Apple’s New Big Screen Paradigm

The new iPhone 6 is big. The new iPhone 6 Plus is very big.

Most long time iPhone fans would easily agree with both of those statements. However, after both of those you could easily say “for Apple”. Reason being (and as many Android aficionados will point out), numerous other popular mobile devices have had screen this big or bigger for quite some time. It is a point of derision which is currently making the rounds from Android-focused companies, on social channels and TV ads.

So really, that “for Apple” becomes very important. It’s because of Apple’s previous reticence to produce a big-screened device that the new 4.7” iPhone 6 and 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus screens are such a big deal. So what has happened? Did Apple finally cave to pressures from a market demanding massive phones?

It is certainly possible. That being said, Apple fans have long been comfortable with the idea that their phones are smaller than Android and some Windows phones. Some are even outright opposed to the new models (the 6 Plus in particular) due to their increased size. Regardless, I imagine that Apple fans would’ve been waiting in line to procure the latest device in droves last Friday even without the bigger screens.

This is just a guess, but it seems that what Apple is really trying to do is reinstate the iPhone as a content consumption device. Prior to this latest release, the iPhone had been creeping closer and closer back towards the “old” paradigm of a communication-focused device, whereas iPad was the premier content-focused device.

With gaming and in-app purchases becoming of greater importance, bigger screens are becoming a necessity if you want to increase the ease of adoption outside of a few categories. Right now of the top paid apps on the app store, 50% are games. They are a goldmine for Apple and developers, and they offer the greatest opportunity for recurring revenue. Tim Cook did not let a guy in a scarf play a video game for three minutes during the keynote for no reason.

What does this mean for app developers and for small business owners designing their apps? Content has taken even more of a central focus, and the disparity between good and bad content will be greater than ever. While there are still mobile guidelines that content creators should keep in mind, it is now much easier for iOS users to engage with content. People can feel comfortable that users on iOS devices aren’t struggling to see their content or read more than a few sentences.

Now the flagship devices for both iOS and Android are big. App creators should use that to their advantage.

How to Match App Design to iOS 7

ios7 design

With the recent iOS 7 release some of the biggest buzz has been about the major redesign of UI and app elements. Though it is definitely not necessary, some of you might be interested in matching your app design to this sleek new interface so that it seems to directly integrate into the apple ecosystem. With that in mind, the following steps will help you closely match your app to the new iOS 7 conventions.

1. Simplified Icons

The new iOS 7 app icons are all very simple, flattened representations of the apps they represent (standing in stark contrast to Apple’s older, more realistic icons). To match these icons, you will need a very simplified icon without text. You should also keep it to one color, preferably a black, white or light grey.

2. Gradients

Most of the new design elements incorporate gradient backgrounds. You should make sure that your app icon, splash screen, and background all feature gradients. Note that most of these are soft gradients, so don’t make a radical jump between opposing colors if you want to match the iOS 7 design precisely. Fortunately it’s pretty easy to create a gradient in most image editing programs, and some tools will even do it for you.

3. Elegant Text

Apple has chosen Helvetica Neue as their text of choice for most UI elements due to its sleek, elegant nature. Choose an app font in the Helvetic family to approximate their text.

4. Transparency

Apple has also made many of their menus and containers transparent, allowing the gradient to show through the menus. When creating a menu for your app, make it very light grey and set the transparency high (without making the menu disappear completely).

5. White Space

iOS 7 uses a LOT of white space. You can do the same in your app, which will highlight your multimedia, text and design. Simply make sure that you don’t flood your app with large blocks of text, and follow established mobile writing tips to make everything more streamlined.

There you go! Let us know in the comments if you have any other ideas, or if you have questions about incorporating any of these elements into your mobile app.

The Post-PC Era

post-pc

There have been a flood of stats in recent weeks about the dominant role smartphones and apps are beginning to take in the tech industry at large and in our daily lives. I decided to compile a few of the most interesting and entertaining ones here for your reading pleasure, with links to the original source articles. As a small business or organization the main take away is that smartphones and tablets are proliferating and having an optimized presence on this new leading edge channel becomes more important with each passing month. Most relevant of all is that these devices offer powerful new ways to connect with customers while increasing loyalty, accessibility and revenue. Now on to the stats…