Apple Apps Look to Future of Mobile Work

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — June 14, 2013

There’s 800 apps per second downloaded from the iTunes store, a total of 900,000 apps and 350,000 specifically made for iPad. And while the company is known for its rigorous vetting process for inclusion in the store, it has also paid out a total of $10 billion to developers.

So it’s easy to imagine how much Apple accolades, in the form of a design award from the company itself, would mean to a developer, but the bigger inference is what it means to the future of business.  There were 11 winners this year, according to news from Apple, ranging from gaming and coding to collaboration. In addition, students competing for scholarships from the company had to submit apps they built, which served as their virtual entries.

Enterprise Future
One of the winning apps is likely already being used for work; two others, along with the developer teams and the student winners offer a glimpse into the next generation of the mobile enterprise, both in functionality and technical talent that is increasingly scarce and changing as quickly as the technology itself.

There’s a commonality in what each app is trying to accomplish – streamlining workflow, process and improving collaboration, but there’s also a sense of urgency that the enterprise is not currently used to.

The developers here saw a problem and addressed it — one team did so in just a weekend. This expectation is coming soon to IT and business where employees will demand a fix and talent will not want to build a case — they will simply want to build an app.

Speaking of talent, there is a new breed of technical workers also coming that will either disrupt the industry entirely or bring innovation to corporate.  Smart organizations will be prepared.

As shown by the stories below, many of the techies and developers coming up will be self-taught and already accomplished. That means there will have to be new ways to — not just sort through potential candidates (an app can be a resume now ) — but also new value propositions to attract them in the first place.

The mobile enterprise will be a different place in five years, not just because of the change in solutions and hardware, but also the changing of skill sets and competition for workers — as for a time being there will be more need than competencies.  Here are the winning stories.

Evernote, Evernote Corporation for use on Mac, iPhone, and iPad
Evernote 5 for Mac is the OS X app for the popular note-taking and archiving service that helps users remember everything and anything life. “Evernote truly excels on OS X with a redesigned, Retina-optimized, modern, single-window UI which also syncs notes between your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and web,” stated Apple. Evernote 5 for Mac uses every relevant OS X technology including iCloud, Notification Center, Reminders, QuickLook, Secure Keychain, Disk encryption, Core Location, Full-screen, Accessibility, and In App Purchase —  many features of which will be updated with in the release of iOS 7.   
Finish, Student Winners: Ryan Orbuch and Michael Hansen, iPhone
Finish was developed by Ryan Orbuch and Michael Hansen while they were sophomores at Boulder High School in CO.  They were inspired by procrastinating students during finals week, and came up with this app —“a streamlined task manager which uses gestures to help people organize their to-do's into short, mid, and long-term tasks quickly and easily.”  Due date notification are built in as well. It uses numerous iOS technologies, integrates with Facebook and Twitter for sharing, and takes advantage of the Retina Display., Student Winners: Ishaan Gulrajani, Alex List, and Zain Shah, iPhone and iPad
This app was developed by MIT students Ishaan Gulrajani and Alex List and University of Pittsburgh student Zain Shah, all self-taught iOS developers who built the prototype in a weekend.  The purpose of the app is to connect two or more iOS devices around a single image. The app supports Retina Display and creates a photo “mosaic” across two or more iOS device screens with a swipe. Core Location is used to determine each device’s relative position to each other and its affects which portion of the image is rendered on each device.

Tomorrow’s Talent
Apple offers student scholarships, and this year’s applicants were asked to develop an app to describe their experience and background. Apple stated, “These scholarship winners represent the strongest submissions we received, and show just how much can be done in only eight days.”

Louis Harboe is a 17-year-old who attends University of Chicago Laboratory High School, but he already has a respectable resume. “He began developing on iOS in the seventh grade and has collaborated on apps such as The Mathmaster and iChalkboard, both featured in Chicago Sun-Times and Cult of Mac. He also interned at Square.” His entry was called, "My Adventure book" and featured a scrolling list of photos and videos that can be zoomed to reveal details about him. He is currently working on a tide-tracking app.

Bryan Keller is 19-years-old and attends Marist College in New York where he is studying Computer Science. He has released one app on the App Store called "Augmentative and Alternative Communication" and feels strongly that technology should be “more intuitive and approachable.”  His self-titled entry  presented a word cloud that can be tapped and zoomed to reveal more about his background and skills.

Puck Meerburg is 13-years- old and lives in Delft, Netherlands. At age 6, he taught himself how to program in HTML, PHP, and Javascript. His bio is more like a career resume.  “He was recognized as ‘Internet Hero’ of 2011 by BNN, a Dutch TV Network, and was a TEDx Amsterdam presenter at age 11. He has released 10 apps which have been downloaded over 200,000 times.”  His app used UIKit, Core Animation, Multi-touch, and Core Graphics to present a comprehensive view of his life.

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