When Apple introduced iOS 8 at this year's WWDC, we were psyched. A ton of new features break down information silos, and make this new iOS more context-friendly than ever before. iOS 8 has been in beta ever since, and developers have formed their opinions about what will define the next generation of the iOS and Mac OS experience. We captured those opinions by surveying Slashdot's community of developers, and we found a tremendous amount of excitement about taking the Age of Context mainstream.
HealthKit and HomeKit
HealthKit and HomeKit are frameworks that developers will use to connect their apps to Internet of Things and Wearables devices. Of the developers surveyed, 21% said HealthKit and HomeKit are the most promising new features of iOS 8. This 21% represents an outsized interest, considering Lifestyle apps make up only 7.99% of apps in the app store and Health & Fitness apps make up only 2.73%. To us, the excitement about HealthKit and HomeKit indicates an upcoming surge of apps that tap into the data and protocol standards iOS 8 sets for the Internet of Things and Wearables industries.
By far, developers' favorite new feature is Extensions. Extensions let app developers tap data supplied by other apps, enabling experiences that map to user context. 49% of developers surveyed said Extensions is the most promising iOS 8 feature. Why? It opens a world of possibilities for apps to exchange data with each other on-device. When apps talk to eachother, they can deliver more personalized and relevant experiences.
Notification Center Widgets
Apps will look to deliver those experiences more seamlessly with iOS 8. One in five developers said they plan to build interactive Notification Center Widgets "as soon as possible." Another one in three said they will build Notification Center Widgets, but that they are "secondary to other features." These new Notification capabilities are a huge win for apps that plan to run in the background collecting and processing contextual data like location and delivering content in real-time.
New Programming Language Swift
Apple's new language Swift for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch is concise, lightening-fast and runs alongside Objective-C. 33% of developers said they plan on using Swift as soon as possible. Only 18% say they do not plan to code with Swift.
The #1 reason developers like Swift is the simplicity of its modern syntax. That simplicity will allow savvy designers to build better prototypes, and developers to becoming leaner--testing, failing, learning and optimizing exponentially faster.
iOS 8 will open the Context floodgates on the mainstream. Apps, newly aware of data from the devices on our wrists, in our homes, and other apps will message us with more relevant content and experiences than ever before.
Download the full report on our survey.