The lines between digital, mobile, technology and apps are blurring in today’s world. We at Robosoft are keen followers of developments in this arena. Here’s a quick summary of what’s buzzing:
Macbook Pro and Touch Bar
Apple unveiled a new generation of MacBook Pros during the “Hello Again” event held on 27 October. A slimmer case, no ports except USB-C faster chips and replacing the function keys at the top of the keyboard with a ‘touch bar’ were the talking points. The Touch Bar is a slim, matt OLED touch panel which has a fingerprint reader, supporting log-in and Apple Pay. There is a lot of buzz on the web about this being merely evolutionary and not revolutionary – a charge thrown at Apple for a while now.
The API for the Touch Bar is now available for the developers to extend the capabilities of their app to the Touch Bar in whatever way they think it would be useful.
However, as a developer, there are strict guidelines while playing around with the Touch Bar API:
- Design a contextual experience.
- Use the Touch Bar as an extension of the keyboard and trackpad, not as a display.
- Strive to match the look of the physical keyboard. For the rest of the guidelines you can check here.
Microsft Surface Studio
It was the turn of Microsoft to host an event, which garnered a lot of online buzz. Aside from updating its Surface line of tablet PCs, Microsoft showcased a desktop version, the ‘Surface Studio’, with a 28″ touch screen that can pivot to become a drawing board with Microsoft’s pen. The Surface Studio drew instant comparisons to the iMac and is seen as an attempt to woo the creative professionals.
Google launches new developer tools
Just a few days ago Google launched a set of new tools to improve collaboration and productivity for app designers and developers. Centered around material design, the three new tools offer:
- Gallery – helps developers to upload, share and comment on designs.
- Stage – speeds up the prototype processing allowing the developers to test dynamic designs at the early development stages.
- Remixer – helps refine smaller aspects of interface design like color palette, animation timing and more on the fly.
Developers who want to try out the new tools would have to sign up for the Material early access program or give Remixer a try, available at Github.
Customized customer services get easier
In a recent press release, IBM announced that professionals could now combine enterprise mobile apps with IBM Watson to help increase the productivity and improve the experience of enterprise employees. The IBM Watson technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to support human interactions with intelligent bots. Here are a few examples, explained by the company, on how professionals can benefit from IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps combined with Watson:
- Using the Passenger+ app flight attendants can gain a better insight of the travellers personality and customise the inflight services tailored for the passenger.
- Retail centric Sales Assist app can be used by retail professionals to gather data from customer databases and product forums to deliver information on a buyer’s unique tastes.
- Financial advisors can also take advantage of Watson’s deep learning technology to conduct a highly targeted market research and analysis to equip investors with bespoke recommendations.
Is this the end of smartwatch?
According to a new report from IDC, the market for smartwatch is experiencing a decline. The report also explains that the decline is not because no one wants a smartwatch, it’s actually the opposite. People are waiting to buy the latest generation of the smartwatch, in this case the Apple Watch that was announced in September. With the holiday shopping season arriving soon, there are good chances that people will buy it as gifts. Another possible factor for the declining smartwatch sales figure could be the huge time gap between the announcement and the release of the device. As said by Jitesh Ubrani of IDC, it’s important for the vendors to differentiate the experience between a smartphone and a smartwatch.