Pumpkins are appearing on porches, Halloween candy is cramming store shelves and Apple is announcing new devices and software. It must be fall.
Yesterday was Apple’s big fall event—two hours jam-packed with announcements to make anyone who owns Apple devices (or develops for them, or markets through them) jump for joy. There’s a new luxury Apple Watch, a jumbo iPad (the iPad Pro), Siri on Apple TV and a new remote, the iPhone 6s and 6s+ (which come in ROSE GOLD!!), and a whole new operating system for Apple TV called tvOS.
I sat down with Phunware iOS development deity Illya Busigin to get his thoughts on the biggest stories and updates from San Francisco.
Q: The iPhone 6s and 6s+ had quite a few hardware updates. Which will be most exciting to play around with and develop for?
A: There are lots of fun upgrades, but developers will probably be the most excited to play with 3D Touch. 3D Touch opens up a whole new level of interactions between apps and their users. I bet we’re going to see a lot of novel implementations using that form of input very soon.
Q: Apple’s launching a trade-in option for iPhone customers. What are your thoughts on the program and what does it provide for consumers, beyond getting the latest iPhone every year?
A: The iPhone Upgrade Program is a brilliant idea for Apple. Yearly upgrades are wonderful, and being able to switch carriers on the fly with an unlocked iPhone is fantastic for customers. Of course the program benefits Apple by making it easier than ever to get an iPhone. Sign me up!
Q: What about the state of the Apple Watch?
A: The new color and band options are really going to amp Apple Watch sales over the holidays. watchOS 2 also comes out in a few days, and a new partnership with Hermès won’t hurt either. It’s a better time than ever to invest in a companion Apple Watch app if it makes sense for your brand. But remember—an Apple Watch app should have real utility. Not all apps need a watchOS companion app, but those that do are missing a huge opportunity if they don’t execute on it.
Q: One of the biggest and more exciting announcements at Apple’s fall event was the iPad Pro. What were your thoughts after you heard the specs behind it?
A: It’s clear that Apple is gunning hard for the professional and prosumer market. Desktop-class performance and new input options (keyboard, pencil) open the field for a whole new class of applications. The iPad Pro is a truly a professional-grade tablet and I can’t wait to see what kind of applications Phunware and others will create for it.
Q: Are you as pumped as I would expect about tvOS?
A: An Apple TV app platform—FINALLY! tvOS is a whole new operating system with world-class APIs and developer tools. I believe the Apple TV platform has the potential to be as transformative as the original iPhone and App Store (see one example here). It’s interesting to note that Apple didn’t announce any network or TV channel partnerships. I think we may see them in the future but ultimately, it’s all about the apps!
Q: Any final thoughts?
A: Between the Apple Watch, multiple iPhones, iPad Mini, Air and now Pro, and the App Store coming to the Apple TV, it’s more important than ever for applications to be screen-size-agnostic. That means a lot more work to build apps that can leverage all screens to their full potential—but it also means higher return.
What do you think? Were you surprised by any of yesterday’s announcements? Which one excites you the most? Share your thoughts below in the comments.
Illya Busigin is a Client Engineering Manager at Phunware and leads the company’s iOS and Android platform initiatives. He has been developing for Apple platforms since 2008 and very much enjoys contributing to open source projects and playing with new Apple APIs and technologies.