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Top Features to Leverage While Developing an App for iOS 9.3

April 18, 2016

Apple finally revealed a full, working, and almost bug free-version of iOS 9.3. A lot of the apps that you almost took for granted are now better. Notes app now comes with an ability to lock up your notes that contain precious information (Financial data, anyone?). The News app is rejigged to provide you with news tailor-made to you.

The health app helps keep tab on your weight, sleep, pulse, workouts, walks, and even stair well climbs. The iOS 9.3 release now comes with a few smart tools for teachers (think iPads in schools), and Siri just went truly globetrotting with support for Hebrew, Finish, and Malay.

Mobile apps should be a profit center for you not a confusing bottleneck, that is why we have put together a list of top features to leverage while building an app for iOS 9.3.


3D touch API
One of the best features of the new iOS release is the 3D touch. Baked into the latest release are a host of 3D features that come with the regular apps such as Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, iTunes and App Store. 3D Touch was almost the most important upgrade over the previous iOS versions.

With the 3D touch API, you now have another dimension and a range of newer use cases to load your app with. Quick Actions, Peek and Pop, and Pressure Sensitivity form the umbrella of user interaction methodologies.

  • Quick Actions allow users to do things faster and in fewer steps. For example, pressing the Phone icon brings up a list of favorite contacts to call.
  • Peek lets users preview certain content without leaving the app that they are currently using. In order to view the full content in the app that handles it, the user can press on the screen a little bit more to Pop into the other app.
  • Pressure Sensitivity allows the iPhone device to gauge the amount of pressure the user applies on the screen. For instance, in a drawing app, a user can apply different types of strokes using a single brush thus making the final result realistic. This feature alone opens up a whole lot of UX possibilities.

(Apple) Wallet enables the user to organize and use things such as debit/credit cards, passes, reward cards, boarding passes, etc. and eliminates the need to carry a physical wallet.

Apple is getting closer to the digital payments game and the day isn’t far when connected apps can help consumers just pay with a phone.

Apple Wallet also happens to be a great way for brands to promote their app on the back of their boarding passes. Almost similar to cross-selling, as you open a boarding pass for the next flight you are on, you’ll also get to tap and open the app of the airline the boarding pass is for.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay provides an extremely simple way to make purchases for either physical goods or services using Touch ID (and NFC). Not only is using this feature easy, but it is very secure as well, as Apple devices have encryption integrated in both its hardware and software. Users can simply use Touch ID depending on the type of device they have to make a purchase and check out without any hassle.

Inter-App Communications with Extensions

Extensions in iOS was first introduced in iOS 8 and now they’ve come a long way to truly make your smartphone usage a complete, cohesive, and tight experience. Yet, the extensions enable you to to tie in apps without letting go of the bank-grade security built into iOS.

With extensions you can auto-fill passwords into the mobile browser, translate text, access your files via iCloud; hook up your photo apps with filters, and have your favorite apps show up when you want to share or post social updates.

Touch ID Authentication
Apps are great but they are worth nothing if they can be vulnerable. As a developer, app security is your responsibility. Touch ID authentication syncs right into the personalized, secure nature of the recent onslaught of fingerprint security authentication on modern iPhones.

Users can tap on the home screen and log into an app right away. The Touch ID enhancement with the iOS 9.3 release is a welcome mat for you to bake in some security for your app.

Apple has introduced true multitasking on the iPad to take advantage of the bigger screens. iPads now support running two apps simultaneously and displaying them side by side on their large screens. Users can now take advantage of several features like Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture.

Developers will need to use the features mentioned above properly, and the one thing that will become absolutely important is ‘Resource Management’. Since all the apps on iOS running on an iPad device will participate in multitasking, there is no more an exclusivity of apps to either screen real estate, memory or other resources. By taking the right decisions to carefully tune resource usage, developers can create apps that are optimized and perform at their best on devices supporting multitasking.

App Thinning
Apps are getting larger and iPhone 6 Plus with its 3X asset size, added to the problem. However, iOS 9 attempts to solve the problem with their feature called ‘app thinning.’ It basically means that there will be more free space on your iPhone or iPad.

App Thinning provides this optimization process and lets developers create apps that maximize the use of device features, minimize the use of disk space, and accommodate future updates. That’s taking space saving to a whole new level.

The NightShift API
This is more of a trend shift than an actual feature (for developers).

As an app called F.lux was pulled out of the App store and iOS 9.3 bought the “Night Shift” feature with it, the NightShift API has been a requested feature. The entire display of the Apple devices – those bright blue lights – can affect sleep. Almost every app you might use on the phone and the way the colors change to the warmer end of the spectrum will need a slight tweak of the UX/UI and a NightShift API sync (if it ever releases).

The new release has unleashed many exciting features and for this reason alone, it’s certainly a good time to be an app developer for iOS. Get an early start and leverage these features to build cutting edge mobile apps. Make hay while the sun shines!

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