Af­ter the Mac’s pro­ces­sors, Ap­ple’s next tran­si­tion is apps

Less launch­ing, more con­ve­nience.

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Michael Si­mon re­ports

Over the next two years, we’re go­ing to hear a lot about Ap­ple’s next tran­si­tion. The move from In­tel to Ap­ple’s home-grown sil­i­con is one of the big­gest moves the com­pany has ever made, one that’s sure to im­pact the rest of the in­dus­try as much as the Mac it­self.

But that’s not the only tran­si­tion that Ap­ple is em­bark­ing on. It might not have been given its own seg­ment dur­ing this year’s WWDC key­note, but Ap­ple laid down the tracks for a ma­jor shift away from tra­di­tional apps over the next sev­eral years. It won’t be as sud­den or even as quick as the move to Ap­ple’s sil­i­con, but be­fore long apps aren’t go­ing to be some­thing we need to down­load be­fore we can use them. Rather they’re go­ing to be ever-present, glance­able, dy­namic and ag­nos­tic ex­ten­sions that adapt to both our lo­ca­tion and the de­vice we’re us­ing with­out need­ing to visit a store.

Wid­gets wid­gets every­where

The iPhone may have kicked off the ‘there’s an app for that’ men­tal­ity, but you need to look no fur­ther than the iOS 14 home screen to see how Ap­ple’s ubiq­ui­tous hand­set is mov­ing be­yond a home screen lit­tered with icons of ev­ery task. It’s not just the App Li­brary, which lit­er­ally re­moves icons from our view, but also the el­e­va­tion of wid­gets.

In iOS 13, wid­gets are de­lib­er­ate. They’re hid­den be­hind a swipe, stacked in an in­fi­nite scroll, and not all that eas­ier to use than an ac­tual app, but in iOS 14 they’ve been el­e­vated to front-and-cen­tre glance­able ob­jects that will ac­tu­ally cut down on the num­ber of times we need to open our fa­vorite apps. From weather fore­casts to sports scores and news, wid­gets give you a rea­son to stay out of your apps by putting rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion within con­stant eye­sight. Ap­ple will even be spot­light­ing pop­u­lar ones in the gallery so you can down­load an app strictly to use the wid­get.

And that means we’re go­ing to be us­ing the ac­com­pa­ny­ing app less. The iPhone’s home screen has al­ways been lit­tle more than a short­cut to your apps, but in iOS 14, it’s go­ing to be a des­ti­na­tion. You’ll be able to un­lock your phone, glance at a wid­get or swipe through a stack, and put it back in your pocket all with­out never open­ing an app.

Piece by piece

Some­what iron­i­cally, App Clips will re­duce our de­pen­dency on apps as well. De­signed to de­liver small pieces of apps when and where we need them, App Clips are by na­ture ephemeral, serv­ing a spe­cific pur­pose and then dis­ap­pear­ing.

They may func­tion like the apps, but App Clips are a very dif­fer­ent an­i­mal. You don’t use the App Store to find them, you don’t ex­plore menus or save files, you don’t even keep them around af­ter you’re done us­ing them. They serve a spe­cific pur­pose and poof, they’re gone. They’re apps in name only, and if de­vel­op­ers adopt them as quickly as they should, App Clips will usher in a whole new way of in­stalling apps.

Ap­ple didn’t an­nounce App Clips for Ap­ple Watch, but they make even more sense there. Even with an on-watch store and a list view for the hon­ey­comb home screen, find­ing apps to buy and use isn’t all that pleas­ant on the Ap­ple Watch. But App Clips could be a game-changer, turn­ing app dis­cov­ery into a smart, ef­fort­less ex­ten­sion of the watch face with tools that ar­rive when we need them and dis­ap­pear when we don’t. We wouldn’t need to load up out watch with apps we rarely, and most im­por­tantly, App Clips would take

the fo­cus off apps on put it where it be­longs: the watch face and com­pli­ca­tions.

The fu­ture of apps

Of course, apps aren’t go­ing any­where for a while. In fact, Ap­ple is launch­ing a brand-new one in iOS 14 called Trans­late that does what you’d ex­pect: help you learn and com­mu­ni­cate in for­eign lan­guages. As it stands you’ll need to open it and in­ter­act with it like any other app, but it’s easy to see a fu­ture where it just works with­out need­ing the app.

While the Trans­late app is for the iPhone now, it’s much more suited for Ap­ple’s al­ways-on and al­wayscon­nected wear­ables. Trans­late could be built into fu­ture AirPods as a sort of Ba­bel Fish that au­to­mat­i­cally trans­lates into your na­tive tongue when it de­tects another lan­guage. Or your Ap­ple Watch could use Siri to trans­late on demand. And a fu­ture pair of Ap­ple glasses could trans­late signs and im­ages just by look­ing at them.

Trans­late is a per­fect ex­am­ple of how apps could evolve be­yond, well, apps. Just like App Clips, fu­ture apps could be in­te­grated into the sys­tem like (or with) Siri

and just work with­out need­ing to launch an app. Maps could be ready when we get in our car. Ap­ple Mu­sic or Spo­tify when you start a run or pop in your AirPods. Or Tar­get when you walk into the name­sake store. And with Ap­ple sil­i­con soon pow­er­ing ev­ery de­vice, switch­ing be­tween them will be seam­less and dy­namic.

Of course, Ap­ple has to get through the Mac’s tran­si­tion, but once that’s done, apps are next. It’s not that they’re go­ing away. We’re al­ways go­ing to need a place to play mu­sic, browse stores and get di­rec­tions, but the way we ac­cess those tools could be very dif­fer­ent in a few short years.

Trans­late is an app now, but it won’t be for­ever

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.