Master or final version) is announced to start testing your apps and seeing what breaks and how much work will be required (if any.) If you targeted strictly iOS 7 you should be in better shape here.
Swift is getting closer and closer to v1. You are reading the Apple Swift blog, right? Most devs are still using Objective-C but all the cool kids think Swift is neat (and functional-ish!) Even if you don’t anticipate using Swift in production any time soon, you should still be mindful that Swift is the future of iOS/Mac OS X.
One big advantage of Swift – Playgrounds and the REPL (Read-Eval-Print-Loop) to quickly prototype ideas.
Start thinking in terms of Size Classes (and trait collectionsd.) These mean less code, theoretically. Here’s a nice blog with some more detail:
Leverage the new tools Apple has provided in Xcode 6, e.g. view debugging, live rendering, XLIFF import-export, performance measurement, and asynchronous code testing.

Summary: Swift, iOS 8, and Xcode, “oh my”

Apple made a lot of significant announcements at the 2014 WorldWide Developers Conference. A new sense of openness pervaded the conference and the executives and technical presenters all seemed very confident in the Mac and iOS platforms and the course Apple is charting for the future of the platforms. I can’t wait to see what other surprises Apple has in store for us!

Chris Carr
Chris Carr
Software Developer

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