In today’s quickly evolving tech landscape, the hot devices consumers have to have are only as good as the operating system that powers them. It’s because of this that Apple and Google continue to innovate with their new OS releases.
Case in point? The newest operating system release from Google, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and Apple’s much-lauded release, iOS 9. Of course, each platform has its own particular bells and whistles to get buyers excited. But both platforms have new enhancements that focus on a few key areas: deep linking, connected devices, the enterprise, and enhanced developer tools.
The potential for both operating systems is great, but before taking a deep dive into either one, here are four quick things you should know about the new OSs in town.
Need-to-Know #1: Deep Linking is Now Standard.
Both Android Marshmallow and iOS 9 have invested in the standardizing of “deep linking.” Both platforms will now make it much easier to connect apps together, improving the user experience and increasing the reliance on mobile apps (while also preventing the need for users to switch to mobile Web). For example, if you read a movie review on the IMDB app and want to buy tickets, the Fandango app can bring you directly to the checkout page for the movie. iOS added a back button to make it easier to jump back to the IMDB app in that example, whereas on Android you would use the existing back button functionality.
Need-to-Know #2: Connected Devices Continue to Rule With Android Marshmallow and iOS 9.
The Internet of Things isn’t going away any time soon – and that means connected devices are a very important consideration for both Marshmallow and iOS 9. Both Android Marshmallow and iOS boast enhancements that make app development easier for devices beyond smartphones and tablets.
Apple is expected to update Apple TV with a special version of iOS 9. There are, of course, the updates to the Apple Watch as well, such as HealthKit. And they’ve expanded HomeKit, including custom triggers based on actions and time of day, additional sensor and device support, and new predefined scene types, such as getting up and leaving for work.
Both platforms also added enhancements that are useful for the car: Apple debuted wireless CarPlay support, and Google unveiled a voice API for app developers. Though the voice API can be used in regular phone or tablet apps as well, it seems especially useful for the car, in Android Wear, as well as in the living room for Android TV. In a complimentary move, Google also added support for 4K TVs and native 64-bit ARMv8 support, both of which will be useful for new device types.
Need-to-Know #3: Apple and Google Have Their Eye on the Enterprise.
Both Apple and Google have their eyes on bigger fish than can be found in the consumer pool. The new iPad multitasking support in iOS 9 could be a boon for the usage of the iPad in the workplace. On the other side of the aisle, Google has also invested further in Android for Work, with additional functionality mostly focused on device management. Android Marshmallow and iOS 9 have just started to open doors to a larger group of users outside of the traditional consumer sphere.
Need-to-Know #4: These Releases Are a Developer’s Dream.
Many new developer tools are being released to accelerate app development. In fact, between both platforms, thousands of new APIs have been added. Apple, with the release and open sourcing of Swift2, wants this to be the language of choice no matter which platform a developer targets.
Companies today are struggling to hire skilled iOS developers, and the lack of resources is partly due to the learning curve of Objective-C. Swift will help accelerate the onboarding of new iOS developers. Even with the learning curve, Apple has more than 1.5 million apps in its App Store, so expect this number to continue to grow.
For its developers, Google has opened up a number of APIs to allow for the creation of new experiences, such as the fingerprint sensor as well as a new way to share app data with social contacts. Both platforms have also improved search and discovery for developers.
Similar to Google, Apple now has an API to add content from within an app into Spotlight (search) results, even if the app isn’t installed. Siri can leverage this data, and in Android M, Google’s “Now on Tap” lets developers add additional contextual information via an “assistant” API.
Overall, Apple and Google continue to battle it out for the benefit of their consumers, employees and developers, who will begin to see more intelligent, context-aware and interconnected applications running on a variety of platforms and devices.