Number 10 is out!

Five new features in iOS 10 — and why they’re important for marketers (even B2B)

Today, the tenth version of Apple’s phone and tablet operating system, iOS, is released to the public. Previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, the latest release of the operating system software brings new features and functionality to Apple mobile devices, old and new.

It marks the beginning of a race for app developers and brands alike to take advantage of the new features. Being first to market using a new technology, or “API” as they are called, can mean a more prominent place on the App Store and hundreds of thousands more installs.

Previous years have brought exciting new functionality., There was Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, which many of us use every time we fly or buy a ticket. Then there were new sharing widgets, allowing third-party apps to post and share content more easily (something I use with Buffer every day), and push notifications. I can’t think of using my iPhone without them now, but this feature wasn’t added until after the 3GS launched!

So what are the new features in iOS 10 that you should be excited about and, more importantly, which ones as marketers can you take advantage of right now?

iMessages

This the first feature we’ll all (unfortunately) see more of, as there’s no way of avoiding it. Some may say the iMessages app has gone the way of bloatware but, as usual in marketing, there’s a silver lining. This iOS 10 release brings a raft of new features to iMessages, allowing it to compete more effectively with the like of Facebook’s Whatsapp and Kik. There are so many additions here that I’ll have trouble listing them all but to call out the main ones:

* Links will now automatically contain “rich” media. Post a YouTube video to a friend and the video will embed in their feed. Share an article and a synopsis is included in the message thread. This is *great* for content marketing. It should (with some well placed content tweaks) make your articles more easily shared and read across Apple devices.

* Stickers (and Emojis). Emojis are now three times bigger (*sigh* — and that did actually get an applause at the event — really guys?). What this means is that it’ll be easier to create “stickers” (ie Emojis or animated elements) that can be included in iMessage threads. If you’ve got some real brand advocates — this is a great way of getting people to use your logo or branding. Expect to be receiving lots of “Mario” and “Frozen” images in your feed.

There are also bubble effects and handwritten elements, but as this is Apple it’s unlikely these will be available for marketing use soon (perhaps in the next iOS release).

News

Over the past few iOS releases Apple has been slowly evolving the News experience (starting with the failed Newstand App). This year Apple takes on Flipboard by producing a clear, engaging design for news articles. You can now “subscribe” to feeds and publications can offer paid subscriptions. Even better, users can elect to receive “breaking news” as push notifications, making the possibilities for your content hub strategy even more exciting!

Machine Learning (in Photos and more)

Apple is adding two key “machine learning” features to this release. Both should run locally on your iPhone not the cloud — but we’ll see. The first is “Quicktype”. Bringing Siri intelligence to the keyboard, this offers context clues and relevant suggestions when typing. Although not especially important for marketers, if you’re big enough to have a verb associated with your brand it might be possible to start including contextual results in Quicktype.

Secondly (and this is the one I’m really excited about) Photos will now use “deep learning” to link together photos (and videos) by place, people and time. This will automatically create highlight reels and videos (similar to Facebooks “Moments”). This is really impressive stuff, considering it’s performed locally on the phone. What would be really exciting is to sneak your logo onto the backdrop at an event, making it recognisable not just by your audience but perhaps by Siri as well!

Siri APIs

At last, Apple is opening up Siri to third-party developers. Since it was first introduced on the iPhone 4S, techies have been finding interesting ways to customise Siri’s response (which is very difficult). Now Apple is opening this to other apps and services. This means there will be some very useful implementations (“Siri, order me an Uber”), and some less so (“Siri give me a random insult”). But it certainly allows for some interesting applications. Have an upcoming event? Integrate with Siri to talk about the agenda. Want to push sales reporting to your users? Allow them to ask Siri. Expect to see much more here!

General Design and UI Tweaks

As usual, this iOS releases brings a lot of “general” tweaks and updates. iPhone 6S and 7 users can lift their phone to open the display — “raise to wake” — and view notifications. More 3D touch features are being added, allowing developers to build more context-aware applications. Usually however most of these updates trickle down to the rest of us in updated colour palettes or UX design patterns, as users become more used to gestures such as force touch. We saw this mostly with the release of iOS7, where designs became flatter (and all of a sudden brands looked out of touch). Expect more as iOS evolves.

Ultimately each iOS release gives a set of incremental features that get the market excited. Those brands that know how to take advantage of this new functionality will extend their reach and delight their users. We look forward to seeing how the marketplace will evolve with the next iOS release today.


Originally published at www.wearetwogether.com by Jon Busby on September 13, 2016.