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Developer's Expertise Required in 2017: Google I/O and Apple WWDC Outcomes

21 Jun 2017
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10 min

For software developers keeping up with innovations is a must. Dynamic changes in the tech industry leave no choice but to grow and gain new skills. Especially taking into account the customers’ requirements which are becoming more and more sophisticated as a response to tough competition. So, if you want to comply with the latest app development trends, whether you are a developer or an entrepreneur, make sure you know what skills to look for (or possess) in 2017.

Let’s start with the innovations presented at Google I/O 2017. We will tell about the most interesting ones, and how these technologies can be applied to your software solutions.

Nougat is no longer the sweet of the year: Android O is coming

We are going to start with the traditional announcement at Google I/O keynote: the new version of Android OS - Android 8.0 or "O", the name that’s still kept secret. Good news for Android developers! Most of the features that are now available in the new Android O do not require them to write additional code. Perfectly fitting APIs are ready for integration into mobile applications. However, beware of some behavioral changes that you should take into account before adapting them to your app.

Android O new features

What's new in Android O?

Let’s take a closer look at new features we are about to experience in Android O (beta version is already available).

Picture-in-picture

The "picture-in-picture" mode allows user to watch videos in separate windows of other apps. This long-awaited feature that is already available in iOS, makes it possible to use two apps at the same time.

Autofill

Autofill is another interesting feature. It was designed to help users allocate phone numbers, addresses and company names. With the help of auto-saving technology, the system will offer logins and passwords from Chrome for a particular application. So, after saving the data from a Twitter account in the browser, you can get it in the application itself.

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Notifications

Shortcuts to application icons in the new Android will show notifications the same way as iOS does. The user will be able to open a menu with alerts with a long press and, if necessary, respond or remove them. Users have the opportunity to configure notifications in more detail. In particular, they can be delayed from 15 minutes to an hour. Many apps already support this function, but the official Android support makes it easier for developers since this function will work on all devices.

According to Google, the following functions are designed to increase the app's performance and user interactions.

Project Treble

Project Treble, which wasn’t officially presented on I/O, but was announced a few days earlier. The project is focused on how Google can accelerate the update of Android OS on different devices. Project Treble separates the vendor-specific implementation of Android OS updates by adding a layer between them.

If this project succeeds, it will be a great relief for developers who now have to support users with devices running on older versions of Android.

TensorFlow Lite

TensorFlow Lite is one of the most popular AI libraries on GitHub and its lite version is optimized for apps. This library helps to use the hardware acceleration of neural computing on phones.

TensorFlow Lite

Play Console Optimizations. Developers can scan applications to pinpoint the main problems that cause battery consumption, glitches and a slow user interface.

Kotlin - a new programming language for Android

Android has received support for the programming language Kotlin, created by the Russian company JetBrains. Kotlin turned out to be an excellent language that will simplify the coding for Android apps and may create serious competition for Java.

Android Go - a lite version of the Android O for inexpensive smartphones

In addition, Google has announced a "light" version of its operating system - Android Go. It will optimize performance on low-end smartphones and reduce the traffic consumption. Apps that are optimized for low-power devices will be displayed on Google Play in a separate collection.

Android Go opens up new opportunities for developers. Google is promising to release tools and instruction for developers to start writing mobile apps that will be optimized for Android Go.

Google Assistant for iPhone

Google is also working really hard on speech recognition functions. That’s why they created Google Assistant and presented it at last year's conference. This feature is aimed at making users’ interaction with the application easier. Now they don’t need to enter long search queries, they can simply say what they want and the app will show the relevant result. The best thing is that Apple products owners can take advantage of Google Assistant for iPhone.

Google Voice Assistant for iOS

Google Assistant for iPhone

Google Voice Assistant SDK is freely available and can be used directly in Android apps. In addition, Google Assistant will also be available on iOS and Android TV.

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Google Lens

This Google latest technological innovation, in contrast to speech recognition, is aimed at recognizing images using the phone’s camera. For example, you point your camera at a flower, and the virtual assistant tells you its name. Point the camera directly at the cafe sign and you’ll see detailed information about it.

Google Lens

App with Google Lens

VR and VPS

Google’s VR subdivision continues working on its VR-platform Daydream. The Daydream View headset is still only supported by a few smartphone models, but in the fall of 2017 the list will be replenished with Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Google also announced that the independent headsets for Daydream will be produced by HTC and Lenovo. It is expected that their devices will appear on the market before the end of the year.

In the field of augmented reality, Google introduced VPS. So, what is a VPS? Visual Positioning Service (VPS) is Google new technology of positioning. The solution will allow you to orientate yourself not with the help of satellites, like GPS does, but by using of objects surrounding the user.

What is a VPS?

Visual Positioning Service from Google

What’s new at Apple’s WWDC

This year at WWDC, Apple has presented updates in system frameworks and APIs, as well as new devices. Some innovations seem very interesting for implementation in applications. Others simplify the work of developers, while some of the libraries are suitable not only for iOS, but also Android platforms, so it will be interesting for everyone.

Xcode 9 Editor

Let's start with the updated editor, which according to our developers’ reviews is one of the most important parts of the WWDC Keynote. The innovations in Xcode that were introduced are about to make it a good modern editor.

Xcode 9 can now be a single compiler for both Swift 4, which was also introduced at WWDC, and Swift 3. That means the updated editor understands the code of both programming languages ​​and they can be compiled into one project. This feature will make it possible to convert an application from one version to another easier than before.

Xcode 9 new features

What's new in Xcode 9?

New Apple App Store

The app store has also been updated both visually and functionally. From now on there will not be a huge list of messy apps. Sections in the new Apple App Store will receive concise descriptions and will contain three categories: Games, Applications and Today. If a large pack of updates appeared once a week before, now updates will be released every day, but in smaller portions. Now it will be possible not only advertise the company or the application, but also create a link directly to the in-app purchase. Product pages now offer more options for demonstrating your applications with additional app previews, localization and new text fields. You can submit three views of applications that automatically start, so customers can quickly see how your app works, or see how it is to play your game.

How does new Apple App Store look like?

New Apple App Store view

Traditionally, renewed OS by Apple - iOS 11

Apple’s iOS 11 introduced new standards for the operating system, allowing iOS mobile apps to become even more intelligent with the help of CoreML machine learning. Besides this, you can now create an additional reality with ARKit. And also take advantage of new multitasking features with new camera APIs, updated SiriKit capabilities, and integration with Apple Music. Traditionally, iOS 11 beta is already available for developers, while iOS 11 release date will be announced later. Let's take a closer look at the possibilities that these innovations bring us.

AR apps get closer.

Apple has introduced a set of tools and APIs for creating AR-applications. That's not about glasses, that’s about apps like Pokemon Go. IPhone is automatically able to use data from the camera, accelerometer, and compass to find objects and determine their size, as well as to track movement of the device. It will even be able to select lighting conditions so that the augmented objects merge with the environment.

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The effect produced by AR can't be overestimated. And you can take utilize AR advances in your business

Advances in Machine learning.

With the CoreML package, developers can use machine learning technologies on the device to create intelligent self-learning applications that can predict users’ actions. CoreML allows you to integrate different types of machine learning models into your app. You can create applications using ready-to-use CoreML models or Core ML Tools to convert the models into CoreML format.

CoreML Architecture

Architecture of CoreML

Vision framework.

The Vision framework allows developers to make high-performance image analyses within an app. Although facial detection was already available in the CoreImage framework, Vision provides more features. It allows you not only detect faces in images, but also barcodes, texts, the horizon, rectangular objects and monitor other objects in the frame. In addition, you can now define documents on the image and scan them.

The Vision system can also be integrated with the CoreML model. This allows you to create completely new detection capabilities based on uploaded educated models.

WatchOS 4

The new WatchOS 4 has a separate screen for Siri, new animations and NFC data exchange with training simulators. The watch is now marketed primarily as a sports gadget. WatchOS 4 Developer Preview is available today. In the fall, users will be able to upgrade to it.

Watch OS 4

Apple WatchOS 4

It should be noted that the presentation following Keynote called Platforms State of the Union was no less interesting. The engineers of Apple discussed various new functions of the new versions of the OS in more detail, and, most importantly, demonstrated how easily these functions can be integrated into existing applications. To tell the truth, the quantity of novelties and opportunities can make your head spin.

Check out the latest iOS development trends of 2017

We hope that Google and Apple will not slow down in the future. We’re happy to have new opportunities to develop applications for our customers. If you have an idea on your mind, just text us and we will estimate it for you for free!

By the way, you must be interested in how much money you need to create your own mobile app. So subscribe to our blog and get a free eBook the highlights How much does it cost to create an iPhone app.

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