Apple ushers in new UI era, says Edinburgh developer

Overshadowed by the hyperbole surrounding Apple’s watch (cost: £299 – £12,000) was the announcement of the company’s new MacBook (though that, too, garnered its share of polarising reaction).

But the MacBook is interesting for reasons other than just its slimness, single charging/connection port and gold colour option. It features a new trackpad that employs Apple’s so-called ‘Taptic Engine’ (revealed at the first Apple Watch event last September).

It signals the company’s intention to spread a distinctive – and potentially transformative – user interface (UI) across its product range.

From the mouse on the original Mac, to the click-wheeel on the first iPod, through to multi-touch on the iPhone and iPad, Apple has a reputation for popularising innovative ways for people to interact with computers.

Likewise, the trackpad ushers in new capabilities and new possibilities; the addition of an iPad ‘pro’, for example, with sophisticated keyboard, editing and drawing features.

Apple’s event on 9 March sparked huge interest among consumers and developers, including xDesign, an award winning mobile application and digital solution developer based in Edinburgh.

“There are two elements of note for us, as app developers, in Apple’s recent announcement,” said Ben Hutton, the company’s client services director.

“Firstly; the wide scale and immediate adoption of the Taptic Engine into the Macbook line-up, alongside the Apple Watch, shows that this technology is going to become ubiquitous across the Apple line-up and all but confirms its inclusion in the future iPhone 6 ‘S’ version.

“Therefore, as app developers we need to keep one eye on how we can [make] iOS projects future-proofed or upgradeable to make the most of this new navigation method.

“Just as swipe and gestures have become the norm, app developers will now have to consider how ‘force’ can be brought into the default design fold.”

But also for xDesign, Apple’s watch could not be ignored: “Secondly, we finally have an official release date for the Apple Watch!

“So now we have a release date for our client’s new Apple Watch-based dating app – one of, if not the, first dating apps to be released for that platform and taking advantage of the features, portability and immediacy that Apple Watch offers.”