It’s been an exciting year for those who crave Apple news. The unveiling of OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 means we’re no longer speculating about the tech company’s vision, or our own, when it comes to mobile development, wearables or consumer behaviors. Our Labs dived in to see how a few of these updates would change the products we make.
Imagine if with just your phone you could travel with all of your medical records. Every doctor visit…ever. Your vaccination records. Your labs results. Your list of allergies. All the medications and doses you’ve ever been on, for how long, and why. Your heart rate and blood pressure measurements from every doctor visit you’ve ever made.
What if all of this was kept securely in the cloud, with instant access through your phone? What if, with Touch ID, you could grant access to this wealth of data to any new physician/system, with a single tap of your finger?
With HealthKit and the new Health App, this idea is now a reality. These features, when connected to other wearable devices, not only provide storage of health information, but allow for always-on health monitoring. This could help prevent serious health issues before they happen.
CarPlay is Apple’s latest foray into the blending worlds of automobiles, entertainment and communication systems. Think of CarPlay as Apple’s version of AirPlay for cars, using the familiar iOS experience and app icons on a car’s own in-dash entertainment system. The current state of OEM in-dash entertainment systems is a mix of different user experiences, confusing buttons and tech that is out-of-date months, if not weeks, after the vehicle is purchased.
CarPlay allows a user to plug in their iPhone 5 (and newer models) and use their current car’s in-dash entertainment system to access popular Apple Apps such as Maps, Messages, Music and a host of 3rd party apps like iHeart Radio and MLB At Bat. Apple’s user experience is far superior and more familiar to drivers, requiring less fumbling with buttons and options and more time to concentrate on the road. The opportunity to switch vehicles and take the familiar interface, apps and music from car to car is a benefit on its own. This, coupled with the continuous updates that come with a connected mobile device, gives consumers a personalized automobile entertainment system within reach at all times.
There’s no doubt the world of wearable technology is here and will only continue to grow. Already, there are wearable cameras, smart glasses, activity trackers, smart clothing, smart watches and more. In fact, Business Insider estimated this year that the value of the wearables market would rise from $2.5 billion last year to $12.6 billion in 2018. So when Apple announced the Apple Watch, we were excited to see how these pioneers would change the wearable landscape.
So far, not very much.
Admittedly, we’re not the industry experts in wearable technology, but we are savvy tech consumers. And as such, we’re still unable to find a compelling reason why smart watches are an awesome and necessary addition to our lives. Maybe awesome- just not necessary. We’re not seeing anything inherently revolutionary about them. The functions offered may make things quicker and easier, just because it’s handy (pun intended), but no part of it is actually new in and of itself. Good news is we’ve only got another 350 years until Star Trek communicators should come out.
SceneKit & SpriteKit
It wasn’t long ago that we launched a mobile game for a national client using Unity, a rendering engine that supports rapid workflows and interactive 3D and 2D content. However, SceneKit and SpriteKit can do pretty much the same, arguably faster and easier if you’re devoted to making games for iOS.
SceneKit is a framework in which you can animate 3D scenes and effects. SpriteKit is dedicated to 2D. Where Unity offers a devoted community and cross-platform support, Apple provides an intuitive API — you can create simple prototypes in a jiffy. Which tool you decide to go with will ultimately depend on your game genre and your audience.