iOS7 was released today during Apple’s iPhone 5C launch. While previous upgrades to iOS have mostly gone unnoticed by the casual observer, iOS7 represents a complete overhaul of the software that Apple iPhones and tablets run.

From a developer’s point of view, possibly the biggest change is that apps will now update automatically through a background process instead of requiring users to manually choose to update. This will ensure that most users will have the same version of the apps they have built. Fewer users will have outdated versions of apps running on their devices.

Since iOS7 is not a trivial upgrade but instead an entirely new piece of software, those who have developed apps for previous versions of iOS may experience some difficulties resulting from the upgrade. Many will likely experience issues resulting from incompatibilities with the new software. Be prepared to field complaints if a product your company has released is not compatible with the new version of iOS that many customers will be running.

There are expected to be many improvements that come as part of the change to iOS7, however. Functionality related to multitasking is expected to grow to more closely resemble that of a PC. The current process often leaves once-used apps forgotten but still running, sapping away at processing power and battery life ad infinitum.

iOS7 will also allow consumers to better protect their privacy and identities by limiting ad tracking and providing a built-in way to block unwanted communications.

The update will be available to users of Apple devices going back to iPhone 4 and iPad 2.

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There was a point in time when Microsoft Windows was seen as some kind of unstoppable natural monopoly in the software ecosystem. Everybody used Windows. It came pre-installed on nearly every new PC.

But a fundamental shift in the way that people access content has changed that equation. Worldwide PC sales fell by 12% last quarter as consumers shift more of their casual browsing activity toward tablets and smartphones. Microsoft’s stock dropped 11% in one day, and analysts attributed the fall to $MSFT’s failure to capitalize on the rapidly-growing mobile market.

If it can happen to a company as large and powerful as Microsoft, this change of preferences can affect your business as well. Consumers are using smartphones and tablets to search for things on the go or browse from their homes. The PC is rapidly becoming a piece of hardware used mostly for performing work tasks. If you want to reach your customers when they are searching for something outside of the workplace, your business needs to be reaching them on their mobile devices.

This means designing your website around the preferences of smartphone and tablet users. One of the most popular ways to do that is to incorporate responsive design elements. This makes it so that the page elements will automatically scale to the size of the device used to view them. Many times older websites display with tiny text and page elements that don’t load on a smartphone or tablet. If potential customers find struggling with a clunky layout to be too inconvenient or even impossible on their device, they may never call or visit your business.

Digital Dogs has designed numerous responsive, mobile-ready websites and iPhone or Android apps for clients. Contact us today to see how we can help your business capitalize on this growing share of web traffic.

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Google is a highly-profitable search engine, but it has recently begun an expansion into the ISP market, competing against companies like Time Warner Communications and CenturyLink. Google is building expensive new fiber optics infrastructure in the Kansas City area; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. This will enable them to provide much faster speeds than what is available from current providers in those areas. In Austin, speeds may eventually be as much as 100 times faster than current rates. Google is also pricing the service very competitively, and throwing in products like Google TV with certain packages. Oftentimes the construction fees will even be waived, despite an estimated cost of $1200-2000 per house to bring a fiber optics connection into the living room.

Whether or not Google succeeds, or even intends to build out a nationwide fiber optics network is almost beside the point. Mainstream ISP’s are already taking notice of what Google is offering consumers and trying to compete. This will almost certainly result in faster speeds and better service for consumers.

Internet speeds in the U.S. lag behind what would be competitive elsewhere in the world. South Korea has long had the world’s fastest internet speeds, delivering data roughly three times as fast as what the average U.S. consumer is able to receive. Americans also pay more for access than citizens of other countries: in Seoul, South Korea, a 100-Mbps download speed connection costs less than $40 per month. Worse, only 8% of Americans have fiber optics connections to the internet, and nearly 30% of the country isn’t online at all.

What remains to be seen should fiber optics take off is the type of new content that will be created if internet speeds continue to grow exponentially. Technologies that are now mainstream, such as videoconferencing, social media, or watching movies on Netflix would have been inconceivable had dial-up remained the predominant way that Americans could access the internet. Continued growth in upload and download speeds would enable consumers to access more and more data, and allow for more innovation. While Google Fiber’s expansion has proceeded extremely slowly, and may never become more than a novelty, the competition could spur existing providers into continuing to improve on the telecommunications infrastructure.

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