Are app developers ready for the latest Apple devices?

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) last week unveiled new devices that may transform the way many iOS app developers design iPad and iPhone offerings.

The technology giant has introduced the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPhone SE, two devices that feature smaller screens than their predecessors. 

Philip Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, points out the new iPad Pro model boasts an "extremely portable" design. Meanwhile, Apple says the iPhone SE will serve as "the most powerful phone with a 4-inch display."

Today's consumers demand portable, powerful mobile devices, and the latest iPad Pro and iPhone releases indicate Apple is focused on providing tablets and smartphones that meet consumers' needs. 

For iOS developers, however, Apple's new devices raise questions about how these developers can deliver user-friendly apps on smaller screens. 

"The introduction of a new device has more than one implication for mobile engagement," app analytics firm Localytics wrote in a blog post. "Clearly, a fair number of people prefer a smaller screen, as evidenced by the number of iPhone 5S and iPad mini devices still in the current market. And if this is true, then what happens to the tablet - will they continue on their downward slope? Now that the hardware has caught up to consumer demand, will people engage more or less?"

Mobile engagement remains a top priority for developers, which is reflected in recent data. 

A survey of 12 mobile app development companies conducted by business-to-business reviews website Clutch.co indicated app developers spend between 5.5 and 150 hours on user engagement features.

But with smaller devices from Apple and others on the horizon, it may become exceedingly difficult for some app developers to keep pace. 

"Engagement tools are sometimes used in consumer apps such as email, SMS, push notifications or social sharing. Simpler solutions involve native features and standard mechanisms," Clutch wrote in its report. "More complex features might have a third-party API or might need to be coded from scratch. Sometimes, you can integrate cost-effective paid services for these features to simplify the solution and decrease development time."

iOS developers who remain flexible may be better equipped to adapt their app's mobile experience to a smaller screen. 

And with the ability to adjust to new devices from Apple, iOS developers may be able to tailor their offerings to smaller screens quickly and easily. -- Dan

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