The Valpak app, developed by WillowTree to include Passbook integration, is now in the Top 100 Free Apps on iTunes and is listed as one of the top 10 Lifestyle Apps.
The Unofficial Apple Web Blog (TUAW) currently features an article that explains how the Valpak app makes the Apple Passbook more enticing and useful. There are very few apps that have integrated Passbook so far. Because of this, many iPhone users have yet to fully understand the potential value of Passbook. The Valpak app is the first of its kind to completely change “couponing.” Instead of having to sort through thousands of coupons, cut them out, and remember to cram them in your wallet, the Valpak app lists coupons to use based on the user’s interests. Victor Agreda describes the usefulness of the Valpak App in TUAW.
What iOS 6 means for developers
Yesterday was a big day in the tech world. Apple rolled out iOS 6, causing many to stir in their swiveling desk chairs.
For starters, the iPhone 5 has 5 rows of apps instead of 4. Apple claims it will have “the most accurate display in the industry,” containing 44% more color saturation.
The device is, in fact a taller and thinner version of its predecessor. It’s made solely of glass and aluminum (a design touch by Jonathan Ive, perhaps), runs on LTE networks, and has a better battery life.
So what does all of this mean for third-party iOS apps? Apple’s Philip Schiller stated that all old apps will maintain the same size; however, black borders will run on the top and bottom to fill in the extra space. Developers will have the option to update each app so that it will accommodate the new screen size.
Developers can look forward to having a bit more screen real-estate at their disposal as well as more performant graphics. With better hardware comes better third-party apps.
Apple also rolled out several new app features that will come pre-loaded. Here are the highlights:
- A proprietary mapping system instead of Google Maps
- Shared photo streams
- Passbook preloaded for coupons, cards, tickets, and passes
- Phone call options like “Do Not Disturb” and set reminders
- FaceTime accessed over cell networks
- Camera with Panorama, 5-element lens, autofocus, LED flash, and more
- Widescreen video, 16:9 aspect ratio, instead of letterbox
- A mail app that includes a customized VIP setting
- Improved Accessibility, Guided Access to help with disabled users
- Remodeled iTunes and App Store allowing users to “like” the app, song, movie, or book
One of the biggest Improvements so far is for Safari, which will keep track of user browsing history through iCloud Tabs and will finally allow full screen browsing. It also has a built-in functionality, called “Smart Banners,” to notify the user when there’s an app for the specified website. Front end web developers will just need to include an Apple-specific meta tag in the head of the site’s home page.
Continuing with seamless updates, Apple’s Facebook integration directly at OS level now makes it easier to share experiences from third-party apps. This update is similar to how Twitter was directly integrated with iOS 5, allowing users to quickly share content in a uniform way across all apps. Developers can expect less effort required for content sharing into their apps.
Like social media integrating with apps, Apple also improved Siri so that she understands more languages and can give more answers, including movie reviews and sport scores. Siri can also open apps for users. Third-party app developers should keep this in mind when it comes to naming apps in the future.
App developers can expect improvements in their UI toolkit when building grid views for image-rich content. Developers should also look to Auto Layout to design interfaces that support all iPhone generations.
With these Apple updates, we can expect to see more of a demand for third-party apps, especially since some reports are already saying that the iPhone alone will boost GDP.
The release date for iOS 6 is September 19 and the iPhone 5 will be available September 21.
WillowTree Apps has been named to the 2012 INC 500 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies!
- “WillowTree Apps Named to List of Fastest Growing Companies” - NBC 29
- “WillowTree Apps, SNL Financial Among Fastest-Growing U.S. Companies” – The Daily Progress
- “Charlottesville App Company Nationally Recognized” – News Plex
- “WillowTree Apps of Charlottesville, Virginia Named to 2012 INC. 500 List” – The Best Apps for iPhone