For years, apps have existed as individual silos, with their data all but invisible to search engines. Recently, however, Google and Apple have made strides in indexing app content. Now, users can find information in an app as easily as they can on a website, or be directed to a native app for content they searched for on the web.

There are several pieces to App Indexing that make implementation complicated, but understanding these pieces is critical as the results are potentially massive. What we are looking at is one of the largest SEO opportunities in years.

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iOS 9 finally brought what everyone has been waiting for, multitasking. The Slide Over, Split View and Picture in Picture (PiP) have made the iPad a more powerful and handy tool than ever before. Having everything you need on the screen at the same time increases productivity at work, which will definitely be appreciated in the business world. Instead of switching back and forth between apps, the user can focus on things that are really important. And now, thanks to Apple’s elegant solution for video-streaming apps, you don’t have to pause your favorite TV series while replying to a friend’s email, or while you browse or search for other episodes. Apple’s also made it easy for us to look things up on the Internet while we’re talking to someone on FaceTime with iOS 9.

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blog-post-image_el-camino_MHIn June, Apple introduced the world to iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, which I accidentally refer to as “El Camino” on the reg. Fortunately, as designers, there aren’t many visual changes we’ll need to be aware of. There are a few UX challenges we’ll be facing though, as well as some new features we should keep in mind when we are determining an app’s functionality.

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Let’s say you have a blog with tons of posts and want to give your readers an easy way to search for content without paging through a long list of previous articles. One way you can accomplish this is by providing users with a search field that makes an API call and returns all posts matching some of the specified criteria. But how do you get up and running quickly with text search on specified fields for documents in your collection?

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Games have been a huge part of the App Store since its inception. From Words With Friends to Clash of Clans to Flappy Bird, iOS has proven to be a viable gaming platform with market penetration that traditional handheld consoles could only dream of. Apple has taken notice and provided developers with frameworks that make working with their technologies even more appealing, including SpriteKit and SceneKit. The information at this year’s WWDC was no different, including the announcement of two more game development technologies, GameplayKit and ReplayKit.

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At this year’s WWDC, Apple announced a new and exciting user interface change for iPad with multitasking. With multitasking enabled, users will now be able to run more than one app side by side, greatly increasing the use of the iPad as a true productivity device. This also means that users are going to expect great multitasking experiences, and existing applications will need to adapt to this new paradigm to give users the best experience possible.

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This week, someone sent me a link to the story Billions of Records at Risk from Mobile App Data Flaw. The story talks about how a team of security researchers recently uncovered thousands of application flaws that could potentially lead to billions of records leaking. I’ve seen these types of mistakes in apps before. With the topic in the news it feels like a good time to reach out to the development community to talk about the very important issue of mobile app security, and more specifically, the principle of least privilege (PoLP) with regard to Secure API design.

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iOS9-enhanced-device-security_blog-featured-imageWith the introduction of the iPhone 5S in the fall of 2013, Apple released two new hardware features that altered how we interact with mobile device security. Buried in the A7 chip (and in the chip of any iOS device with Touch ID) is the Secure Enclave, an isolated component that stores cryptographic information necessary for keychain encryption and data protection. The Secure Enclave enables another security feature, one with which we quite directly interact, Touch ID. The fingerprint information for Touch ID is stored in the Secure Enclave. When the user presses their finger to the Touch ID sensor, the system calculates a mathematical representation of the fingerprint; no fingerprint images are ever stored or transmitted. This representation is sent to the Secure Enclave, which then passes a boolean success value to the requesting application. The application then responds accordingly. This has been the extent of our interaction with Touch ID since iOS 8. At WWDC this year, Apple introduced new APIs that give app developers more flexibility with Touch ID and access to the increased security of Secure Enclave.

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At WWDC 2015, Apple announced a new and potentially far-reaching policy called App Transport Security. While the announcement wasn’t headlining any keynote presentation, it could certainly affect any mobile app publisher that deploys their own web services, or the countless other web service providers that most mobile apps depend on. It also represents a concrete step towards fulfilling the decree Tim Cook made about security and privacy that, “We [Apple] must get this right.”

People have entrusted us with their most personal and precious information and we owe them nothing less than the best protections we can possibly provide by harnessing the technology at our disposal. We [Apple] must get this right.”

– Tim Cook

App Transport Security is a new iOS 9 feature that implements the following policy:

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We are proud to announce that our CEO, Tobias Dengel, has been named one of the highest rated CEOs on Glassdoor, according to the company’s most recent report. Glassdoor, known as the most transparent jobs and careers marketplace, released its annual report highlighting the Highest Rated CEOs in several countries throughout North America and Europe.

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How many times have you clicked a button in an iOS app that unexpectedly routed you to another app with no way to get back? Or tapped a push notification and forgotten which app you came from? Using the application-switcher to go back is slow and manual, and good luck finding that app again on your home screen.

Finally with iOS 9, Apple is solving this by adding

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1. Search is a New Battleground 

While it’s been largely glossed over by the press, Apple is making a clear run to own the search game by making Spotlight (Apple’s main search bar) the gateway for most users’ consumption of digital media. By integrating content from across the web (e.g. native applications, To Do lists, contacts, etc.) and making it all accessible via Siri, Apple is in a unique position to replace Google as the gateway to digital content (at least on iOS devices).

To Do: Content-heavy apps, including video, have an immediate opportunity to index/tag their content using Apple’s new approaches. This requires a deep dive into 

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