2020 has been a year that has truly tested all the preconceived notions many organizations have had about technology in the workplace, and even where employees can do their best and most efficient work. With so many of these abrupt changes, it has become increasingly clear that technology has become the entire employee experience.
In this vein, the steady march of alignment between Apple’s macOS, iOS, and iPadOS has been particularly useful for improving the employee experience in the new normal. There are at least a few recent advancements that stand out in particular:
- Universal Apps, which give developers the tools to create a great app experience across all of Apple’s main productivity operating systems
- Continuity features like Sidecar, Universal Clipboard, Handoff, Auto Unlock, and Instant Hotspot
- Automatic Switching for AirPods
…just to name a few!
From the day the App Store was released for macOS in 2011, following the release of iOS in 2008, there was a clear opportunity for developers to have tools that would help them build consistent app experiences across macOS and iOS from developer tools to look and feel, and even though to distribution. Since 2011, there has been a long journey behind the scenes in macOS and iOS — and now iPadOS — to allow for this idealized scenario.
Through multiple frameworks and layers of development kits, it is now possible for developers to build one app, that has multiple layouts and affordances for different screen sizes and operating systems, that can be distributed as a single app. This is exciting for end-users who benefit from a cogent app experience across all of their devices, and it’s also a huge boon for IT departments who need to create environments that maximize user productivity with as much simplicity as possible.
Many people use multiple devices interchangeably throughout the day, and the awareness that iPhone, iPad, and Mac have of one another is really quite amazing from a productivity perspective. Whether copying important information from an email that was quickly glanced at from iPhone and pasting it into a calendar invite on a Mac seamlessly with Universal Clipboard, or even temporarily using an iPad as a secondary display at a coffee shop with Sidecar, moving from device to device based on the task at hand couldn’t be easier.
Other features like Auto Unlock with Apple Watch make signing into a Mac faster than ever, which gives precious time back to the user multiple times per day. While on the go, users can even connect to their iPhone hotspot on the fly with Instant Hotspot. When summed up, all of these small workflow improvements can total a serious return in time saved over the course or a month or a year for the end-user - and that’s a clear benefit for everyone.
Automatic Switching with AirPods
It would be a mistake to not mention AirPods in all of this discussion of workflow improvement, as they have become an instrumental part of the user experience in this new world of remote work, learning, and care. From video calling, to listening to music while trying to focus, or even answering phone calls from others, we’re frequently interacting with audio across our range of devices — just like apps across platforms. Frequently, we need to move from one device to another the instant something pops up or we change contexts at the top of the hour. Automatic Switching makes this simple, and possible, with Apple’s new operating systems.
Today’s world moves fast, and employees and users are moving fast with it. They want a seamless experience across their devices and the ability to effortlessly use them at the same time. With the work Apple has done in recent years, combined with more enhancements through iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, users are getting more done, better.
Overall, it has never been easier to use all of Apple’s devices in a streamlined way across a number of different workflows. With all of the SDK work over the last decade, the steady march of new continuity features, and the inclusion of accessories into the overall experience, users can have a first-class experience regardless of what their task is on any given day - no matter which Apple device they’re using!
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