Highlights from Apple’s 2017 Special Event (with Snarky Comments)

Apple held their 2017 Special Event at the new Steve Jobs Theater where they made several announcements on their upcoming products that will ship this fall.  It’s so cliché, as they described each product as the best (Apple Watch, iPhone, AppleTV, etc) ever.  What else would you expect?  In the two hour event, Apple had numerous product announcements and demos;  so as a public service, I’ll boil it down to what I think are the highlights (with a side of snarky commentary).

Apple Watch (Series 3)

I stopped wearing watches when I started carrying a cell phone.    Why have a watch when I can check the time on my phone?  When the Apple Watch first came out, the same thing came to mind.  Why would I want an Apple Watch when I have my iPhone?  Then you have to factor in the fact that the phone needs to be tethered to your iPhone in order to effectively work.  So why would I want to buy another high priced item that I have to manage and charge?  What’s interesting is that the Series 3 now comes with a SIM card that allows the  Apple Watch to function independently without the iPhone.   In fact, their selling point is that you can leave the iPhone at home.  Interesting concept; maybe the Apple Watch can replace the iPhone.    Realistically, no.   Personally, all I can see is having to pay for another cellular connection.

Apple TV 4 K

4 K television owners can rejoice.   Apple TV now supports 4K resolution.   As for me, I’ll probably consider this when my 1040 HD TV craps out and I end up buying a 4K TV.  But until then, I’m probably not in the market.

iPhone 8 /8 plus

So, the here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the unveiling of iPhone 8 and 8 plus.  So, it’s the normal stuff we expect like faster chip and better camera (sadly, it seems like the battery life is the same as the iPhone 7).  The hardware will better support augmented reality (supported by AR Kit which is part of iOS 11). What I found interesting is that they announced the ability to charge the phone wirelessly.  However, it  requires a charging pad which will be sold separately and expected to be released in 2018.  The moment that I thought this was a ho hum release, Tim Cook declared “there’s one more thing…”  in the iconic Steve Job fashion.

iPhone X

It’s been 10 years since the iPhone first debuted and at the event,  Tim Cook debuted the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10 – this also begs the question, what happened to the iPhone 9?).  The  most notable change is that the phone lacks the home button and essentially is all screen.   The primary authentication method is their Face ID which replaces Touch ID.  This is made possible by their new TrueDepth Camera which allows for the phone to recognize the face in three dimensions.  My first thought, is that it can easily be hacked by a photograph.  Apparently, it can’t and they even tested against Hollywood style masks.  The other feature enabled by the TrueDepth camera is the ability to created Animoji (animated emoji) using the movement of your face (does it seem like they’re stretching? ). As far as I can tell, that’s the main difference between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8;  and oh, yeah, and then there’s the price.  The iPhone X starts at a staggering price tag of $ 1 K ($999).

Final Thoughts

For me there’s a sense of relief when Apple doesn’t change their iPhone adaptor (When, they moved to the lighting connector, I had to trash all the docking stations I strategically had around the house).  Overall, I thought this announcement was more evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  As a mobile app developer, I’ll probably will end up getting the iPhone X so that I can stay current.  As a consumer, I didn’t really see anything  truly compelling to want to fork out a grand for the latest and greatest and would hold on to my current iPhone until it gets accidentally doused in the pool.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Highlights From the 2017 Apple WWDC

Apple held their annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Jose, CA on June 5, 2017.  Tim Cook, Apple CEO, kicked off the keynote to 5,000 developers  by declaring this will be the biggest WWDC (I had to chuckle because he says this every year).  Here are the things I found interesting in the two hour and half hour keynote.

 

Apple HomePad

As predicted, Apple announced, HomePad, which directly competes with the Amazon Echo and Google Home.  They positioned it as a cross between a high end wireless speaker (specifically comparing it to Sonos) and voice assistant (aka Amazon Echo).   They spent a lot of time focusing on the quality of the speakers and it seem like the voice assistant was more of an add-on.   I think they did so to justify the $350 price tag to differentiate it from the other voice assistants which are substantially less expensive.

 

VR Support

I have to admit, whenever they do the hardware demo at the keynotes, I usually find it cliché …wait for it…it’s the most power Mac ever (duh).  What was interesting was their demo of a Star Wars virtual reality scene being developed by Industrial Light and Magic.   Apple is not known for being a gaming platform but they’ve beefed up the iMac Pro to accommodate VR development .

 

Send and Receive Money with Apple Pay

In demoing the updates to iMessage, Apple showed the ability to send and receive money through Apple Pay.  Wait a second; that sounds like Venmo.  Looks like the Peer-to-Peer payment space just got a big competitor.

 

ARKit

One of the more interesting and exciting things I saw as developer is Apple’s announcement of ARKit .  This allows developers to make Augmented Reality apps for the iOS.  For those of you unfamiliar with AR, Pokemon Go is an example.  It will be interesting what developers will do with ARKit.

 

watchOS 4 features Machine Learning

One of the faces of watchOS 4 is that it will use machine learning to display relevant info to the user.  Pretty cool, but I still don’t plan to wear a watch any time soon (why do I need a watch when I already have an iPhone).

There was actually a lot more stuff announced at the keynote.  This was just  the things I found interesting.  To see the entire keynote, just click here.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

6 > 7 = 8

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Okay, I’ll admit it… I have not yet upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, I love my iPhone 6s Plus so much, I don’t even want to upgrade! I know, I know… I’m in the business of apps, I need to upgrade for testing purposes, I need to have the latest and greatest, etc., which means every once in awhile I’ll ask myself if I need to upgrade. However, the iPhone 7 Plus is going to have to send me flowers or do something pretty amazing to convince me to abandon my little 6s Plus buddy, my handheld link to the world. We’ve shared so much!

For the skeptical holdouts like me, I’ll share some of the research I’ve read if you’re still resisting as I am:

No Headphone Jack: This really is a dealbreaker for me. I can’t imagine driving without a little Joy Division, Foxy Shazam or some Hendrix, and I’m simply connected by a $1 cord adapter while I simultaneously charge my phone. It works, okay? But now the iPhone 7 Plus has the “haptic engine” and it’s “faster.” Have I joined the ranks of “Old Dogs?” Give me back my headphone jack, please. I’ve read that I can use Apple’s $159 wireless AirPods or Bluetooth headphones, or use a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter bundle. Sigh, but it works now, and I’m happy. More accessories = more money, or maybe a new car? Hmmm…

Processor Speed and Graphics Speed: In my research, I’ve read that the iPhone 7 boasts up to twice the Processor Speed of iPhone 6s Plus, and a Graphics Speed up to three times faster. Apple claims a substantial CPU increase of 40% and a significant GPU increase of 50% over the iPhone 6s Plus. I was blissfully unaware these were issues, but I can be logical. It is technology, after all. Faster = upgrade. Got it.

  • iPhone 7 Plus – Apple A10 Fusion chipset: Quad Core CPU, 3GB of RAM
  • iPhone 6S Plus – Apple A9 chipset, CPU: Dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister; GPU: PowerVR GT7600, 2GB RAM

Water Resistance: Okay, this seems like a big deal, but when I purchased my 6s Plus, its water resistance claim was also appealing to me. Knock on wood, I’ve been lucky with this phone and have never had to test its swimming capabilities; however, the 7 Plus features mention a full submersion for up to 30 minutes.

The Look: Other than the glaring removal of my beloved headphone jack, the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 6 Plus are visually very similar. I am a fan of the color options for the 7 Plus, though: Jet Black, Rose Gold, Gold, Silver and Black (on the 128GB and 256GB models). Additionally, the displays are 25% brighter on the iPhone 7 Plus, but the general specs are the same:

  • iPhone 7 Plus – 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi), 67.7% screen-to-body ratio
  • iPhone 6S Plus – 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi), 67.7% screen-to-body ratio

Better Earpiece Speaker: the iPhone 7 Plus has louder dual speakers compared to the iPhone 6s Plus which has just the mono speaker. This is great, but doesn’t have me running to AT&T just yet.

Battery Life: Will we ever be happy? The iPhone 7 has an hour longer of battery life, but the remaining battery features are pretty much similar to the iPhone 6s Plus. In fact, it seems the 6s Plus gives you more audio playback time and 3 more hours of talk time than the 7 Plus.

And Finally, the Camera: I’m a mom, which means by default I am a self-proclaimed photographer and videographer, right? How can I say no to better pictures, a better flash and improved digital zoom?

Think I’m going to have to pass on the iPhone 7 Plus. They almost had me with the camera, but I think I’ll wait for the iPhone 8 rumored to release in September if I’m going to spend $1,000. The possibility of a front 3D camera, wireless charging and a Touch ID sensor integrated into the screen are exciting if they can navigate the delays. Also, a rumored bigger battery could significantly increase the battery life features which in my opinion did not overwhelmingly improve with the iPhone 7 Plus.

If the iPhone 8 lives up to its superphone status, the wait will be worth it… gives me time to properly retire my iPhone 6s Plus friend.

 

Shellynn Finstad is the Chief Creative Officer for Apptology and Project Manager for Apptology’s Custom App Division.

Best Apple Apps and Games of 2016

best apps 2016

Apple has announced their annual list of best apps and games on the Apple App Store for 2016 and here they are.

App of the Year: Prisma

PrismApp Store Editors’ Notes: Prisma’s gorgeous pictures are almost too cool for words, but if we had to pick one to describe our 2106 iPhone App of the Year, it’s would be “sublime.” Powerful AI re-creates our photos as breathtaking images that really look hand-painted, complete with natural textures and stylish, spontaneous strokes. The only thing more fun than experimenting with the effects is showing off the results to our friends.

App of the Year Runner-Up: MSQRD

msqrdApp Store Editors’ Notes: You won’t like yourself -literally- in the outrageous selfies you can take with this fun app.  Transform your face into dozens of digital masks that blend with your features like magical special effects.  Featuring celebrities, animals, and spooky creatures, MSQRD’s hysterical filters will have the whole family laughing. Best of all, some masks animate depending on your expression.

 

Game of the Year: Clash Royale

ClashRoyaleApple Store Editors’ Notes: Colorful chaos awaits in our 2016 iPhone Game of the Year.  Supercell’s awesome card battler delivers excellent deck-building mechanics and fast-paced fights in a package that’s easy to understand and undeniably fun.  Upgrading, unlocking, and experimenting with cards gives the game endless replay-ability, and deciding just where your heroes makes each battle distinct. But no matter how good your deck is, there’s no substitute for skill and quick thinking.

 

Game of the Year Runner-Up: Reigns

reignApp Store Editors Notes: This game absolutely floored us. It seems straightforward at first — you’re a king, and you’re presented with choices about how to rule as a deck of cards.  Swipe right to choose one path, swipe left for another. But there’s so much more going on, and without spoiling anything, Reigns’ cleverness, humor, and sometimes agonizing choices routinely surprised and always delighted us.

 

 

Breakout Hit: Pokemon Go

pokemonApp Store Editors’ Notes: Once again, the world’s gone crazy for Pokemon.  This time around the lovable pocket monsters have invaded our parks, roads, even homes. We can’t stop running around the neighborhood collecting items — and capturing 3D monsters with the futuristic augmented reality makes it feel like they’re actually there.  Becoming a real-life Pokemon Trainer is as cool as it sounds, but the hook here –as always–is trying to catch ’em all.

 

 

 

 

Below is a complete list of Apple’s 10 Best Apps and Games for 2016

10 Best Apps of the Year

 

 

10 Best Games of the Year

With over a million apps in the app store I do appreciate Apple’s annual top ten list. Many of the apps, I haven’t heard of,  but I now plan to download and try out.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Apple Keynote Conference 2016: Apple Reveals iPhone 7 and Wireless Earbuds

On September 7, Apple hosted their 9th annual Keynote Conference at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Although newer versions of the iPhone and Apple Watch were shown for the first time, this year’s event was a little different. Instead of introducing state of the art innovations, Apple showed some additional features they’ve added to existing products. Moreover, these features weren’t anything extraordinary but new for Apple nonetheless.

Image Source: i.ytimg.com

Apple Music & the App Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his passion for music and the important role it has played in the brand’s development saying that they now have 17 million paid subscribers on their own Apple Music. They plan on partnering with more musicians this year as well. They announced its collaboration with Nintendo and will have classic games such as Super Mario and Battle Toads available on the App Store. Awesome! Its ‘ConnectED’ Program improved ‘iWork’ introducing real-time collaboration so users can work on numerous docs and presentations simultaneously. By doing so, Apple will now rival competing products such as the Google Chromebook and hope to gain a solid presence in productivity/educational environments.

Image Source: cdn1.tekrevue.com

iPhone 7 & the iPhone 7 Plus

The designs of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is virtually the same as their 2 previous models with one discrete addition. The iPhone 7 does not have an aux port because it only accepts wireless earbuds called ‘Airpods.’ Therefore, the lack of aux abilities is more of an exclusion than an addition. Its updated processors grant longer battery life whether at home or on the go. In addition, its internal stereo system has been improved for crisp audio playback. They’ve also made them water resistant and adjusted the home button for force sensitivity.  Last but not least, they’ve upgraded to a dual-lens camera system that enhances its already pristine picture quality. The price for the iPhone 7 is a little less at $649 in comparison to the 7 Plus at $769. Preorders will start on September 9th.

Image Source: 1reddrop

Apple Watch Series 2

The Apple Watch has updated features most beneficial for athletes and particularly swimmers. The new models are now swim-resistant, integrated swim workouts into its system and even repel water while swimming. It also has a built in GPS and comes with their new hiking app ‘View Ranger.’ Additionally, they partnered with Nike to create an exclusive Apple Watch with a cool running band design. Pokémon Go is now available for the watch as well. Lastly, its brighter display and faster processors tally it up to the asking rates of $269-$369 available September 9th for preorder.

Image Source: A Blog to Watch 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

5 Reasons Public Sector Organizations Should Have a Native Mobile App in 2016

In a previous post, I discussed why public sector organizations and non-profits should adopt a mobile strategy and briefly mentioned that they should consider developing a native mobile app. In this article, I give five reasons why a public sector organization should develop a native mobile app.

Native Mobile App Advantage #1: Deliver Mobile Friendly Content

One of the benefits of a native mobile app is that it will deliver mobile friendly content. Any information that is displayed on the organization’s website can be repurposed and added to an app so it can be easily read on a smart phone. When adding content, it’s important to remember there’s limited real estate so you need to pick content that’s most used. Content that is rarely viewed on the web site doesn’t have to be included in the app.

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Native Mobile App Advantage #2: Convenience:

Smart Phone users spend 80% of their time using apps vs. 20% of time on the web. I think a big reason is convenience. Think about it: Would you rather use the Facebook app or launch Safari to access it? If you have content on your website that is regularly accessed, you should strongly consider developing an app to make it more convenient for your users.

Native Mobile App Advantage #3: Push Notifications

One of the most powerful features that can be found on an app is the ability to send out push notifications. Push notifications have a read rate around 80%. Compare that to email which has a dismal read rate of 22%. If you think about it, if your phone vibrates, you instinctively glance down to see if it’s an important message. That’s the power of mobile which is why apps are only going to increase in popularity.
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Image Source: PUBL 

Native Mobile App Advantage #4: App Smartphone Capabilities

A native mobile app has the ability to leverage smartphone’s capabilities. For public sector organizations and non-profits, some of the things to consider include:

GPS: The ability to provide directions and show resources on a map

Push Notifications: Refer to Native Mobile App Advantage #3

Camera: A picture says a thousand words. The ability to send an image provides faster communication

Tap to Communicate: The ability to tap the screen for emails, calls, and text really facilitates communication

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Image Source: Fasturtle

Native Mobile App Advantage #5: Offline Mode

Probably the biggest advantage of an app over mobile web sites is the ability to work offline. A mobile web site needs an internet connection to function in comparison to an app that can function without Internet access. This is best for a population that either has unreliable data connection or for economic reasons cannot afford a Wi-Fi data plan.

A native app is a communication tool for their customers which if used and promoted properly can become a valuable asset to any public sector organization or non-profit.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Winners from the 2016 Apple Design Awards

As part of Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) currently being held in San Francisco, 12 talented developers were recognized as having the best designs. The Annual Apple Design Awards has been in effect for nearly 2 decades and it seems that each year gets better and better. Below are highlights of the winners. If you didn’t see Apple’s product announcements on the first day of WWDC, read that blog first to get the latest.

Exclusive Medical App: Complete Anatomy

This one of a kind anatomical app, 3D4Medical Complete Anatomy, generates quality 2K and 4K resolution displays of the human body internally and externally. Currently available on iPad, this hardware renders 3D anatomy managing the CPU and GPU to eliminate lag and offer accurate visuals for medical scholars and professionals.

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Lifestyle Management App: Streaks

Essentially a digital regimen platform, Streaks encourages its users to become more organized and develop productive habits. Complete with intelligent timing, customized complications and set notifications, this app is perfect for time and life management. Only available for iPhone and Apple Watch.

Fitness Training App: Zova

This app is for the exercise fanatic or workout wannabe complete with training instruction and crisp video. In hopes of motivating users to establish a healthy routine to stay and/or keep in shape, Zova is available for iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

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Video Creation and Critique App: Frame.io

This beautifully crafted video collab platform, Frame.io,  allows groups of people to work together and seamlessly handle the filming process. Its phenomenal visual design, motion effects, supportive auto layout and 3D touch quick actions work hand in hand with Swift while effectively facilitating Final Cut Pro X. Presently on iOS.

Writing Wizard App: Ulysses

Available for Mac, iPhone and iPad, this cutting-edge text editor, Ulysses, is in perfect alignment with demands from creative authors, students and journalists. It comes with a handful of nifty features but the most exciting are its device handoff and iCloud synching capabilities.

Engaging Videogame App: Chameleon Run

Developed by Noodlecake Studios, Chameleon Run is an eye-catching auto-running videogame that is easy to use yet difficult to put down. Compatible with 8 different languages, Chameleon run works with the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

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Classic RPG App: Lara Croft GO

Currently on iOS, Square Enix Inc., Lara Croft Go keeps the tomb raiding character alive with a modern look while maintaining some traditional elements. Utilizing Metal to render, it’s compatible with Game Center and iCloud that both offer highly responsive playability.

Truly State of the Art App: INKS

INKS is a unique app effectively blends vintage pinball with paint. It starts out as any digital pinball game would but the as the ball collides with its surroundings, explosions of hues mix with the trailing colors that follow. This gives a whole new meaning to the term “paintball.”

Music Production App: Auxy

With more than 5,000 5-star ratings, Auxy offers a high quality music creation experience completely integrated with Core Audio for its users. Written with simplistic Swift coding, Auxy’s user-friendly nature and contemporary appeal gets people composing in no time.

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Disc Junkie App: Djay Pro

Djay Pro incorporated over 70 iPad Pro Keyboard shortcuts, cloud content synching, enhanced multi-tasking abilities with even more mix/master functions via desktop. This expansive platform comes with full VoiceOver compatibility.

Puzzle Processing App: Linum

Linum’s smooth UI allows users to quite literally connect the dots through an engaging layout while gradually increasing its level of difficulty. Moreover, it effectively uses standard system technologies such as StoreKit and CoreData.

Retro Arcade App: Dividr

This 2D arcade game makes players guide illuminated squares around obstacles while racking up points in the process. With such a simple concept, Dividr is actually very intriguing.

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By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Image Sources: Digital Trends 

Announcements from Apple’s WWDC Keynote 2016

Image Source: Mac Rumors

On June 13th 2016, Apple’s first day of its annual WWDC Keynote Conference  was held in San Francisco, CA making some new and exciting announcements to its four pillars: watchOS (Apple Watch), tvOS (Apple TV), OS X (macOS), and iOS (iPhone/iPads). The event will continue until the 17th of June. Most of these items and updates will launch during Fall of this year.

watchOS 3 Updates

-Upgraded app downloads for optimized performance

-Dock interface that allows users to easily manage multiple apps that are open

-New and improved faces for watch

-Face exchange allowing users to cycle between watch faces based on preference

-New “Scribble” function allowing easy fingertip swiping

-Advanced support for wheelchair users

Image Source: Gadgets Global

tvOS Updates

-“Single Sign in” eliminates having to manually login to each AppleTV app

-“Dark Mode” for night owls or those that prefer a dim looking screen

-Automatically downloads associated AppleTV app after downloading iPhone video app

-Advanced “Siri Voice” search capabilities

Image Source: multimedia.bbycastatic

iPhone Updates

-iPhone now has remote control capabilities

-Emulates touchpad letting users to easily manage AppleTV’s Interface

-Utilize iPhone’s keyboard on AppleTV

-Gyroscope now can be used as a game controller

-Advanced lock screen and 3D touch support; “deep press” for more app details and simply move body away from phone to lock

-Automatic voicemail transcriptions

iPhone Updates

-New “Swift Playgrounds” allows users to get their feet wet in coding by offering how-tos, tutorials, and user-friendly lectures for the building blocks of app development

Image Source: 9to5mac

OS X Updates

-Rebranding OS X to simply macOS  (first name change in over a decade)

-Upcoming OS will be called macOS Sierra

-Auto-unlocking capabilities; Sierra can detect when you’re next to it by identifying your iPhone or watchOS

-copy and paste between any device; copy something from iPhone and paste into Sierra

-Advanced storage space reduction capabilities; removes temp files, old mail, etc. while auto-downloading when needed

Apple Pay integration allowing complete secure and anonymous transactions with fingerprint authentication

Picture in Picture (PIP) allowing seamless window management; watch YouTube while working without taking up space on screen

-Advanced “Siri Voice” capabilities; from generic to complex queries

-Debut of iOS 10; Craig Federighi said it will be “the biggest iOS release for users ever”

Image Source: CultofMac

Widget Updates

-Access an app’s widgets by 3D touching its icon

Siri Voice Updates

-Integrates Siri Voice for 3rd party apps

QuickType Updates

-If someone asks via SMS, “What will the weather be like this week?” QuickType will conduct an automated search and provide an accurate response

VoIP Updates

-Skype and WhatsApp will now be integrated eliminating outdated notifications when people call

Map Updates

-Maps will now have the ability to access your schedule and whereabouts to provide accurate directions

“Extensions” enabling users to integrate 3rd party apps to easily call Uber for example

Image Source: SearchEngineLand

Apple Music Updates

-Better appearance and easier navigation capabilities

HomeKit Updates

-The standard app for smart home/IoT devices now has features such as “Night Mode” that automatically locks your doors and dims the lights

iMessage Updates

-Online previews of links rather than an ugly url code

-Auto-emoji matching with text; type in “happy” and a correlating emoji will pop up

-Invisible ink; messages that will only appear when you allow via swipe

-3rd party access; allowing developers to incorporate their use into messages. For example, pay a recipient within messages via Square Cash

 

If you do decide to use “Swift Playgrounds” to develop your own mobile app, check out the 5 challenges commonly experienced by a modern appreneur to stay ahead of the curve. We don’t know about you, but we are excited for Fall to experience Apple’s new products firsthand. Check out Apple’s official website for more information and ordering process!

 

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Google Cardboard: The Best Mobile Apps of 2016

Google Cardboard

What’s Google Cardboard?

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Google Cardboard, it’s worth taking a look. For those who don’t know, Google Cardboard is a virtual reality platform that utilizes a cardboard head mount where you can  attach your smartphone.  It was designed to be a low cost virtual reality system with headsets that cost as little as $1.99.  In comparison, an Oculus Rift head set will cost around $1,000.  Moreover, developers can create their own applications using the Cardboard SDK.

Virtual Reality: You Have to See it to Understand

In his TEDx Talk, Chris Milk stated “Talking about virtual reality is like dancing about architecture.”  You have to see it to understand it.  To give it a try, you’ll need to purchase a cardboard headset.  Official Google Cardboard viewers can be purchased here.  They range from $15 to $120. On Amazon, you can find it as low a $1.99. If you’re lucky,  I’ve seen them given away as SWAG at startup conferences.

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Image Source: Digital Trends 

When you peep through its lenses, you experience a world generated via mobile app with the ability of displaying landscapes, film, video games and other multimedia formats. The Google Play Store offers a plethora of apps to choose from and is compatible with iPhone and Android devices.

After you’ve get your Google Cardboard headset, here are the best mobile apps that you can try:

iPhone Mobile Apps

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Image Source: VR Island Screenshot

Android Mobile Apps

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Image Source: Deep Space Battle Screenshot

With developers having access to the Google Cardboard SDK,  It will be interesting to see what innovative uses of Google Cardboard arises. If you still have your doubts about mobile apps, check out why the public sector needs a mobile strategy and how this could relate to the next generation of VR applications!

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

5 Challenges of a Startup Appreneur in 2016

Source: http://www.kic-innoenergy.com/

The new millennium has opened up the market for mobile application development transforming entrepreneurs into appreneurs. In the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of Billion Dollar App Companies such as Uber and Airbnb. Setting sail on your very own appreneurship comes with challenges exclusive to the tech community. If you’re thinking about launching a startup or developing your very own mobile app, here are some common challenges to be aware of.

 App Development Challenge 1: The Need for Speed

A typical theme is the demand for having things not now, but yesterday. The demand for faster and more efficient solutions will only increase as time moves forward. As such, there’s an advantage to being being quick and beating your competitors to the punch.  If you streamline your product and cut down on features by focusing on developing a Minimum Viable Product, you’ll find a swifter time to market.

App Development Challenge 2: The Need for Cross platform and Backend Development

An app based startup up must realistically develop apps for both Android and iOS devices (which make up 98% of the smartphone market). In addition to developing an app, typically it needs to have a cloud-based backend to support it. It’s rare for one developer to be proficient at all so you typically need a team of developers.

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Image Source: unpauseasia

App Development Challenge 3: Focus on Design and Usability

The simple truth is that your app needs to be visually attractive.  If it ain’t people won’t download it. After they’ve downloaded it, it has to be intuitive and user friendly. If it ain’t, it won’t be used again.  Before your team starts coding, nail the user interface.

App Development Challenge 4: Nail it then Scale it.

One of the things that an apprenuers needs to do is a plan to grow their business. I’ve seen many startups fail because they didn’t have a growth plan. My suggestion is to focus on growing your concept in a certain geography. Once you figured out a successful formula, you can attack other geographies. This is how Uber, Facebook, and Airbnb grew their businesses.

mobile-cash

Image Source: CapitalFM

App Development Challenge 5: Cash is King

Cash is the oxygen for any business. Not enough and it dies. Typically, I see appreneurs bootstrapping (and working day jobs) while working on their MVP. Once the product goes live, it’s a race between burn rate and generating revenue and it’s game over when the cash runs out. This is where you need a CFO that will help you navigate expenses, revenue and fund raising.

 

Being an appreneur isn’t for everyone but with a lot of fortitude, courage and a good dose of luck, your startup has the potential of being the next Uber. By recognizing these challenges, build a team with the proper skills and strengths. Also if you have an app already in the works and are looking for stakeholders, check out 4 tips how to not scare away investors. Believe me, we see it happen all the time.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.