Update from Mobile Technology Advisor
Summertime, for many of the organisations within the Karten Network marks a time to enjoy some well-earned rest, to reflect on all that was achieved, the lessons learned and to start thinking about the future. Apple and Google at their respective developer conferences have announced what they have install for the coming year.
From Google we can expect to see a faster more secure version of Android, codenamed Nougat. This latest version amongst many improvements and new features such as multi-window Support, enhanced notifications and new emojis also has an improved accessibility features. Vision settings are now also directly on the Welcome screen for new device setup.
Looking a bit further into the future, Android Nougat supports integration with Google’s new mobile Virtual Reality platform, Daydream. It will be exciting to see what evolves from Daydream in the next year or two.
There have been more developments on Google’s Project Ara – aimed at developing a modular smartphone. This system would allow you to easily interchange components rather than purchasing a new phone. A beta version of this is expected to be released later this year.
Google also announced “Android Instant Apps” which allows people to access apps, or strictly speaking a part of an app that they need to complete a task without actually installing an app. This opens up a number of possibilities for both users and developers and hints at a potential change to how all the major app stores will function in the future. Apple too has announced changes to its app store model recently.
Lastly, Google announced two new apps, Allo and Duo, available for Android and iOS in the coming months. Allo is a feature rich messenger app with an accompanying intelligent chat bot. While it may be a little unnerving to have an artificial intelligence helper as part of your conversations, it is expected that this will make conversations quicker and easier – time will tell. Allo is associated with a mobile number so no Google account will be needed to use it, this does however mean, at least for now it is limited to mobile phones only.
Duo is Google’s video chat app, similar to Apple’s Facetime app. Duo was built by the same team that created WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) and is reported to have extremely good video compression and data handling allowing calls to made even on low bandwidth networks. Duo’s has an easy to use interface and a feature called "Knock Knock" that allows the person you’re calling to see a video preview of you before they even answer. As with Allo, Duo is associated with a mobile number so no Google account will be needed to use it.
From Apple we can expect to see improvements to Apple Watch. WatchOS 3 introduces a new Dock for easier access to apps and the ability to launch apps instantly. Navigation has been improved and there is a new Control Center. But most significantly, for the first time ever wheelchair users are specifically catered for. WatchOS 3 measures wheelchair pushes contributing to all-day calorie goals and "time to roll" instead of "time to stand" notifications.
Apple unveiled iOS 10, described by Apple CEO Tim Cook as the "biggest release ever". A large number of improvements were made to apps, services, Messages, Siri, Photos, Maps, Apple Music, News, Apple Pay, Control Center etc. The Lock screen has been redesigned with 3D-touch enabled notifications. Messages have been improved to include background animations, bubble effects, rich links, annotate photos and videos, hidden "invisible ink" messages and predictive emoji.
It's also now possible to delete almost all pre-installed apps that are unneeded – although technically speaking they are hidden rather than deleted.
The keyboard in iOS 10 now has contextual predictions making intelligent suggestions based on information like location and calendar availability or contacts.
Apple announced a number of accessibility improvements. tvOS used in Apple TV is now switch accessible.
New display and colour adjustments including the option to tint the entire display on a Mac, Apple TV, and iOS device, has been added. This increases the contrast and reading ability.
Taptic Time is a new VoiceOver feature on watchOS 3 uses a series of distinct vibrations to silently and discreetly help someone tell the time.
iOS 10 has a new Magnifier feature that enables someone to use the camera to magnify objects in their physical environment. Various colour filters can be enabled to increase contrast of the image.
iOS 10 now allows for Software TTY calls to be placed without any additional hardware. In addition to a new built-in TTY-specific QuickType keyboard and predictions. Finally, Improvements have been made in iOS 10 to Speak Selection and Speak Screen.
iOS 10 is expected to be released later this year. However, there are already significant changes in iOS 9.3, most notably the focus on new features and tools specifically designed to support education. This primarily consists of, Apple School Manager, Managed Apple IDs, Shared iPad, and the new Classroom app.
The Classroom app (available in the App Store) is a new iPad app that is installed on the teacher’s iPad and uses a combination of Bluetooth and wireless to guide learning, share work and manage student devices.
Apple School Manager, a web portal of tools hosted by Apple that enables you to support the deployment, use and management of Apple devices. It also allows you to create Managed Apple ID’s. These are designed to meet the needs of educational institutions and are owned and controlled by each school/college.
The new Shared iPad feature which enables multiple students to share the same iPad using their Managed Apple ID. This functionality is enabled as part of the device enrolment process and most probably used in combination with your Mobile Device Management (MDM) system. Ideally with a local OS X Server's Caching Server. There is still some uncertainly in practice how many users can truly be supported per device due to storage constraints, especially if the Managed Apple ID iCloud accounts are limited to 5GB of storage each.
Whether an attempt to counter Google’s rapidly growing market share, particularly with the use of Chromebooks in the US educational setting, or purely an initiative driven by Apple CEO Tim Cook one thing is clear, the changes in iOS 9.3 and iOS 10 marks a significant change to support the use of iPads within the educational context.
It would be great if there are centres that could share their experience and any resources they have with Apple Education and Mobile Device Management systems. These would be a welcome addition to the Karten Network Mobile Technology Resource. Or you can email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org