12 New iOS 12 Features for App Developers

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iOS 12

We recently saw the launch of iOS 12, Apple’s latest update to their operating system, on 17th September this year.

Familiarising yourself with fresh versions of an operating system, however, isn’t just important for consumers, in fact, it may be even more important for developers.

Many users of Apple’s iOS products were thrilled with the new release and the new world of features that it opened up for them.

In this article, we’re going to be discussing 12 new features of iOS 12 that are worth knowing for app development companies, as well as individual application developers.

What’s New With iOS 12? – A Developmental Summary

“Is iOS 12 just more bug fixes and design changes?” –

It can be frustrating when new OS builds are released with very little new on offer for developers, after all, we make a large number of the apps that give the likes of Apple and Google (Android) their good name(s).

Luckily, the latest iOS release is definitely much more thanbug fixes and a re-skin. There are many fresh features that open new doors forapp developers.

Overall, iOS 12, Apple’s latest update to their iOS operating system is great news for developers as it introduces great new features that allow developmental professionals to get more creative with app development projects,also everything is generally much smoother on a whole.

So, what are the new iOS 12 features for developers to keep in mind?

Below is a list of 12 new aspects of iOS 12 that are worth noting for those in the development industry:

1. ARKit 2.0

Discussed in more depth below. 

2.Interactive Notifications

You can now allow for users to interact with your app’s notifications in the drop-down notification bar by adding switches, buttons and other interactive items. Due to this, notifications can now be made a lot more powerful.

3. Apple Pencil Interactions

Developers can now enable users of their applications to access additional app functions by double-tapping their Apple Pencil. Consequently, the Apple Pencil finally has much more useful functionality.

4. Navigation Apps & CarPlay 

The new framework for CarPlay enables navigation applications to display navigation information on CarPlay.

5. Health Records 

– Discussed in more depth below.

6. Effects 

Images from iMessage apps and stickers from sticker packs are now able to be used as effects.

7. Authentication 

The new Authentication Services framework allows developers to integrate password management apps with Password AutoFill.

8. Siri Shortcuts 

– Discussed in more depth below.

9. Natural Language 

A new framework for the analysis of natural language text and gathering of language-specific metadata.

10. Network Framework 

Use this new Framework for direct access to protocols such as UDP, TCP &TLS.

11. Metal (Goodbye OpenGL ES) 

If you’re going to be developing graphics-intensive apps, such as mobile games, it is worth noting that OpenGL ES is being deprecated in the latest iOS release. Therefore, Open GL ES users should now switch to Metal. Metal is optimal for the development of modern graphics-rich applications.

12. Other Deprecations –

As with OpenGL ES, there are other APIs being deprecated in the latest iOS release that are worth mentioning for developmental purposes.

When an API is deprecated, it will still be available and usable, however, maintenance on it will be minimal, and it will eventually be replaced and removed.

We recommend avoiding the use of the deprecated APIs within iOS 12, this making your mobile applications more future-proof.

Our Top 3 Noteworthy iOS Changes for Developers

It’s always worth noting all the main changes in anoperating system update, but of course, some changes are always going to standout among the rest.

Here are the 3 iOS 12 features we find most interesting from a developer’s point-of-view:

ARKit 2.0

New multiuser functions in ARKit 2.0 enable you to create an augmented reality application that allows users to interact with each other inshared AR experiences.

Persistent AR features also allow your app to store data from an AR session so that it is easily accessible and ready to be revisited at a later point.

The inclusion of object detection in ARKit 2.0 allows real-world objects to be 3D scanned in order to be incorporated into an AR session.

For further information on ARKit 2.0, please refer to the ARKit 2.0 developer documentation on Apple’s website.

Health Records

For developers of health and fitness related applications, the HealthKit functionality in iOS 12 is a very interesting feature.

HealthKit allows your app users to share their medicalhistory with the application. As a result of this, your apps can be personalised forindividual users based on their medical history, considering things such asmedication, conditions, allergies, etc.

For further information on HealthKit, please refer to the HealthKit developer documentation on Apple’s website.

Siri Shortcuts

Siri can predict and suggest shortcuts for actions within your application to users based on relevant actions. These suggestions can appear in places such as Lock Screen, Spotlight Search & Siri Watch Face.

Siri learns about shortcuts available to users of your app using donations that your application makes to Siri. Therefore, you can decide which actions in your app are relevant, and point them out to Siri as shortcut-worthy actions.

For further information on SiriKit & Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12, please refer to the Sirikit developer documentation on Apple’s website.

Get in Touch with Appoly for Mobile App Development Services

If you’re in need of mobile application development services, Appoly are here to help. We offer many developmental services, as well as consultation for when you need to get your idea(s) off the ground.

No project is too big nor too small to discuss with our experts. Our team are always happy to discuss potential projects and provide help and support where necessary.

You can contact us via email, phone or our contact page.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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What are the Benefits of Having a Website Developed for Businesses?

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Do you own or manage a business that has no website? If so, your business isn’t quite the business that it could and perhaps should be. There are many business benefits to having a website; namely the much larger customer base that can come from a well developed and marketed site.

In this post, we will be discussing our favourite business advantages of having a website developed. Whether you’re a small business or a well-established large business, a website is vital if you want to expand and grow your business or even just keep up with competitors.

Analytical Data

One of the great advantages of having a website for your business is the access you have to analytical data from your website. You can gain a great understanding of what your customer wants based on many factors such as what pages they spend most time on, how long they spend on each page, what they searched for in order to land on your site and more.

This data allows you to better understand your customers wants and needs, and therefore, you can market yourself in a tailored way based on how your customers behave.

Free Advertising

You’re likely to be familiar with online advertising – display ads appear in all corners of the internet, but that’s not strictly what we’re talking about when we say, “free advertising”. We’re actually referring to the many ways that you can have your website found online by potential customers. All without having to spend a penny.

By having a website to sell your business, you are enabling yourself to be found on many free directories, search engines, social websites and more. None of this needs to cost you a penny; if you have a quality website that is well optimised and active online, you’ll naturally pick up on many new potential customers that otherwise may never have heard of your business.

Information

If you want to keep all your clients/customers informed with your latest business updates, it could be a tedious task if using traditional methods such as phone calls or messaging. Having your own website enables you to inform everyone simultaneously on the latest updates.

All you need to do is head over to your blog/news area, add your post and publish it. For additional coverage you can also share the link to your new post on your social media accounts.

Always on

A huge benefit of having a website for businesses is the fact that they’re findable all day, every day. This means that anybody who may be looking for your products or services can find them at all times of day, whether they’re searching on a Tuesday afternoon, or the early hours of a Sunday morning.

This is a far more accessible system than your traditional brick and mortar only business, which may be only open during daytime and closed all weekend. The more accessible you make your business for potential customers, the more likely it is that they will become actual customers/clients.

Contact Appoly for Website Development Services

If your business needs a professionally designed and developed website, get in touch with us and let’s discuss your project, what you want and what our expert team can do to get you there.

We’re always happy to discuss your project, and with many years of experience in creating tailored websites, apps and programs for a very satisfied client base, we’re sure we can turn your ideas into a successful reality.

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Mobile App Development: What are the Costs & How Long Does It Take?

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If you have a great idea for a mobile app that you’d like to have developed, you may be wondering how much time and money you’re going to need to invest to make your idea a reality. This uncertainty may even be putting you off have your mobile application developed. If this is the case, you needn’t worry.

In this post, we’ll be discussing the cost and time investment of mobile application development.

So, How Long Does Mobile App Development Take?

You can’t put an exact time duration on all app development. Of course, the major apps that we use everyday have had hundreds of thousands of hours piled into them and continue to receive a similar treatment. However, what you’ll most likely be considering is a v1 MVP (version one, minimal viable product) app. A v1 MVP mobile application is an app that has been put to market with only the very essential features needed for it to be a viable app.

Studies have taken place surrounding the development time of a v1 MVP app. Firstly, a 2013 survey by Progress Kinvey showed, based on the surveys of 100 agencies, that the average v1 MVP app takes roughly 18 weeks (4.5 months).

Another study, done in 2017 by GoodFirms, surveyed 55 app developers. In this survey, participants had to provide an estimate for how long they believed it would take to develop a complex and feature-rich application, such as the ones we use every day.

 

Based on the average response, GoodFirms reported that:

Feature-rich highly complex apps – (E.g. Instagram and Uber) take anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 months to develop.

Medium complexity compelling apps – (E.g. WhatsApp or QuizUp) take around 4.6 months to create.

User-friendly apps with lesser functionality – (E.g. Tinder and Periscope) take roughly 3.8 to 4.1 months to complete.

 

How Much Does Mobile App Development Cost?

App development costs can vary hugely between agencies. All of the studies done have shown these dramatic price ranges too.

The GoodFirms study we just looked at also surveyed for the cost of developing these applications.

Here are their results:

A feature-rich highly complex app – (E.g. Instagram or Uber) costs anywhere between $70,000 to $100,000.

Medium complexity compelling apps – (E.g. WhatsApp or QuizUp) typically costs between $61,000 to $69,000.

User-friendly app with lesser functionality – (E.g. Tinder or Periscope) would cost anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000.

 

How Can You Cut the Costs for App Development?

At Appoly, we suggest that you start with an MVP app, get the basic structure and function of your app how you want it and get it live on the app store(s). This will cut the initial cost and time consumption, allowing you to get your app live much quicker and cheaper.

This is even better if you’re going to monetise your app, as it allows you to make money from your application sooner, and you can invest that money back into the app for further development.

Another thing you should ensure, is that your app developer offers expert knowledge alongside a fair price. This will shine through in the final product; don’t be taken advantage of.

 

Contact Appoly for Mobile Application Development Services

If you want to turn your app idea into a reality, get in touch with Appoly and one of our design and development experts will happily discuss your project with you and explore the best development options for you based on your ideas, circumstances and needs.

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Introducing Where’s my cAR? iOS/Android Mobile Application

During our research and development programme, we’ve been doing a lot of work and experiments using AR, or Augmented Reality.

We’ve produced various concepts, looking at some common use-cases for the technology. Typically these show the capabilities of rendering virtual objects in a real-life scene and require the app to interpret the environment and accurately place the various objects in it.

A challenge had been set. Would it be possible to place an object in Augmented Reality without relying on the camera to survey the surroundings?

Where’s my cAR?

Where’s my cAR? is a free to download mobile application for compatible iOS and Android Devices that allow you to find the location of your car using Augmented Reality (AR), using geocoded data from your device’s location.

Technical Challenges

As Augmented Reality technology is still in its infancy, ARCore (Androids AR engine) doesn’t have an easy way of representing location data in AR. So as part of this process, we developed the ARCore-Location library to help us (and any other Android developers) to create GPS location-based AR experiences. Luckily, iOS already has a wonderful library available from ProjectDent.

Another challenge is how to find out where somebody has parked their car. Whilst both platforms are able to tell us whether the user is walking, running, driving or standing – only Android allows you to do so whilst the app is not being used. Therefore in the Android version, we’re able to automatically detect when you’ve disembarked from a moving vehicle and set that as the location. At the time of writing, on the iOS version, this is something that can only be done manually.

Additionally, mobile locations services can be quite temperamental. The location updates being given to apps vary wildly in accuracy, meaning that sometimes it might think you’re several hundred metres away from where you really are. Mobile compasses are also only accurate to approximately 15 degrees, and that’s assuming your compass is properly calibrated and you’re not close to any electronics or large machinery! This can be problematic when trying to get an accurate bearing on your current position and the position of your car – giving some mixed results.

Download it and give it a try, we would love to have your feedback.

You can download the app on to your device from the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

Contact Appoly for AR Consultancy & Mobile App Development Services

We hope that you have found this article interesting and informative. We provide augmented reality development services if you’d like to book a consultation with us to further explore your options to start professional development on your AR project, get in touch with us and we can discuss your needs and see what we can do for you.

 

 

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Big Data: What is it? & What are the Business Benefits?

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Firstly, what is Big Data?

“Extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.” – Dictionary Definition.

So, the clue is in the name, big data, in essence, is large amounts of data, structured or unstructured, which can be analysed by a computer system to find patterns and trends that may be useful for a business to pick up on.

Data systems as a concept aren’t new. In the 1950’s, long before it was ever called ‘Big Data’, systems would have been put into place for businesses where they would collect their data and arrange it into spreadsheets and have it manually reviewed by human employees.

Of course, these days things have gotten a lot more efficient in the world of data systems due to the power of computers and smart programming. Along with most other things in the technology world, big data systems over the years have gotten far quicker and more accurate than they ever have been.

 

What are the Business Advantages of Big Data?

A vast amount of businesses and companies worldwide use big data systems on a very regular basis, so you may have guessed, there are definitely some advantages to implementing these systems into your business.

Here are the top business advantages of big data:

 

  • Quicker Decision Making – One of the biggest benefits of big data in business is the speed of analysis. If you have a very large amount of data that could be helpful for your business, it’s much faster to have it run through a computerised system as opposed to needing human review.

 

  • Cost Efficiency – Again, if you have a data system put in place, this automates a large amount of the process for your business, meaning less money is spent on the process to pay staff members for their time.

 

  • Better Decision Making – With the smart programming that goes into these data systems, you can rely on your results being very accurate. This is helpful for businesses as they can look at the patterns, good or bad, and decide on how to change their business most effectively for improvement.

 

Is Big Data Right for Your Business?

If you’re looking to fine tune the processes and efficiency of your business and you feel that a big data system being implemented could help you, we have a great team of professional consultants who will discuss your project with you and help you decide on which route is best for you.

 

Contact Appoly for Big Data Consultancy & Development Services

If you want a consultancy to find out whether or not having a data system developed is right for you, or you want a bespoke big data system to be developed and fine-tuned for your business, get in touch with Appoly experts today. We are always happy to listen to your needs and provide you with honest and professional advice and solutions.

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Laravel Bootstrap 4 Preset

Laravel Bootstrap 4 Preset

We’ve just updated our Laravel Bootstrap 4 preset to work with the stable version of Bootstrap 4.

Whilst a Bootstrap 4 preset will be available when Laravel 5.6 is released, this package allows Laravel developers to use the latest Bootstrap 4 with Laravel 5.5.*.

Check out the package on Github to get started.

 

Installation Instructions

You can install the package via composer:

composer require appoly/laravel-bootstrap-4-preset

You will then have the following commands available in your Laravel installation:

Basic scaffolding:

php artisan preset bootstrap4

Basic scaffolding and authorisation views:

php artisan preset bootstrap4-auth

If you run the authorisation scaffolding command multiple times, duplicate entries in the routes files will appear

Then install and run a build to compile the assets:

npm install && npm run dev

If you have any feedback or would like to report an issue, please submit a ticket on Github.

 

Contact Appoly for Web Development

We provide website development services both consumer and business related websites. If you’re in need of a a new website or have an existing website that needs improvements, please contact us to arrange a consultancy.

Call us on 01926 520 052 or email us at hello@appoly.co.uk.

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