This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference made it clear that iOS users quickly adopt the latest operating system versions. Currently, 86% of iOS devices are running iOS 10.
iOS 11 will be available in the fall, and retailers should prepare for these upcoming changes:
1. App Store
Apple’s App Store is getting a new look. The new App Store will display tabs for Today, Games, Apps, Updates, and Search. By breaking out games from other app categories, shopping apps should get much better visibility in the redesigned app store.
Native apps, like Mail, are also getting a face lift. Retailers should consider refreshing their apps to make their experiences seamless and consistent with Apple’s mobile apps, which showcase bolder fonts.
2. Machine Learning
Machine learning and artificial intelligence were the key themes surrounding this year’s conference. Apple introduced Core ML, which features the Vision and Natural Language Processing APIs. This new technology will help Siri and other apps become smarter by predicting shoppers’ mobile moments and making search more contextual.
3. App-Integrated Reality
There’s a big push for connecting digital and physical worlds, and Apple announced several ways that will make this even easier for retailers. Introduced as the “largest AR platform in the world,” ARKit is a great foundation to create immersive augmented reality experiences. Shoppers with the iPhone 6s and newer will be able to envision what products will look like in real life.
Indoor location is another way that retailers will benefit from tying apps and physical locations together. This new capability will roll out to select airports and malls around the world, including the U.S., Japan, and China. Using QR codes or NFC tags in your stores? QR codes can be scanned by the native camera app to direct people to your shopping app in the App Store or connect them to your in-store WiFi. NFC tags can be scanned in-app to provide shoppers with more product information.
4. App Updates
Users will be able to quickly access apps in Messages with the revamped app drawer, which has potential to increase app adoption and retention. Additionally, retailers will be able to launch new updates to shopping apps in phased releases to ensure every last feature and function is running perfectly before making it available to everyone.
Engaging with your app users is more important than ever. A new setting in iOS 11 can automatically uninstall apps that haven’t been used in a while. App data will be preserved in case users decide to reinstall it.
Business messaging is coming to iOS devices and will help retailers provide great customer service. With person-to-person Apple Pay money transfers in Messages, mobile payment adoption may increase. Money can be used immediately in stores that accept Apple Pay, and transactions may be able to occur in Messages.
iOS and macOS updates include intelligent tracking prevention, which could negatively impact website behavior analytics, like ad blockers have done in the past. Retailers should consider mobile apps if they haven’t done so already as this new feature has no effect on apps and their data.