posted by Mike Riegelhaupt
The iOS 13 release, announced last month, came with a lot of exciting changes. The list of the new changes is fairly long, that is why we have created a series of 4 weekly blogs, that over the next month will give you an overview of the main changes, their impact on user experience, the implications for marketers and some early adoption stats.
Here at Localytics, we make sure to stay on top of all the latest and greatest changes that affect the market & our customers. Today’s blog will focus on two of the hottest announcements — iPad changes and dark mode, and their impacts on the user experience and marketers.
First, Apple is introducing Multi-Window support. Multi-Window is something that will really improve the Multitasking capability that iPad enables today. With Multitasking in the past, a user could open up two different apps at the same time in the foreground. This was great for transferring information between apps, or referencing information from one app while editing content in another. But what was sorely lacking was the ability to do the same thing with one app. iOS 13 changes all of that:
The above image shows a file browsing app. With multi-window support, you can now inspect the overall file structure while viewing the contents of an individual folder, allowing for more informed file copying and moving. This option allows for much quicker decision making by the user, as much more information is surfaced to them at once.
Additionally, if the user backgrounds the app, those multi-window views are retained, as they are stored in the app switcher as separate instances of the same app, allowing you to come back to what you had been working on:
In addition to Multi-Window support, Apple also announced an exciting new endeavor: Project Catalyst, which will impact App teams. This initiative aims to take existing iPad apps and allow them to function as first-party apps on the Mac. Developers simply need to package their apps as XCFrameworks (a change which we here at Localytics managed to accomplish with a barebones app in as fast as half a day) and then submit it to the app store.
This change was surprisingly easy, as most of the code for our iOS app just worked for Mac without modification. The implications are really powerful. Instead of needing to build out a webpage, or a completely separate MacOS app, developers can now use the same codebase to enable a rich experience on the Mac.
Impact on Localytics’ Clients
The new Multi-Window feature affects the user experience and the way we think about apps on the iPad. For years the iPad has been considered to be more powerful and more usable than a phone. Now, that Apple is putting additional focus on the multitasking feature, iPads are becoming more comparable to laptops. At the same time, iPads are getting even more user-friendly as the new features give users the freedom to move around the screen and handle a wider number of tasks. Additionally, Safari on iPad will serve viewers the desktop version of apps, rather than the mobile version to make for a smoother browsing experience. The browser will get new keyboard shortcuts and a download manager.
Project Catalyst enables a number of wonderful improvements. Because the app will be run as a first-party app on the Mac, the app will now support a number of things which browsers simply can’t offer. MacOS apps will be able to support offline use, registering for native push messaging, and will modify a number of native Mac features such as the menu bars, context menus, touch bars and hover events that are difficult or unsupported on the web browsers, just to name a few.
Apple is adding dark mode capabilities system-wide, now users can adjust their “Display and Brightness” to include dark themes which display dark backgrounds and white text. This has been a popular request from the Apple community for years and the company is implementing this feature device-wide, rather than only having dark mode supported by certain apps.
Dark mode has a number of exciting benefits to the end-user. The new darker themed backgrounds tend to be easier on the eyes, as the screen is lit up less. Additionally, as the device has to light up fewer pixels on the screen, the battery should last longer. This brings more flexibility for the user to set their preferences, and apply it easily to their entire iOS device. Additionally, an API lets third‑party developers implement Dark Mode in their apps.
Impact on Localytics’ Clients
Our UI specific features will need to support dark mode, this specifically impacts Inbox and In-App. Both In-App and Inbox function by displaying HTML files in the app, uploaded through the Localytics Dashboard. These HTML files will need to be built by our clients using the proper CSS media queries to change their display based on the device’s system settings. Our In-App Builder (IAB) will have support for both light and dark mode capabilities built into it in the near future to aid in this integration.
Additionally, our Inbox product displays a list of qualified Inbox campaigns to the user. For most customers, this list is written in native code. This code, like all UI code in your apps, will need to be updated by our clients to support the best practices put forth by Apple. If your app uses the default InboxListView, make sure to update your app to SDK 5.7 to ensure proper color contrast in dark mode.
To learn about additional changes to IOS13 remember to check out our blog next week. In the coming blog, we will focus on the new Location Permissions features and their impact on users and marketers.
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