It seems the traditional craze about each new iPhone usually appearing in autumn was unexpectedly sidelined by the less popular among retailers and consumers WWDC this year. The event’s agenda appeared surprisingly intense showing truly radical changes and promising trends in many Apple technologies. Newly represented products and updates are stepping far beyond the tiny alterations traditionally announced by Apple under the “best bla-bla-bla … ever in the world” slogans. Many visitors and observers came to a consensus that the present WWDC confirmed the leading status of Apple as never before. In order not to duplicate numerous reviews and reports available on the Internet, Indeema decided to focus on those Apple’s novelties that should be important for app developers first of all. Everyone can find reviews and descriptions of a marvelous iPad Pro with 120 Hz 10.5 inch screen and a full-fledged filemanager provided by iOS 11. Any geek can gasp in excitement searching for the technical characteristics of a new black iMac Pro with 18-core processor and 128 Gb RAM. Indeema, for its part, is emphasizing those influential updates and achievements of Apple that will undoubtedly make software developers reconsider a lot in their strategies and approaches.
How to affect app vendors with the new challenging App Store
The new App Store has emerged as the new, breaking old stereotypes marketplace offering unusual opportunities for app vendors and developers. Apple encourages all relevant stakeholders to get started today because “The all-new App Store will be available to users of the beta version of iOS 11 this summer, and will be in the hands of hundreds of millions of users around the world once iOS 11 becomes available to customers”.
The call to action is worth listening – serious marketing battles are coming. New features of App Store offer a different user experience since the evaluation of apps is possible without having to download them first. The new App Store is becoming a full-fledged trading platform supporting multiple tools for app promotion. New content sections incentivize app vendors to reconsider their advertising policies with regard to what should be emphasized in order to attract public attention. On the one hand, the new promotional paradigm will mount up an extra headache to app makers since icons and short descriptions of apps are not sufficient anymore. On the other hand, the available more explanatory App Store sections provide app vendors with an extra tooling for better promotion.
A new marketing strategy should start from selecting two primary categories (App Store and Game Store) to where an app is to be deployed. This seemingly simple step is important for apps’ discoverability. Ratings & Reviews section can make app developers keep their standards up responding to customers’ reviews. Such an interactive mode is to identify the most and the least responsible app makers with regard to their attitude and ability to hold the customers. The “What’s New” section is aimed at the similar customer retention being focused on updates and changes of apps. An app developer announcing a new bug-fixing feature based on customers’ feedback looks apparently professional and customer-friendly. The app optimization and discoverability depends on the relevant “Keywords” selected by app developers. The audience-oriented specific terms can both effectively promote an app and protect it from App Store rejections due to improper keywords selection. The main part of the app’s “Description” is to be updated together with submitting a new version of the app while the first 170-characters “Promotional Text” of the description can be updated at any time. The latter features hint at an increasing role of copywriters and content managers whose successful recruitment is gaining significance for app developers from now on. All above-mentioned features along with screenshots, app previews, icons, subtitles, and app names compose a wide remit for creating impressive product pages. Apple undoubtedly challenges app makers with the new App Store offering them great promotional opportunities at the same time.
P2P iMessage payments engender the Internet of Money
Surreptitiously and without fanfare Apple is transforming itself from a hardware vendor to a universal all-in-one-type organization capable of embracing the full range of customer needs. The continuous unification of iMessage’s functionality with iOS 11 is further proof of such a tendency. What is the new feature of peer-to-peer payments via iMessage talking about? It is not just about the technological brilliance of Apple’s developers able to confer their products with new smart functions.
The new iMessage feature of sending money directly to other people without a need to appeal to banks along with the Apple Pay makes Apple a “bank in itself”. Moreover, it is not unlikely that Apple’s policymakers are secretly getting a good look at blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. And there is a likelihood that before too long the traditional banking system will powerlessly watch Apple transforming conventional payments into the “Internet of Money” via multifunctional Apple’s ecosystem.
Siri + HomePod = Interlocutor (drinking buddy?)
By the way, the Internet of Everything paradigm cuts across the entire scope of Apple’s activity. Take a new gizmo HomePod, for example. Even though this is an obvious attempt to catch up with Amazon Echo and Google Home (at least Apple’s ill-wishers think so), the new smart device empowered with continuously evaluating Siri keeps blurring the line between always connected things and the rest objects. Communicating every month with “Siri intelligence”, as they call it at Apple, 375 million users throughout the world reduce the distance to the era of the human-machine full interoperability. And Apple is not going to pull up the rear of the movement. The HomePod containing Siri’s advanced communicating power is more than just a portable music-playing device with 7 speakers and a subwoofer.
Even the “Siri – HomeKit - HomePod” combination meeting the fancy smart-house concept quite well does not reflect the far-reaching nature of the gadget. This is a physical object capable of holding a natural and meaningful conversation with humans in 5 languages (Chinese, Italian, French, German, and English) despite its hyper-minimalistic design. Speaking of which, the ambiguous design of the HomePod is accepted by the audience with humor. Some tweets are revealing when the HomePod is likened to:
a 2013 Mac Pro shoved into a fishnet stocking,
the most expensive scratching post for cats,
a roll of toilet paper.
The continuous progress of Siri’s capabilities is based, in particular, on another new Apple toolkit offering developers the unprecedented opportunities of machine learning. In truth, the CoreML machine learning framework embraces not only Siri with the advanced speech and text recognition functions. Several out-of-the-box machine learning models are available for developing various intelligent and easy-integratable apps for Camera and QuickType. It seems we have finally reached the moment when the 30-layers deep learning technology became a typical tool in the day-to-day arsenal of developers. Indeed, Apple proves that we are living in tomorrow :)
ARKit: a secret weapon of Apple
HomePod is promising and attractive having nothing revolutionary for content consumption, however. What really hints at upcoming new way of interactive communication with computers is ARKit. Apart from a wow-effect for the wide audience and the obvious competitive strike on Google Tango, the Apple’s augmented reality should encourage developers because of its operability without having to use any extra sensors. The technology will be accessible to millions of different Apple devices simultaneously (this is what distinguishes Apple AR from Google Tango still having no wide public acceptance over the years of promotion).
Those app developers who focus on AR solutions should take Apple’s ARKit as an interim step taken by Apple in order to prepare both developers’ community and the customers for further evolution of the interactive content. It seems we will see hundreds of AR applications shortly – apartment designing, games, e-learning & science, and various enterprise AR solutions require to be developed as soon as possible. Undoubtedly, Apple is setting the stage for the next technological leap in the form of something similar to Hololens for Mac. Guys from Cupertino are handling an invisible but relentless reconstruction of the entire stack of Apple’s technologies (hardware, graphic engines, tools etc) in order to lead the new paradigm of interactive digital standards. So, customers should wait and see while developers must adopt ARKit immediately.
It is probably too early for a final say on the effect of all novelties represented by Apple at WWDC 2017. One thing is certain: Apple is relentlessly moving forward challenging app developers to meet the new interactive content paradigm. As a party extremely concerned, Indeema will continue to explore all overt and covert options and opportunities inherent in products and tools of the digital giant from Cupertino.