Apple is developing a new feature that will let users try key features of apps without having to install them. Called Clips, this new feature has already been spotted in an early build of iOS 14. According to 9to5Mac, the feature will allow iOS users to experience parts of an app’s functionality by scanning a QR code. This will be a big improvement over current experience. It will also eliminate the need to install an app only to try a specific feature.
If you open a link or scan a QR code on iOS today, it will open the same in Safari. Apps, however, have the option to provide universal links that will open the app instead of Safari when it is installed. With Clips, it could change in a big way. The report by 9to5Mac notes that Apple is looking to bring an interactive and dynamic content experience. The Clips API is directly related to the QR Code reader in the build.
Apple iOS 14: What’s new
This means when an iOS user scans a code linked to an app, they will be able to interact with it directly from a card appearing on the screen. For instance, if you get a link to a YouTube video but don’t have the official app installed on your iPhone or iPad. With Clips API on iOS 14, you will be able to scan that code and the video will play in the form of a floating card. This will show the native user interface instead of a web page.
For this to work well, developers will need to specify which part of the app should be downloaded by iOS as an OTA package. The floating card will show options to download the full version of the app from the App Store. Alternatively, users can open that content with the app if it’s already installed. If this sounds familiar then it is because Android has a similar feature called “Slices”. This shows interactive parts of an app in places like the Google Search results and Assistant.
The code tested by 9to5Mac shows that Apple is already testing this new feature with OpenTable, Yelp, DoorDash, Sony and YouTube. In the case of Sony, Apple is testing with the PS4 Second Screen app. We should see early demos of these apps taking advantage of Clips during WWDC 2020 in June. The key features of iOS 14 have been seeing leaks for the past few weeks. It seems like an important update with tweaks to widgets and springboard action.