“You open up an app, you open up a possibility. A whole world is being born. What we really have is an intersection between technology and art. You see the world in a different way…”
Before Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook keynoted the four day festivities of the company’s 25th installment of its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), a nearly five minute film highlighting the importance of mobile applications was played for the assembled audience. This video set the tone for the rest of the conference, which demonstrated just how important Apple feels mobile computing has become.
The significant announcement of this year’s conference was Apple’s introduction of iOS 8, which will launch an array of new features, including four thousand new developer focused Application Facing Interfaces (APIs), that will drive mobile innovation for years to come. The release will significantly open Apple’s mobile platform, allowing active communication between applications and allowing third-party developers to access the Touch ID feature.
These countless new features are highlighted by Swift, Apple’s new, objective-C compatible, mobile programming language. Apple predicts Swift will markedly increase the speed of apps, while providing developers more creative freedom. iOS 8 will also give the App Store a refreshed look, adding Discovery Mode to help users find new and trending apps, which will have associated video demos previewing the app. The App Store will also introduce TestFlight beta, which will allow developers to send their apps to beta testers to get feedback prior to commercial launch.
Though you and your brand might find all these changes daunting, with 89% percent of iOS users adopting iOS 7 last year the implications of this release could be felt as soon as the holiday season. To be competitive in the rapidly expanding mobile market, your company will need to respond and adapt to iOS 8 quickly.
In anticipation of the release, Photon is working with it’s clients to prepare to rapidly adopt new relevant features coming in iOS8. Whether developing less battery intensive apps in response to the introduction of a “per app” battery usage indicator, implementing Touch ID technology for e-commerce payments or embedding smart widgets in the notification tray, Photon is the perfect partner to help your brand smoothly transition to iOS8
Here are the top six features we feel will change the face of iOS devices and, with our help, can inspire your brand’s mobile program this fall -
Interactive Notification & Widgets – Inspired by a popular feature of Google’s Android Mobile Operating System, iOS 8 apps can deliver interactive notifications and embed app-based widgets in the notification tray. For example, if you are listening to music you could get a notification on your bid at eBay and, right within the notification, submit an improved bid. Of all the new iOS 8 features, we think interactive notifications will provide the most immediate benefit to retailers. Retail apps can instantly utilize this feature to interact with users in real time by offering deals based on user location and demographics – catalyzing sales and keeping consumers engaged. We expect the new notification system to revolutionize the way consumers interact with Consumer Facing Apps (CFAs) on iOS and to become a central component of your brand’s retail app.
Touch ID extended to third-party apps – iOS 8 extends Apple’s effort to simplify the use of passwords by allowing developers to access Touch ID software. This will allow users to log-in to third-party apps using their fingerprint, saving them time while adding another layer of protection to their data. Expect Touch ID to to replace conventional passwords in most apps during the coming months. We feel it’s a must have feature for all Associate Facing Apps (AFAs) that empower a sales force or a staff of retail associates. Touch ID will allow these company employees to easily access proprietary information without compromising the security of the data.
User data can be shared across apps – iOS 8 will also introduce inter-app communication, allowing brands to extend content beyond their app and make it accessible to users on other apps. If you are a eTailer or a eMarketer, we recommend implementing this feature to quickly boost your consumer engagement through your app. Users will be able to share product related information, their shopping cart or wishlist, on social media directly from the app, a boon for any brand hoping to increase their exposure. Non-retail industries can also benefit from the ability to access user data from other apps to customize user interactions.
HealthKit – The emerging presence of health tracking apps in the mobile market has led Apple to launch HealthKit. This new Apple-developed app, expected to be present on all iOS 8 devices, will provide healthcare apps with a secure central repository to store and, if need be, share user data. We see HealthKit precipitating a new era of mobile-based health care and the central repository will allow healthcare providers to proactively track user data, create reports and alert doctors as soon as iOS8 launches. We predict that Healthkit will also change the way healthcare is paid for by seamlessly alerting a user’s Insurance provider with a report and billing information when they are treated. Healthcare companies take note – your possibilities are almost limitless.
Access to apps based on location – How about users being prompted to open your app when they visit your store? While Apple hasn't officially announced this feature, it will eventually be a great tool to drive in-store traffic and user acquisition. When successfully adopted, we believe this feature can improve both customer's in-store experience and keep them engaged with a strong mobile presence. Thus, this feature assures apps provide valuable analytics on consumer behavior, allowing brands to successfully tailor their strategies around customer presence.
HomeKit – Much like HealthKit’s function as a hub in healthcare apps, HomeKit will provide users a central artery to control apps that communicate with connected devices in users’ homes. With the click of a button, users can use HomeKit to perform functions across their home, from dimming lights to changing TV channels. By creating a fluid environment for users to interact with connected devices, HomeKit should precipitate an influx of devices making use of “smart home” technology and usher in a user base actually using the Internet of Things.
- Collaborative (This articles is an actual translation of discussions which happen at Photon in a single session or multiple sessions)