Category Archives: Mobile App Development

iOS 14 – New Features & Observations

By on July 27, 2020 | iOS, Mobile App Development | No Comments
Apple recently announced at this year’s WWDC (World-Wide Developers Conference) the iOS 14 beta, which is due to be released to the public sometime in September 2020. While there are dozens of updates that mobile app users will enjoy, we are particularly focused on the updated development tools and the new app features and enhancements that can deliver value to our client’s mobile applications and their end users. The new features in iOS 14 that have us excited are: App Widgets, App Clips, and the upcoming Privacy Updates.
iOS 14 Feature Summary


App Clips

With App Clips, Apple has created a fast way to link users to a rich application experience that works like a standard web link. So instead of directing users to the app store to download, install and load your app (which can be time consuming), users can bring up the lightweight feature immediately and quickly perform a key app function. 
ios 14 app clips
Apple offered a few examples of the functionality that this new tool could be perfect for, including “A museum could have visitors scan visual codes on labels next to displayed works to launch an app clip that reveals augmented reality content or provides audio commentary” or “A rental bike could come with an NFC tag that people scan to launch an app clip that lets them rent the bike.”

Other examples might be: Adding yourself to a reservation wait list or checking yourself in upon arrival for a restaurant/retail app, perform a quick pay action using Apple Pay, credit card or even loyalty points, or accessing pushed content that shows up as an alert.

App Clips are launchable directly by scanning a QR Code or NFC tags, and easily integrated with Apple Pay.  We expect to see a lot of real world integrations to take advantage of app clips and are excited to see how our clients will put them to use.
App Clips Overview
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App Widgets
ios 14 app widgets
While Android devices have been able to use widgets on their mobile phones for years, iPhone and iPad users join the party with iOS 14. This feature has us the most excited for our clients as the possibilities are truly endless to offer bite size content to users without requiring them to fully open the application. Think of these as dynamic app icons, in 3 different available sizes on your home screen.

For example: weather apps can now show the current temperature, a loyalty/rewards app can show your available points and membership status, a health app can show the calories burned for the day, your smart car app can show you whether or not your doors are locked or the battery charge level….all while avoiding the delay and clicks needed to launch the app and navigate to the desired information.

Beyond simply displaying data, app widgets can be a very useful tool to encourage re-engagement with your application. A game or health-club app can show you your current spot on the leaderboards, a news-reader app can tease new content, or a loyalty app can show the “deal of the day” and indicate today is a double rewards points day.
App Widgets Overview

App Privacy Updates

With rumors of mobile applications “spying” on users, Apple has released privacy updates to give users more control and visibility if/when their personal data is collected. This will include requirements for posting privacy practices in the app stores and updates to key features.
ios 14 privacy declarations
Approximate Location Permissions

Prior to iOS 14 an app could request “When in Use” or “Always On” location permissions. Once granted an app could monitor the location of a user down to 1 meter in accuracy. Now users will be able to deny app developers their precise location. Instead, you can grant an approximate location for the user. If your application requires accurate location data (for mileage capture, or presenting nearby locations or services) this could cause issues with the functionality of your app and we recommend investigating and testing your application to get ahead of this change.

Microphone and Camera Indicators

Once released, Apple will give you clear visible notifications when the camera or microphone are capturing data. When your phone’s mic is on, an orange dot appears on the top right side of the screen. The dot shows up green when an app is using your camera.  While we hope or expect that your app isn’t capturing sound or video without your user’s knowledge, this upcoming change is a reminder to confirm your app isn’t recording your user’s actions in this manner.

App Tracking Transparency Permissions

Apple is now making it more difficult to associate data collected within one app, across multiple websites or other mobile applications. While we don’t anticipate this affecting our clients directly, we expect to continue monitoring this feature, as many common Analytics and Advertising SDKs may run afoul of Apple’s new guidelines and restrictions, even if the App is not using those built in features directly. We anticipate the Google Analytics SDK and the Facebook SDK will likely need to be updated in your apps to avoid your users being prompted that they are being tracked.
App Privacy Overview

How to Prepare Your Application for a Stellar Launch

By on August 14, 2018 | Mobile App Development | No Comments

Designers man drawing website ux app development. User experience concept.The Uber you know now was not built in a day. The family of apps that enable easy ridesharing, food delivery, and even matching transportation carriers with shippers started as a simple app for people in San Francisco to request black car service using their phone. How did a sharing economy app grow to provide such diverse services on a near global scale? By establishing a focused product vision and business strategy from the outset. A clear business strategy coupled with a solid application architecture enables businesses to establish a loyal user base, monetize their application, direct their investments, and scale their vision in the future. To better guide your process, here are some of the considerations to keep in mind during the discovery and design phases of your mobile application.
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Native App, Cross Platform App, or Mobile Responsive Website?

By on July 18, 2018 | Mobile App Development | No Comments

Unless you get a glimpse behind the scenes, it’s easy to assume mobile apps are all developed the same way. However, there are many different approaches, technologies, and techniques that can be used to build an app. In fact, the three main types – native apps, cross platform apps, and mobile responsive websites – all sport their own advantages and disadvantages. What’s important is determining early in the discovery and design phase which app development approach is right for your goals. Here’s our quick and easy guide to the pros and cons of each development type. Read More

Mobile Apps Increase Business for Direct Sales Companies

By on June 12, 2018 | Mobile App Development, Sales | No Comments

Mobile Apps Increase Business for Direct Sales CompaniesTiming is everything in sales. What better way to improve your timing than to pitch your products when customers are relaxed and receptive? Direct Sales companies take that idea to heart by bringing products (anything from kitchen supplies and cosmetics to wine and toys) into the target customers’ homes to demonstrate what they can do. When the right conditions align and customers are in a buying mood, direct sales associates can fast-track purchase decisions. Delay the process, and customers are more likely to get cold feet. Why risk that – especially when a mobile app can increase your odds of closing the deal? Read More

Want to Be the Next Uber? Develop Your Own Sharing Economy App

By on May 30, 2018 | Mobile App Development | No Comments

Develop Your Own Sharing Economy AppUber may have pioneered modern peer-to-peer transactions, but it is far from the final word on the sharing economy – especially when it comes to mobile apps. In reality, any industry that fails to address its inefficiencies or inflated costs is waiting for an upstart to begin developing a business application that will disrupt them. What’s stopping you from launching the next Uber? For entrepreneurs and startups asking that very question, here are some key considerations to take your on-demand business model through the discovery and design phase and beyond. Read More

GDPR Impact to Mobile Apps

By on May 9, 2018 | Mobile App Development | No Comments

Could your business be subject to $23 million in fines pertaining to the new European Union (EU) GDPR regulations taking effect this month?

If you have a mobile app that is not compliant with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) by May 25th, 2018, you risk hefty fines for being in violation of this complex data protection and privacy law. In a nutshell, the GDPR is designed to give EU citizens more control over their personal data while also providing businesses with clear guidelines about data gathering, management, and security. However, the regulation is nuanced, and businesses can suffer financial repercussions even if they believe they are in the clear. Read More

Paid, In-App Purchase, or Subscriptions: Your Guide to App Monetization Strategies

By on April 10, 2018 | Mobile App Development | No Comments

app monetization strategiesHow will you create cash flow from your mobile app? The logistics of your revenue generation model need to be outlined from the outset. Anticipated features, functionality, and your target audience can in many cases guide you to the right app monetization model – but you need to think through your app’s revenue potential early in the discovery and design phases. Here are three common app monetization strategies that can get your revenue generation off on the right foot.  Read More

Ignoring Mobile Re-Engagement: Why Many Apps Fail

By on March 19, 2018 | Mobile App Development | No Comments

mobile re engagementApp development is a labor of love. Hundreds of hours go into defining the concept, outlining the features, designing the interface, writing code, beta testing, and releasing the app to end users. After all that work, it would be a shame if your idea becomes a one-use wonder. Unfortunately, that’s not far from what happens to a majority of mobile apps. The harsh reality is that fewer than 38% of users launch an application 11 times or more. Users will readily download an application, (it’s next to no commitment on their part) but they require routine reminders and incentivization to remain active. Unless your final product factors mobile re-engagement into the custom app development strategy, many users will act like balloons cut adrift, never to return again. Here are two key strategies that can help retain your audience after download and keep them engaged. Read More

4 Questions You Need to Ask Before Developing a Business Application

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developing a business applicationMobile apps are the modern gold rush. Just about every entrepreneur or company has an idea for how they can become (or transform into) the next Uber or Yelp, but not everyone ends up making a mint developing a mobile app. What separates successful apps from failed attempts? As unsexy as it sounds, it comes down to asking (and answering) some key questions during the discovery and design process. Here are four questions that need to be answered before a business should begin work on a custom mobile app.
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Big Time Changes Coming to the Apple App Store

By on June 10, 2016 | iOS, Mobile App Development, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you happen to be launching new apps or updating apps in the Apple App Store on a daily basis like we are, you may have noticed a significant improvement in App Store Review Times over the past few months.  Reviews that used to take a week or two are now down to a couple of days!  Well, apparently this is not a random anomaly.  Rather, it is part of Apple’s intentional goals to further enhance the App Store experience for developers.  And it’s not just tactical review times that are improving…

Apple is also expected to roll out much broader and more comprehensive improvements to the App Store including a new subscription model to incentivize a recurring revenue business model and also the introduction of paid search ads within the App Store. It appears that Apple’s goal is to allow app developers to generate more revenue while creating greater value to the Apple platform so Apple can further monetize the gigantic installed base. Industry analysts are estimating that App Store revenues may double within three years if subscriptions increase as part of the mix.

While some subscription-based apps already exist, the Subscription Based Model is not currently available on all app categories.   In fact, as it stands today, app revenues are dominated by one-time purchases and only a few type of apps (news, dating, audio streaming) can offer users subscription pricing.  Further, developers who are able to keep a subscriber for more than a year will see their share of subscription revenue increase from 70% to 85% in year 2, which will create a significant multiplying effect over time and will surely be celebrated by many an app owner.  

App Store Paid Search also has the potential to have a material financial impact for Apple and open a realm of new possibilities for app developers.  For context, last year paid search in the US alone added up to more than $29 Billion (across desktop and mobile) with Google taking the lion’s share.  With so many captive App Store users, App Store Paid Search will surely be a financially boon for Apple while also giving developers the ability to pay to have their apps show up at the top of the result list when users search on certain keywords, which almost certainly will allow them to directly impact download volumes.  A play out of Google’s playbook or a step in the right direction toward improving Apple’s App Store discovery challenge?  For sure!  A win-win all the way around?  You bet.

Stay tuned for forthcoming details from Apple over the coming months.  Hopefully, we will get more scoop at the Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) next week.

In the meantime, if you are currently contemplating the app subscription model for your app, let us know if we can help.

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