4 things developers need to know about iOS 11

Apple latest mobile operating system, iOS 11, is now live. With it, Apple shares its vision of what mobile devices should do for us in the upcoming next years. Let’s make a quick review of 4 things developers need to know about Apple’s software update:

CoreML

Core ML_iOS 11

Machine learning has been one of the greatest advances in the last years, and the main tool used for object recognition, speech to text, and many other tools that help us in our lives on a daily basis.

Although CoreML is not a Machine Learning framework, it allows to easily import existing models into your application. According to Apple “Core ML delivers blazingly fast performance with easy integration of machine learning models enabling you to build apps with intelligent new features using just a few lines of code.”

Apple iBeacon vs Google Eddystone

Google Eddystone

Good news

Eddystone has arrived to boost the proximity market and paves the way for a world full of context-aware applications. Google has addressed all the flaws detected by the community in the Apple iBeacon specification, meaning that even more companies and developers are going to create useful products using all the expertise that has been gathered over the last two years.

Differences

These are the key features that Eddystone brings:

NFC vs Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Background on BLE.

BLE’s first specifications were created at the Nokia Research Centre with the name WiBree. Later on, this technology was adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) and was renamed Bluetooth Ultra Low-Power. The basic idea was to integrate a very low power demanding wireless technology into small devices such as heart rate sensors, or other kinds of devices that needed to run on a button battery for years or months.

However, there is a small inconvenience. Bluetooth Low Energy is not compatible with earlier versions of Bluetooth (commonly called “classic”). Although mobile devices compatible with BLE often include the previous version of Bluetooth as well, in order to avoid such incompatibility, in smaller sensors and devices this is not possible because of size and energy constraints, and are not able to work together with a non-BLE compatible mobile device.

Bringing iBeacon support to Android

Beacons weren't born with Apple iBeacon

All the Beacon BLE phenomenon exploted since Apple introduced the iBeacon support on iOS 7. However, all the Bluetooth Low Energy technology and the possibility of creating stand-alone devices emmiting its own ID 24/7, were available before the iBeacon support on iOS. Most modern Android Phones have the necessary hardware and software to detect BLE Beacons, however Android does not provide developers the tools to facilitate the work in order to create an App that does not drain the battery (except in the not-yet-released Android L), like iOS does.

The Google solution

Google is aware of the need to provide a native support for Beacon scanning and discovery, so they have dramatically improved Bluetooth Low Energy beacon detection on the latest iteration of the Android Operating System (Android L). This version of the OS will allow developers to rely on the OS the beacon detection , like iOS does. However, Android will provide more flexibility to developers regarding the kind of beacons detected. The main problem about going with Google solution is that it will be available only for the L version of Android. A version that has not been released yet and due to the nature of this operating system, its market share will not be relevant until a year from now, taking into account the adoption rate of the latest released version (KitKat).

Bluetooth Low Energy vs Wi-Fi

NFCvsWiFI

Despite the fact that until now these two technologies have been used for very different purposes, for some time Wi-Fi signals have been used to gain insights about physical locations, such as retail stores. From this perspective, we are going to compare below the main differences between Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi.

How Wi-Fi tracking works

Most people have in their pockets a mobile phone with the Wi-Fi turned on, which means it is constantly looking for Wi-Fi networks. This active seeking of Wi-Fi networks is used by retailers to detect the presence of customers in the store, or in the surrounding area. Users do not have to manually connect to any network, in fact the whole the process is done without any user intervention.

How Bluetooth Low Energy works.

The seeking of signals is done in the opposite way: Bluetooth Low Energy devices (e.g. mobile phones) are constantly looking for signals of Bluetooth Beacons. When these signals are detected, some actions are triggered in the device – actions such as showing context-aware content (messages, images, etc.) –