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IPG Media Lab

Apple’s 2022 WWDC Event: Must-Know Highlights for Brands

No “RealityOS” or AR headset tease, but still plenty to dive in and chew on

Return to the Apple Park; All image credits: Apple Inc.

The Multiplayer Experience Comes to Apple

In our 2022 Outlook report published in January, we pointed out that the bridges to the metaverse will not be built by simply turning every online interaction into 3D game-like experiences, but rather starting with cultivating a higher awareness of digital presence across different apps and platforms, making the digital experience less solitary and more ambiently social — like a multiplayer experience, if you will. At the time, we pointed to Apple’s SharePlay and “Shared with You” features as key examples of integrating both live and time-shifted social experiences into the mobile experience. So, it should come as no surprise that Apple’s latest OS updates include several new features that place a newfound emphasis on “presence awareness” and collaborative tools.

SharePlay comes to iMessage

Lock Screen Widgets Unlock New Mobile Real Estate

With iOS 16, the lock screen of your iPhone will soon become a more customizable space. Not only users will be able to personalize the lock screen with expressive type styles and color choices, the app widgets that debuted on the home screen in iOS 14 will make a leap to the lock screen as well, offering more persistent, glanceable information to iPhone users without even unlocking the phone. Notifications will roll up from the bottom, ensuring that e users have a clear view of their personalized lock screen.

New lock screen UI with customizable style & widgets

Apple Wallet Adds More Commerce-Friendly Features

As part of iOS 16, Apple Wallet added some noteworthy features that will facilitate more online purchases, including a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) offer, a new order tracking feature for Apple Pay purchases, and a way to securely share state IDs with third-party apps for age verification. Let’s look at their implications one by one.

New Apple Pay features in action

Major CarPlay Updates Signal Apple’s Car Ambitions

Somewhat surprisingly, Apple announced a complete refresh of CarPlay as part of iOS 16. With a customizable, widget-heavy redesign, the new CarPlay interface promises better connectivity with a car’s instrument panel and even deeper integrations with the vehicle’s sensors and data system. Users will be able to add trip info, control in-car climate, check the weather, view navigation information, fuel and battery levels, and more. Apple shared that 98% of all new cars in the US already support CarPlay, and 79% of users consider the feature before buying a car, so it makes perfect sense that Apple would double down on CarPlay as a way to extend the reach of it ecosystem into cars, which are quickly emerging as a media consumption channel.

Refreshed CarPlay coming to new vehicles starting 2024

Apple Lays More Subtle Groundwork for AR Interface

Despite strong pre-event speculation that Apple would at least tease its much-anticipated AR headset and its operating software, Apple ended up sidestepping the topic entirely and revealed nothing about that. Many had deduced that this WWDC would have been a great time for Apple to start getting developers on board with the idea of designing 3D apps for an AR headset interface, but the company steered clear of AR almost entirely during its opening keynote that even its ARKit did not receive a single mention. Interestingly, one day after the WWDC keynote, famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shared that Apple may be looking to unveil its AR headsets in January 2023.

Apple’s 3D “City Experiences” come to Vegas

Miscellaneous Media-Related Observations

Besides the aforementioned cross-device software updates (and in the case of AR, the conspicuous lack thereof), let’s close out with some miscellaneous media-related announcements that are worth noting here.

Want to Learn More?

At a glance, this year’s WWDC keynote may be a disappointment for those eagerly waiting for Apple to unveil, or at least tease, the OS for its upcoming AR hardware. Upon a closer look, however, many of Apple’s seemingly minor updates today are all aiming to further enhance Apple’s overall ecosystem while setting it up for the AR future. Some of the new features have clear use cases for brands, while others may impact user behaviors in unexpected ways.



The media futures agency of IPG Mediabrands

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