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.

iOS 10 from a Developer’s Perspective

ios10 Apptology

Apple will be pushing out iOS 10 this Tuesday, September 13, 2016.  As usual, Apple is declaring that this will be the biggest update ever…but I think they say that about every release.  With that said, there a few interesting updates on iOS 10 from a developer’s perspective.

Apple’s iMessage as a Platform

The focus on iOS 10 seems to be Apple’s iMessage App which according to Apple is the most used app on the iPhone.  Apple is actually creating an App Store just for the iMessage App which essentially makes it a platform.  Apple has already released 4 iMessages app ahead of the release of iOS 10.   I see this as play to make iMessage more competitive against WhatsApp and Facebook messenger.  It will be interesting what applications that third party developers will come up with and the different use cases that will be developed.

Siri Open to Developers

As a developer, when of the interesting a new feature is that Apple is allowing Siri to be used in the development of apps.  We’ve already seen a couple of request for apps to be developed that will leverage Siri’s voice recognition software.

Ability to Remove Apple Built in Apps

The surprising announcement with iOS 10 is that Apple is allowing the user to delete built in apps that come with the iPhone including iBooks, Maps, and FaceTime.  The full list of built in apps can be found here.   This is interesting for developers because if they have developed an app that competes with one of Apple’s built in apps, the user has the ability to delete Apple’s own competing app.  I’ve looked over the iOS 10 developer’s documentation and what it doesn’t state is if you can make a competing app the default function.  For example, if delete Apple’s Map App, and tap on directions in Yelp, will it launch Waze?

3D Touch

Apple launched 3D Touch in iOS 9 which works with iPhone 6s and above.  With iOS 10, Apple is allowing 3D Touch support for third party applications.

In closing, I can’t really say if this the hype from Apple that this is the biggest release ever, but from a developer’s standpoint, it’s pretty interesting and gives us more tools to be innovative.

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.

Equity Crowdfunding: A New Funding Source for Startups

Spend a little time in the startup world and you’ll quickly become familiar with crowdfunding, from consumer platforms like Kickstarter or Indigogo to the new equity crowdfunding models. Launching a crowdfunding campaign is becoming a great way for startups to gain exposure while generating financial support for their project – and in the same time, validating it.

So how does it work? Supporters that contribute funds for a startup’s cause, known as “backers,” generally receive an item in return, whether a token of the startup’s appreciation or an early version of the product.

For a famous example, consider the Oculus Rift. In 2012, Oculus Rift ran a KickStarter campaignthat raised $2.4 million. Contributors received everything from T-shirts to a prototype kit. Just four years later, Oculus Rift was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion. If this was an equity situation, investors would have received a 145x return. And that’s where equity crowdfunding comes in

Image Source: Edison Awards 

Over 3 years ago now, the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) compiled the JOBS Act laying the foundation for investment opportunities in the 21st century. Title III of this bill had language geared towards equity crowdfunding but lacked clarity until earlier in July. Of course hundreds of pages of legal jargon isn’t something me and you would enjoy “clarifying” per se, so let’s overview some of the most exciting provisions of this bill.

Startups Can Raise $1 Million Max Per Year; But There’s a Catch

“Only $1 million?! Really?!” If you were one of the individuals hoping that the SEC would increase the maximum higher than $1 mill, Title III does not allow such terms. However, Title IV (Regulation A+) of the JOBS Act mentions that startups have the opportunity to raise up to $50 million by holding a mini Initial Public Offering (IPO) for their campaign.

Image Source: CDN1

Accredited Investor? I Think Not!

Over the past couple of years, there has been debate over who can partake in equity crowdfunding. At first, if you weren’t an accredited investor, you were not eligible to contribute towards an equity crowdfunding campaign. In order to fall into this category, you had to make at least $200,000 per year and have a working networth of a minimum of $1 million. This requirement greatly limited investor access considering less than 3% of American citizens are presently considered accredited. The JOBS Act eliminates this criteria so now anyone can contribute regardless of their annual income. However, there are still limits to how much a backer can contribute.

Crowd Limitations

The SEC actually tightened the limits allowed for contributors to invest. According to the codes, investors are limited to, “(a) the greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of the lesser of their annual income or net worth, if either the annual income or the net worth of the investor is less than $100,000 and (b) 10 percent of the lesser of their annual income or net worth, if both the annual income and net worth of the investor is equal to or more than $100,000.” In other words, the ceiling stops at $100k for individual investment.

Equity Crowdfunding is Affordable for Startups

One of the biggest concerns was a past proposal requiring startups to conduct a full financial audit before launching a campaign. Of course this would cost tens of thousands of dollars that could be better channeled towards more important business expenses. Fortunately, the SEC agreed that this proposed requirement was a little excessive and not realistic for many emerging startups. They rejected this provision and replaced it with much more reasonable provisions. If a startup using equity crowdfunding wants to raise more than $100,000, financial review records are required. In addition, if a company’s end goal is less than $100,000 they have even fewer financial requirements.

Startup Responsibilities

With great opportunity comes great responsibility so please don’t cut corners on what’s required with equity crowdfunding. Startups have to disclose all of the campaign’s information from start to finish. This includes security values, the target amount, target deadline, and other important variables. The SEC needs to stay in the loop at all times so there will be a lot of logistics, business descriptions, employee profiles and other assignments that entrepreneurs will have to complete. Most importantly, equity crowdfunding is the sale of securities and these laws vary by region. You want to assure that you have crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s on all of the state and federal requirements for the sale of securities. If not, it is possible to be charged for violating a required financial mandate. And believe me, that’s no fun. Your best bet is to educate yourself and your team on what’s required on a state and federal level to avoid any complications.

The JOBs act has become law as of May 2016.   I expect to see a surge of crowd funding platforms to emerge in the near future. Indiegogo has announced that they will develop an equity crowdfunding service.  The Startup Hour is planning a Shark Tank like television show that will allow the audience to vote on featured startups with their dollars and receive equity in return.  For startups, equity crowdfunding will be another great resource to raise funds.

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.

complete-anatomy2-720x720

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.

zova-720x720

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.

chameleon-run-720x720

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.

auxy-720x720

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.

dividr-720x720

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.

Apple’s Best App and Game of 2014

Article cover image

Here are Apple choices for Best App and Game for 2014 and the Runner Ups

Best App of 2014

Elevate – Brain Training

Elevate is a brain training program designed to improve focus, speaking skills, processing speed, memory, math skills, and more. Each person is provided with his or her own personalized training program that adjusts over time to maximize results.

Runner Up

Hyperlapse from Instagram

Create amazing time lapse videos with Hyperlapse. Using Instagram’s in-house stabilization, Hyperlapse shoots polished time lapse videos that were previously impossible without bulky tripods and expensive equipment.

Best Game of 2014

Threes!

Threes is a tiny puzzle that grows on you. Explore our little game’s deep challenge and grow your mind beyond imagination. Threes grows with you and you’ll grow with Threes. Optimized for iOS8 and human brains. Universal app for iPhone and iPads.

Runner Up

Leo’s Fortune

Leo’s Fortune is a platform adventure game where you hunt down the cunning and mysterious thief that stole your gold. Beautifully hand-crafted levels bring the story of Leo to life in this epic adventure.

iPhone 6 and Apple Pay and Apple Watch, Oh My!

If you missed Apple’s live stream for their big announcement, consider yourself lucky. The live stream was a disaster on many levels. I hope in the future, Apple replaces or supplements the live stream with a television broadcast. As a public service, here’s the Cliff Notes which covers their three major announcements:

  1. The unveiling of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: As expected, it’s bigger. The iPhone 6 is bigger than the iPhone 5 family (Diagonal measurement of 4.0 vs. 4.7 inches). The iPhone 6 plus comes in at a whopping 5.5 inches providing them with their first phablet model. It comes with all the standard stuff: faster processor, higher resolution, etc. yawn. Unfortunately, they only marginally made the battery life longer compared to the iPhone 5s. For you Apple Fan Boys out there, it’s not too late to stand in line at the Apple Store; the iPhone 6 goes on sale on September 19.
  2. I think the most significant announcement was that of Apple Pay. Apple Pay will allow users to store their credit cards on their iPhone 6 by taking a picture of it. There’s a secure storage feature and it uses a finger print for authentication. The iPhone 6 will support NFC which will allow for the phone to communicate with a credit card reader. The devil’s in the details so, I’m curious to find out more when it rolls out in October.
  3. Apple finally unveiled the long awaited iWatch…I mean Apple Watch. I give Apple credit, it’s beautiful. On the back of the watch there are four sensors that are able to monitor the user’s pulse so it can be used as a health monitoring wearable. Apple Watch is expected to be released in “Early 2015.” As such, I will reserve judgment on it until I can see it first-hand. It’s been over a decade since I last wore a watch (mainly because I used my cell phone for telling the time). I’m not sure if the coolness of Apple Watch will convince me to start wearing one again.

So despite Apple’s live stream issues, they had a lot of cool things to tout today. In the next few months when Apple releases their new products, it will be interesting to see what new use cases are developed.

 

Quick Summary of iOS 8 Enhancements

ios8

If you didn’t have a chance to view the WWDC Live Stream, Apple unveiled iOS 8 and OS 10.10 (Yosemite).  Since we’re focused on mobile apps, I’m highlighting the upcoming iOS 8 features which is expected to roll out in the fall.

HealthThis collects information from different health apps and creates one dashboard.  This seems similar to their  Passbook App.

Homekit:  This is standard for common protocol that can be used for controlling external devices in the home.

Extensibility:  Allows apps to share functionality with other apps.

Family Sharing:  Allows for 6 family members to share  their purchases on iTunes.

Photos:  Improved sharing of photos across devices along with a new cloud base storage model.

iMessage :  Improved messaging to make it more competitive to services like WhatsApp

Interactive Notifications :  Allows users to respond to messages directly from the notification banner

QuickType :  Introduces Predictive Text where keyboard is able to learn your writing style and offer suggestions (can’t wait to see how this compares to auto correct).

iCloud :  More robust iCloud to take on Dropbox and Google Drive

Greater Connectivity within Apple Devices:  Greater sync between apple devices (iPhone, iPads, and Mac) in conjunction with Yosemite.

Spotlight:  New search tool that takes location and context into account.

Enhanced SDK:  Apple touts this as the biggest release for developers.  There’s actually a lot of stuff here and we’re still digesting it.  I’ll talk about this in a future blog.

Enterprise Enhancements:  Apple introduced several Enterprise enhancements specifically towards security, productivity, and enhancements.

In future blogs, we will dig deeper into iOS 8 upgrades.