We all know iPhone 7 doesn’t have a lot of changes, except for the obvious one: no jack for your earphones. That’s okay, we’ll get used to it. After all, they offer you the option of an adapter. But, today we’re not talking of this controversial change in iPhone 7, but one that is a more natural one and maybe even expected to come. We’re talking here about a change that came with iOS 10, the iMessage app showing off some new features.
Before, the app was basically an SMS-changing app, like any other phone with other operating systems. But, considering how much popular social media apps are now, maybe Apple has figured out that they should do something about their iMessage app. The change is not only exciting for iPhone users, but actually for app developers as well. Keep on reading to find out what your options are, as an app developer to create content for the new updated iMessage App in iOS 10.
As you might know, when Apple released iOS 8, they also released a feature that is very helpful for developers: App Extensions. What the feature does it lets you create apps that will collaborate with other Apple-like apps. Now, with iOS 10 out, you can use the App Extensions to create the content you want for the iMessage app. The tech giant is being very open-minded with their new update, leaving app developers two options of changing up the app: Apps and Sticker Packs. You can bring out to iMessage and millions of iPhone users out there, new qwerty keypads, stickers, funny interactive messages and even a creative messaging game sort-of app.
We’re not saying Apple is following Facebook’s, or even Skype’s example, but they have now included a similar feature to both these social media outlets.
Related blog: iOS 10 Ready to App Developers – How Is That Possible?
The iMessage app will show off previews of videos or websites when sent within the app. Maybe you can use that in your app-within-an-app development. Another thing you should know is that it hasn’t before been in the App Store, but extension packs will be now available in the App Store along with sticker packs. You should let your imagination run free and get fast on the iMessage train because we’re thinking iPhone users will soon want to personalize their messaging app.
If you’re already interested in creating an app of this sort, then you need to know how App Extensions work. Other from that, you need to pay attention to the APIs that are included in Apple’s Message Framework for iOS 10. These will help you find out what Apple allows and does not allow to be created for their iMessage app. Check them out to figure out if the idea that you thought of is available to be created. We’ll include here a few more important APIs that will give you a general feel about what Apple wants from app developers:
- You can create interactive messages
- You can roll out different custom interfaces
- You can create a new way of sending media and stickers, as well as text in the app
- You can even create your own stickers to be added to the app
Are you stuck on the last API? Well, let’s tell you a little more about sticker packs in the newly updated messaging app. Apple has made things pretty simple for iOS app developers regarding stickers, because they don’t require you to run any code. You just need to drag out the photos you want into Xcode, and… that’s basically it. The company gives developers a helpful tip regarding how Xcode works: they should upload the sticker image three times larger than it will actually be on the phone, because the feature will shrink the picture and will adjust it to the iMessage app. Apple even allows users to search the sticker packs in Applebot. You just need to offer Apple your domain and website so that people can easily find your sticker pack and download it even from the website.
If you’re curious about some technical details about the sticker, the tech giant says it should have less than 500 kilobytes and come in three sizes:
- Small: 100-by-100 pixels
- Medium: 136-by-136 pixels
- Large: 206-by-206 pixels
As for file type, they leave out a few options like: JPEG, PNG, APNG and GIF.
We’re very surprised but also very pleased with Apple’s new updated iMessage app and their openness to customizable interfaces within the app. They offer you two different options in which you can personalize the app: Apps and Sticker Packs. They are fairly simple to develop, especially the Sticker Packs, and they will be probably very popular among iOS 10 users, because they haven’t had this option before.