Get ready for simpler designs and new features on your smartphone apps, with developers applying the stripped-down concepts they employed for the Apple Watch.
When building an app for Apple Watch, Mikael Berner and his team at EasilyDo quickly learned that their work could carry over to the iPhone.
The EasilyDo developers found it sometimes took too long for users to find the information they wanted in the company’s namesake app — which acts as a virtual assistant by managing your email, calendar, travel information and services like LinkedIn. When you’re wearing a smartwatch, you need to be able to glance down and see what you’re looking for without digging through menus.
Deciding that also made sense on the iPhone, the developers restructured their smartphone app to also be “more micro-moment,” said EasilyDo CEO Berner, showing quick glances of information that’s relevant to what you’re doing at a particular time. If you’re heading out on vacation, it won’t display a menu with all of your travel information, as the phone app did before. Instead, EasilyDo will notify you about gate changes or pop up your boarding pass while you’re in the airport. It then will display your hotel’s address after you land or provide other information based on what you need in that moment.
Apple Watch hasn’t hit the market yet, but its tiny screen is already changing how our iPhone apps look and feel. Some of the simple, “glanceable” functions found on Apple’s first wearable will make their way to smartphone apps, as will more minimalist designs. And it’s not just about making the phone and watch apps work together seamlessly, but actually incorporating watch features — like new functions and different design schemes — in the iPhone. The result, developers hope, is less digging through menus and a streamlined experience for users.
“A large population is going to get used to the nibbling the watch lets them do,” Berner said.
Not all companies will make tweaks to their iPhone apps that are obvious to users, but others, such as EasilyDo, American Airlines, BetterWorks, Citi and Evernote, are making changes to their main phone software because of the watch.
Apple Watch, which Apple first unveiled in September, costs $349 to $17,000 and hits the market on April 24. The device — which comes in three models, two sizes, a couple metal finishes per model, and with various bands — requires an iPhone 5 or later device to operate and can do very little when not connected to a smartphone.
Blackberry-owned company Secusmart has unveiled a new tablet in collaboration with Samsung and IBM.
The Secutablet is “based on” the Samsung Galaxy 10.5 and runs on Samsung hardware, the firm said.
The additional security it offers is aimed at businesses and governments, but less vigorously protected social media and video platforms can also be used on the device, Secusmart added.
The tablet is likely to be priced at $2,380 (£1,609), according to reports.
The Secutablet is compatible with Blackberry 10 and is currently undergoing security certification at the German Federal Office for Information Security.
It incorporates IBM’s “app wrapping” technology which adds extra layers of security to sensitive data.
“Security is ingrained in every part of Blackberry’s portfolio, which includes voice and data encryption solutions,” said Dr Hans-Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart GmbH, a Blackberry company.
Blackberry’s Playbook tablet has not been a big hit for the firm
“Subject to certification of the Secutablet, German government agencies will have a new way to access Blackberry’s most secure and complete communications network in the world.”
Blackberry has struggled in the tablet market, and its PlayBook device did not hit sales targets when it was launched in 2010.
It acquired German voice and data encryption firm Secusmart, in December 2014, and the Secutablet was unveiled at tech fair CeBit in Hanover at the weekend.
“Historically Blackberry has been strong in Germany because of its high-end security offerings,” said analyst Nick McQuire, vice-president of enterprise at analyst CCS Insight.
“Clearly the Secutablet is designed to play into Blackberry’s core focus of high grade security.
“The price point is quite expensive – part of the target base is going to be people who can afford to deploy a tablet at that price,” Mr McQuire added.
“It’s aimed at businesses and sectors where security is paramount. Let’s not fool ourselves, this is a very limited solution for a very specific area of the marketplace.”
There has also been speculation that the device will be Android-powered because of the Samsung hardware.
“It is highly likely – but not confirmed – that it will run on Android given that Samsung is a partner, and given Blackberry’s focus on becoming more of a cross-platform security company,” Mr McQuire said.
“One of the things they will want to be known for is to be a mobile security company. Even in the Secusmart business, you can’t be entirely platform specific.
“You want to be as secure as you possibly can but you also want to be user friendly.”
The Secutablet might face competition from the likes of privacy platform Silent Circle, which unveiled the next generation of its security-focused smartphone Blackphone 2 at Mobile World Congress in March, Mr McQuire said.