Apple’s WWDC 2015 – The Keynote
WWDC is the world’s largest gathering of Apple developers, alpha geeks and experts of excellence. This year the WWDC was filled with announcements about incremental upgrades and innovations to Mac OS X and iOS.
As for us, mobile is playing a central role in this and we would like to focus your attention on all improvements that should make iOS developers and Apple users very happy. At the same time, constant changes have the potential to affect mobile marketers across the world. What are the biggest announcements this year on WWDC? Below is the keynote.
iOS 9 becomes more user friendly?
According to www.macrumors.com, Apple’s next major iOS update is coming in the fall of 2015. The beta version is to be launched in July and there are plenty of iOS features for iPad and iPhone users to look forward to.
While iOS 9 is not filled with innovative and flashy new features, it provides the polished ones represented in the previous version, which is welcomed from both the user and marketer perspective. With the new update Apple’s team is striving to bring excellence into mobile ecosystem and make iOS 9 useful for both developers and for users. iOS 9 addresses very important user related issues such as improvement of battery life and user data protection.
Swift 2 becomes open
Swift was introduced at WWDC in 2014. Swift is a multi-paradigm, compiled programming language created by Apple for iOS development. During this year Swift raised several discussions on its pros and cons for developers. Monday’s biggest news for developers is that Apple’s 1 year old programming language is now ripe for developers to create plug-ins, middleware, widgets and more.
What does this really mean? Cross platform. With some clever middleware to be defined, developers could theoretically write code once and extend projects to multiple mobile platforms including Android. Now that it’s open source, Swift 2 may quickly become a viable means to extend our iOS apps to Android and Windows.
What is Apple’s interest in making it open source? The more developers using Swift as the base programming language for mobile, the more apps, by default, will begin on the iOS platform.
Improved Siri and Spotlight
Though Apple has had a long established lead in revenue generation over its major rivals, always putting its innovative products ahead to anticipate customer expectations, there are a few who will disagree that Google is an indisputable winner in the race when it comes to search. Google is always searching to satisfy its users by providing them the access to its knowledge base.
While neither platform is perfect for filtering through content, Google’s greater reach beyond the Play Store into the wider world of search has given it extensive expertise in helping users reach the right content.
This year WWDC suggests that Apple is seriously coming into play. The introduction of deep linking into Spotlight should help users find the right content within the right apps. The introduction of Siri Proactive should help guide users at relative moments. The introduction of transit directions in Maps suggests Apple understands that users need deeper search options.
With Google Now, app install ads in Google itself and a Google Play equivalent of adwords, Apple still needs to convince marketers on the leadership in this search fight.
iPad multitasking app usage
Multitasking in iOS 9 will make using new models of the iPad much more productive. There’s a slide over mode that allows you to quickly switch between two apps. A split screen function enables you to show two apps side by side. A picture-in-picture option makes it possible to display and resize a video screen over another app that’s running. This means that users who may have previously left an app to open another one can, on the iPad at least, keep both open. It’s way too soon to conclude how mobile marketers can benefit from this feature, but it could provide additional data in which apps are used in parallel and create considerations for partnerships between app owners or advertisers. Additionally, iPad focused developers can use the multitasking as the key to extending the functionality of their apps having user data under hand.
Finally, Apple unveiled their music streaming service for the first time called Apple Music. As expected it could have a significant effect on the music streaming landscape. For $9.99 a month (or $14.99 per month for a multi user plan), users will get access to unlimited music, with the possibility to create curated playlists, communicate with their favorite artists and listen to a new radio station called “Beats1”.
The reason why Apple Music is likely to have such an impact is the size and power of Apple. Although Spotify has 15 million paid subscribers and Pandora has around 4.5 million paid subscribers, Apple’s outdated iTunes has 800 million. If they can convert even 5% of that base to paid Apple Music subscribers, they’ll be able to dominate the market.
Though Apple’s approach to playlist curation and artist relations will please music industry players, the company’s prudent policy towards advertisers means that most marketers will be unlikely to leverage the potential growth of the music service.
With the iOS 9, Apple is clearly aiming to consolidate the mobile app marketing ecosystem and build a loyal community of developers and marketers around it. Of course, they’re striving to be cross-platform, open sourced, making their own apps to take a part from already established industry players. Would this cause market monopolization? Probably not – at least not right now. Will the iOS 9 create new challenges for developers and make leading marketers use all of their creativity and resources in solving their daily tasks? Of course it will. Would the updated iOS version make users more loyal to Apple devices and apps? Yes, there is potential.
Oles Dzyub, Branded Content Manager at ComboApp