App Accessibility for All

App Accessibility: Valuable for All Apps

App accessibility refers to the concept of building an app in such a way that it is usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, including those who are living with disabilities. While the ADA’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 standards do not specifically address mobile apps, we think app accessibility is the right thing to do on many levels. Even from a pragmatic perspective, one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, so overlooking app accessibility reduces your potential user base significantly. Read More

Top Tech Disruption Timeline

Top 10 Tech Disruptions over the Past 10 Years

A disruptive technology could be defined as one that displaces an established technology, thereby shaking up an industry and reshaping the trajectory of its future. It could also be a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that we have seen a significant number of tech disruptions in a relatively short time. In honor of our ten-year anniversary as a company (today!!), we thought we would take a look back over the past ten years and highlight those technologies that have had – and continue to have – significant impact on the way we live, work, and play. Read More

Product Companion App - monkii

Using Mobile Apps to Enhance a Physical Product: The monkii App

Apps are a regular part of life these days, doing everything from connecting us to friends to helping us buy products we like to guiding our adventures in a new town. Most of the time, apps stand alone in their functionality, but apps can also be utilized to enhance user experience with a physical product. We recently built such a companion app for fitness company, monkii.co, and you might find your company’s product could benefit from something similar. When done well, a product/app combination can lead to new market opportunities and increased sales. Read More

Travel Apps

Great Travel Apps for Summer 2017

Summer officially starts this week! For some, summer means loading up the station wagon and hitting the road, while others take to the sky to visit faraway destinations. Wherever you are headed this summer, even if you’re staying local, you can learn more about your destination and get the most out of your time away with the help of some cool mobile apps. We’ve tested some travel apps to help you plan, stay safe, and enjoy your vacation. Read More

WWDC Keynote Image

Apple 2017 WWDC Keynote Highlights

This week Apple is hosting its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California. It is Apple’s opportunity to preview new technologies for Macs, Apple TVs, Apple Watches, iPhones, and iPads that will make it into consumer hands this fall. The week kicked off yesterday with the always anticipated WWDC keynote address. From iOS 11 to a new iMac Pro to numerous software upgrades for MacOS and WatchOS, there were no shortage of announcements. Here are a few highlights: Read More

Mobile Device Security iOS and Android

Mobile Device Security: Data Protection on iOS and Android

Mobile device security is an important consideration in the digital age, given the high amount of time many of us spend using phones and tablets to conduct personal and corporate business. Android and iOS devices employ various security measures to keep data safe. In this post we compare two security methods used on both devices: data encryption and data accessibility. We’ll wrap up with recommendations for steps you can take to protect your data and improve your mobile device security. Read More

Impact of OS Updates

How Do OS Updates Impact Apps?

Operating System (OS) updates are a regular part of the computing world, but they often have implications on the software that rides on top of them. Apple unveiled iOS 10, its latest operating system for iPhones and iPads in mid-June this year, with the public release occurring on September 13th. Similarly, Google released their beta build of Android 7 called Nougat in mid-March, with a release to the public on August 22nd. These new mobile OS releases are much-anticipated around here, bringing fresh features that our developers look forward to using.

In addition to the excitement that comes with new tech, the new releases also bring some questions. Many of our clients rightly ask whether or not an update will impact the functionality of an app they built on a previous OS. The answer is generally “It might!” It’s always a wise idea to take a look at existing code to ensure it will function as well on a new OS as it did when it was first written. Our Android and iOS developers share a few of the challenges created by a new OS version. Read More

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Digital Assistants: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence

This month Apple signaled its commitment to advance the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in its products with the acquisition of tech startup Turi, a machine learning platform for developers. The move follows a growing trend by major tech companies such as IBM and Google to create and implement more advanced technology in the growing Chatbot industry.

For those new to the term, a ‘bot’ is simply software that’s been designed to automate tasks. Chatbots (from Chatter + Robot) take this to next level by simulating human conversation, making it seem as though you are talking with a human as you use the bot. While programs that recognize and respond to language have been around for decades, they have become a standard offering in consumer devices in more recent years. These programs use natural language processing, the ability to understand and use human conversational phrases, to interact with humans on simple tasks. Nearly all users of smartphones or messaging apps have experienced this technology, the most well-known being Siri by Apple, Alexa by Amazon, and Cortana by Microsoft. Read More

Swift Playgrounds Homepage

Swift Playgrounds Makes Learning to Code Fun

Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds, an app designed to teach the Swift programming language, at WWDC 2016. We’ve had a chance to experiment with it since then, and can say without reservation that their first foray into teaching kids how to code deserves top marks. They have enabled learning to code to be fun and addictive, even for those who aren’t the “coding type.”

The app feels like a puzzle-solving game, reeling you into the challenge while introducing coding concepts and building skills step-by-step. After completing a challenge and receiving encouraging praise from the app, we found we were motivated and eager to move on to the next one. One tester expected to finish two or three challenges to get a feel for the app, but ended up finishing over fifteen lessons because she was so engaged with it. The pace, lesson structure, and challenges all prove to be well-designed from an instructional standpoint. This app will likely teach many future programmers how to code. Read More

iOS or Android: Which First?

iOS or Android: Which platform first?

A common question we receive is whether we recommend building both iOS and Android versions of an app at the same time or just one at a time. And if they are built at different times, should iOS or Android app development come first? We touch on this question in Chapter 3 of our book Inspiring Apps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps, but will provide more insight on this debated topic here.

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