This week, Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference 2014 (WWDC 2014) is taking place in San Francisco and it’s been an exciting event so far. During Monday’s keynote session, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, and Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, shared a number of exciting new features and enhancements that will be made available to the public later this year as part of Apple’s iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite releases.
The beta version of iOS 8 was made available to developers yesterday and needless to say, our iOS engineers are now like kids in a candy store. In spite of all the fun they’re having, our technical team is hard at work taking initial steps to ensure our solutions are compatible with iOS 8 (and Xcode 6), while also looking for ways to leverage the new functionalities to enhance our products.
There are a several iOS 8 updates that open new opportunities for mobile event apps and event industry professionals. Here are 7 that we see as the standouts:
One exciting theme from WWDC 2014 was based around Continuity. It’s the ability to have all your Apple devices work seamlessly together. Busy meeting professionals and event attendees that work with Apple products and technologies will be able to leverage these capabilities to increase productivity. Some time saving features include:
- Handoff synchronizes work across iOS device so you can start tasks (i.e. drafting an email, updating a file, etc.) on your iPhone and finish it on your Mac.
- Airdrop is improved, giving you the ability to finally share files between mobile devices and Macs.
- Instant Hotspots allow Macs running OS X Yosemite to easily detect your iPhone and tether to create a WiFi hotspot with a few simple steps.
- Send/receive phone calls or access SMS and iMessage on any of your Apple devices – yes, even your Mac!
- You will be able to interact with any iMessages directly from the Notification view, even if your phone is still locked.
- iCloud Drive will allow users to store and synchronize files across all Apple devices (and Windows via the web) with universal access from Finder
2. Notifications and widgets
iOS 8 will give developers the ability to add 3rd party widgets to the Notification Center. This opens up the ability to conveniently populate event app content and functionality directly into this hub. Attendees will be able to see schedule information, important announcements, unread messages, meeting invites, and more, without having to open the app first.
Another exciting new addition is the ability for apps to now talk to one another. Extensions allow different apps to move and share information and functionality amongst themselves. For example, app developers could make Instagram or VSCO Cam photo filters available within the Photo app (or perhaps even directly in a mobile event app). Extensions could also enable functionality such as automatic posting of content to social sharing sites and your event app.
4. Touch ID authentication with 3rd party apps
This update will add another level of security to your event apps. Apple’s biometric (fingerprint) authentication system offers the ability to protect your event app and any confidential information contained within by requiring an authorized fingerprint from the app user before it will open.
For app developers, perhaps the most exciting of all the announcements from WWDC 2014 is the introduction of a new programming language called Swift. It’s supposedly much faster and easier to learn than the Objective-C programming language iOS developers are using today. Knowing this, we can see the mobile event app development process becoming easier, quicker and more efficient.
6. Enterprise features
Along with a Device Enrollment Program, iOS 8 promises to deliver enterprise level security (expanded data protection for Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages, Notes, Reminders) and management features. This is definitely good news especially to any enterprise meeting planners.
Apple’s store will allow developers to include a video preview of their app at the time of submission in addition to screenshots. This will be a great way to help promote your event apps and engage attendees at the time of what is likely their first interaction with your app.
Apple’s upcoming Fall 2014 release for iOS 8 will open up a number of new opportunities to deliver enhanced event app solutions and increase event manager productivity. We’ll continue to share our findings as we learn more about iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.