Codal’s Takes On Apple Event 2017
Sean McGowanSeptember 14th, 20173 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
Earlier this week, millions of people around the world tuned in to watch Apple Event 2017, a mixture of rock concert, press conference, and two-hour Apple commercial that debuted the latest products offerings from the most successful company in history.
We’re sure you’ve already heard all about the new tech unveiled—the Series 3 Apple Watch, the Apple TV 4K, and the iPhone 8. We’re sure you know all about the iPhone X (tough break, iPhone 9). We’re sure you’ve heard how most critics agreed the event had all of the Jobsian style, but little of the substance.
But as a Chicago digital agency, we’re more curious about how these new products will affect the tech landscape. As a UX design company, we want to view Apple Event ‘17 through a user experience lens. As a mobile development agency, we’re wondering what sort of apps will appear now that, in just a few short months, a sizable demographic of people will have an AR device in their pocket.
We only got a glimpse of the tech leader’s latest line of products, but here’s Codal’s early takes on a few highlights from Apple Event 2017.
A New Watch-Centric Wave
The most notable takeaway from the Apple Watch segment of Cook’s demonstration was the new cellular connectivity. Before Series 3, the Apple Watch was essentially useless as a standalone device—it needed to have Wi-Fi access or be within Bluetooth range of an iPhone.
Apple Watch, Series 3
That’s no longer the case, and the seriously upgraded connectivity opens up a variety of new avenues. Being an application development firm, we’ve designed and developed for the Apple Watch before, mostly in biometric use cases, but most of our UXers & engineers are predicting an uptick in watch-centric apps.
In fact, Apple’s already taken the first step for this, creating an application for Apple Music that’s fully compatible with the Apple Watch interface. It isn’t hard to imagine that most of these watch-centric platforms will have use cases in physical fitness too, especially with the Apple Watch’s improved biometric sensors like the upgraded heart rate monitor.
While many of our UX designers in Chicago found Apple Event 2017 to be a bit underwhelming, we were interested in the new AR capabilities available in the iPhone 8. While the three use cases shown—gaming, sabermetrics, and stargazing—were particularly enthralling, we envisioned a few other applications we’d love to design and develop for.
AR has some incredibly exciting use cases in just about every sectors, from eCommerce to manufacturing.
For example, Codal recently designed and engineered a platform for Showroom Squared, the furniture showroom of the future. Imagine you wanted to see what a chair or couch would look like in your living room. If the Showroom app had AR capability, you could do exactly that, overlaying the furniture atop a real-time video of the room.
In fact, IKEA has already spent tons of time capitalizing on UX research services to roll out a similar feature using Apple’s AR kit.
Let's Talk UX
Apple has always maintained a complicated, almost paradoxical relationship with UX. The corporate behemoth’s iconic founder championed design that was simple enough for a child to use, but refused to adhere to the usability conventions of the era.
Steve Jobs preferred the role of a trailblazer, adamantly creating his own design language, then forcing the users to conform. Although this language has since become standardized, it doesn’t seem so long ago that we worried about “switching to Mac” and “having to learn how to use a computer the Apple way”.
While it’s tough for us to judge the UX of the unreleased iOS 11 that the iPhone 8 and X will be running, we can perform some analysis of what we saw at the Steve Jobs theater a few days ago.
We’re a bit skeptical of FaceID, especially after the awkward first demo, where the facial recognition unlock feature didn’t exactly work. In contrast, the new screen looks absolutely gorgeous, and the UI of iOS 11 seems to have improved upon the shortcomings of 10.
No matter how much we laud or criticize Apple’s new products, it seems inevitable that these devices will quickly become commonplace, just as every iPhone had done before.
There are few companies that can makes waves quite like Apple can, and regardless of how you feel about their devices, Codal is excited to see how the tech world will react when they’re finally released.