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07Nov2013

Challenges and opportunities that iOS 7 presents to developers

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As of September 18, the long awaited iOS 7 has been available for download to iPhone and iPad users. Many were stunned with the magnitude of changes that are to be found in the new Apple’s operating system, from the user interface design and the overall user experience. For developers this means that textures, colors, menus, buttons, navigation arrows, keyboards, dials, icons and basically everything has to be updated to blend seamlessly with iOS 7.

And it is in developers’ best interest to do so. As the UK based app development group pointed out so bluntly, iOS 7 is here to stay, and if you don’t upgrade your current apps, you’re the one that’s going to lose out.

So what are the challenges you need to face to you make your pre-iOS 7 Apps running on the new OS look modern as opposed to ancient?
Well, first and foremost, the apps have to be updated both in terms of the user interface as well as underlying capabilities. Even more, Apple wants developers not only to support the new OS, but also to actively integrate new APIs and features into their apps. What Apple hopes to achieve is to push the entire App Store ecosystem forward by making a large amount of high quality apps run od iOS 7 so they can get people to upgrade to the new OS. And as expected, Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenberry reports 95% of all iOS developers who have responded to the poll are moving to update their apps to be compatible with and take advantage of iOS 7.

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The new iOS also introduced 9 business and enterprise features:

Managed open in

This feature is called a game changer. Why? Most iOS apps allow users to open files using other apps — the most common example is selecting an email attachment and selecting an app to view, edit, or save that file or document. Managed open in lets IT control which apps a user sees when they use a share or open in dialog. That means that even without a containerization solution to protect corporate data, IT departments can keep business data in business-related apps.

Per app VPN

This feature lets IT make VPN configuration much more granular. Since only specific apps can gain access to a corporate network and the ability of those apps to transfer files or data to other unmanaged apps can be restricted, this approach actually increases network security. It also improves user experience and privacy since non-business data doesn’t touch the corporate network.

App Store license management

This feature seems to be a really good fit for the needs of companies and employees with BYOD devices. Companies can make bulk app purchases and assign them to users. Users register the app on their device using their personal Apple ID, which is not transmitted to their company, and the app is available to them on any devices they own or use just like when they buy apps for themselves. When the employee leaves the company or changes jobs, the licenses for apps can be revoked and reassigned.

New MDM configuration options

Apple is adding several new MDM capabilities to iOS as well as new options for querying devices. The company lists the ability to configure managed apps, install fonts, configure accessibility options, setup printing using AirPrint, and create a white list of AirPlay devices, mostly Apple TVs that a user can access to display content or play audio.

Streamlined MDM enrollment

This feature allows users to connect to an MDM server from the iOS setup assistant rather than needing to install an MDM app or agent on the device. Since the MDM profile for a user can contain much of the setup information, it looks like using this option could completely configure a device for a user and skip much of the setup process.

Enterprise single sign on

When users launch apps that access network or cloud resources and that support single sign on, they’ll only be able required to authenticate for the first connection.

Third-party app data protection

With this feature Apple continues providing encryption capabilities to iOS developers. This security uses an encryption key generated by a user’s unlock passcode and that each app’s data “is protected with the user’s passcode until they first unlock their device after each reboot.” That implies that as long as a device is unlocked that anyone will be able to access data unless apps are built with more stringent security features.

Improved Mail

This feature is in regards with the support for adding and organizing smart folders, which are essentially persistent searches, is a carry over from OS X’s Mail app. Also, the search functionality it Mail has been redesigned. Users can view annotations to PDF attachments in Mail without opening another app. And finally, Exchange support is getting a helpful tweak in the form of support for syncing notes.

Caching Server 2

This a feature of OS X Server and the current version mirrors portions of Apple’s iOS App Store — namely volume purchased apps. The Mavericks version is extending to cover content from all of Apple’s store fronts — iOS and Mac App Stores, iBookstore, iTunes Store and probably iTunes U. Purchased or licensed content is stored on a Mac server on a local network, which can speed up both initial deployment and updates. It may also allow organizations to vet updates before rolling them out.

As the saying goes, in difficulty lies opportunity, and some companies are leveraging the change as a chance to get competitive advantage on the app store, and ultimately make more money. How about you?

  • 7 Nov, 2013
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  • http://www.rightwaysolution.com/ Abhishek Agarwal

    Very informative

  • http://www.rightwaysolution.com/ Abhishek Agarwal

    Very informative, thanks for sharing.