As users, we are reminded all too regularly about the newest iterations from Apple, with each update more trailblazing than the last. Developers get excited about the same announcements, and these iOS changes can mark some very exciting advancements in design and development. Launched in the final quarter of 2020 is iOS14, and today we are going to look at what this means for designers and what new app development trends we can expect to see as a result of these changes.
Home screen widgets
The new home screen widgets are probably the most visual change in the iOS14 update, and it presents an opportunity for app developers to communicate their offering more meaningfully, more often. The home screen widgets are much larger than those smaller app squares we are used to, providing an ‘at a glance’ snapshot of what’s inside the app. This means users can see a couple of news headlines without opening the news app, the steps they have walked that day without seeking that information, and potential weather changes up ahead. App developers should be very excited about the potential to have their apps presented as an ‘always on’ display and front of mind to the user.
Flexibility around calls
It never fails to startle us when we are in the middle of an article, game or chore and someone starts calling you and consumes the entire screen. With the iOS14 changes, these call notifications will present like a banner, allowing you to pick up or proceed with what you are doing so your voicemail can collect that message. There will also be the freedom to use your phone while watching a video or making a FaceTime call, which can be invaluable if that call is work-related and requires attention in another app at the same time. It will be interesting to see how app developers design their apps if they are anticipating a video or call to be present on the top right corner of the screen, as apps that are less flexible to this change might not be used in tandem.
New memojis and mentions
Memojis are not going anywhere, in fact, they are growing and developing exponentially to be more inclusive to different races and religions. Face coverings, headscarves and a more uniquely personal presentation of the iOS14 user should encourage uptake globally which might see more app developers incorporating memojis and emoji updates in their apps for personal integration. This change also supports the ‘pinned message’ feature which allows users to pin nine message chats (either group or individuals) at the top of the Message app with group pictures and memojis encouraged. You will also be able to mention people as you can with Facebook Messenger which alerts another notification.
More than Maps
Apple Maps was already meeting the mark, but this iOS14 update will see Apple Maps becoming more immersive than ever before. Maps will now feature a Guides element where users can see what local attractions and experiences are nearby and recommended by others. Airbnb has a similar function, but with the high usage of Maps for Apple users, this could be a fantastic way for businesses and areas to become a little more 3-dimensional and visible. Guides also show users where they can find walking and bike tracks, and so there might be an option to sync this with other fitness tracker apps so all activity is logged seamlessly. Developers are also waiting to see whether this new Maps product will also link to booking platforms and apps should the local attractions found in Guides require it.
These are the most anticipated updates of the iOS14 update, and there will no doubt be many more that will give app developers great inspiration in capitalising on new opportunities. We would love to hear which update you have loved the most, so get in touch!