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New Testing Challenges of iOS 9-based Applications

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After some initial issues with downloads, iOS 9 finally landed on Wednesday, September 16. For the first time an iOS launch has not left any device behind, which means that anyone with an iPhone 4S to the new 6S and 6S Plus; as well as second, third and fourth generation iPads, iPad Airs, Minis and the newly released iPad Pro can receive the update. The latest and greatest mobile operating platform from Cupertino brings a host of new features for iPhone and iPad users, and for developers a new set of frameworks and changes to learn.

3D Touch

As well as launching a new iOS, Apple has continued its usual handset refresh routine by releasing the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. The big news for users besides the new camera and faster processor is 3D Touch. 3D Touch is the same technology as used on the Apple Watch wearable device (originally called Force Touch) and makes the screen pressure sensitive. It offers additional layers to the iOS 9 interface. At the moment 3D Touch has only been used on a handful of Apple’s proprietary apps such as launching quick options in the camera app and Peek and Pop in Safari. Peek and Pop allows a webpage to be held down to get an initial view, press harder and the full Safari app is launched on the page that was pressed.

3D Touch may not have made its way to all of Apple’s devices yet, but you can be sure it will. Just as Apple Pay and Touch ID have become central to the iOS operating system, 3D Touch will follow soon. For enterprises, there is no time like the present to start thinking about and including 3D Touch in their apps. 3D Touch offers a completely new way for users to interact with an app, and in doing so creates a sea of possibilities.

iPad

Perhaps the biggest changes for iOS 9 are for iPad users. For many years they have been almost neglected by Apple as focus has been primarily on the iPhone. Apple’s clear push into the enterprise with deals with Cisco and IBM has changed that. Now the iPad is receiving a major makeover. The big changes here include:

  • Slide over — Allows users of certain iPads to quickly interact with a secondary app while still keeping the current one open
  • Split view — Allows users of iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and Pro to use two apps side by side
  • Picture in picture — Lets users watch a video that floats above the on screen apps

iPad has also received a new feature for their keyboards with the ability to use a track pad on the screen to find and highlight text. Long requested by iOS power users, again this feature shows that Apple is taking the enterprise market very seriously when it comes to the iPad. Enterprise focused apps will need to keep up!

Siri

Since its launch back in 2011, Siri has barely progressed beyond offering very basic features and functions. Having been surpassed by both Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana, iOS 9 aims to put Siri back on top by offering a smattering of new features. Features that will require apps to adopt new APIs and alter how they are searched.

Privacy

As with the enterprise, privacy is also a major focus for Apple. In its ongoing war with Google and Facebook, Apple wants to make sure it can always take the higher ground and claim to protect users’ privacy. For the app development industry, this means compliance with Apple’s strict code of conduct and making sure that the correct indexes are used. Any issues with this could see an app develop new and additional glitches or even be rejected from the App Store.

Privacy is also high on the agenda for Apple Pay, which also received an update. With $12 billion a day spent on payment cards in the US alone, Apple is keen to tap into this huge market. Apple Wallet (the new name for Passbook) can now be accessed from the lock screen for users to access both payment and discount cards.

Even for the world’s richest company, software updates can cause problems and iOS 9 has been no different. Despite being available to download for developers, and for the first time a public beta program, iOS 9 left some users frothing at the mouth with rage as they struggled to download it. Ensuring your app doesn’t anger users will mean carrying out rigorous app testing before, during and after an app is launched into the App Store.

 Regression testing

Although Apple has made it clear what changes need to enable these new features, adding them is only half the story. A large part of any stage of app development will also include testing, ensuring the customer experience has not been damaged. Automated regression testing enables businesses and enterprises to check that their apps are running just as well on iOS 9 as with iOS 8.

However, with more devices getting iOS 9 than with previous updates, costs for regression testing will be higher than before. One way to control these costs, while still delivering a solid user experience, is with an automated testing script that is reusable across multiple devices. By saving both money and time, developers can instead focus on fixing apps and adding new features.

With support for both open source tools such as eggPlant, Calabash, Robotium, Selenium and SoapUI as well as commercial tools such as Perfecto Mobile and HP Quick Test, our mobile testing services can help ensure your app is iOS 9 ready in no time. Regardless of the tools you may use.

To find out more about our mobile testing tools and services contact us here.

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