In its new Steve Jobs Theater, today Apple appropriately paid homage to its past while creating a future that has something compelling for consumers and for marketers.
With its customary flair for presentations and tight narrative for announcing several new products, Apple iterated on its product lines with compelling additional features pushing users to upgrade. While there were many leaks leading up to the event that many of these features were known going in, the show was still worth a watch to get all the details. If you’re a marketer, here’s what you should know.
Apple Watch Series 3: The time has come to think about an even smaller screen
Apple Watch is now the #1 watch on the planet. Today, Apple announced that the Series 3 added cellular support meaning you can now leave your phone and go out into the world while still staying connected.
Streaming from Apple Music will work, as will phone calls from your same number, along with iMessage and SMS. The device is finally standalone. Although fitness will be a primary category here, savvy brands will be looking at new app experiences that will be faster due to the new power of the watch with connected access to a network.
Behavior shifts have already been demonstrated (and were highlighted in the keynote) around health, but an entirely new set of “streamlined” experiences await as we can now put our phones down and interact digitally with our Apple Watch. It is important to note the cellular version will require an additional cost on users’ data plans, $10 per device on an existing plan for AT&T and Verizon, for instance.
Also, significant for marketers and consumers, Apple will provide more needed information on what the numbers mean. This will make for a better-informed consumer. Brands will want in on the action — think reaching someone who needs a product to breathe easier on a run — but personal information should and will be protected.
QR Codes: QR codes have the potential to be better than ever
QR Codes are going to be usable and in a big way. iOS 11 will integrate QR code scanning right into the camera — no more downloading and fumbling for a specific app to take advantage.
These codes can lead to a variety of interactions including setting up wifi, sharing a contact, adding calendar events, starting an email, opening a map, beginning an SMS conversation, making a phone call, visiting websites, or even launching apps to specific areas of them if they are installed.
As an example of this impact, today Shopify released Shopcodes, QR codes that when scanned take consumers directly to a product on a Shopify store. This isn’t revolutionary, this isn’t new, but now with iOS 11, there will be scale with a proper user experience.
AR: Augmented reality at scale
Augmented reality (AR) will also attain scale and enhanced experiences on the new devices.
Producing augmented reality content will be more affordable and consumable. Users will be more interested in experimenting and early moving brands will learn a lot. If you’re not part of the early movers pay attention to what rises to the top in terms of experiences. This is still an adoption phase, and ultimately, AR will be much better served in an experience where the user does not have to hold their phone up for extended periods of time. Think smart glasses or other heads-up technology as to where we are going.
iPhone 8 & iPhone X: Introducing the Animoji
Apple is also pushing pricing up on the new iPhones and introducing some interesting changes.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10) both have compelling feature sets to drive iPhone 7 and other users to an upgrade. Both will have wireless charging and upgraded cameras, and the 32GB base has finally been abandoned for 64GB. Wireless charging, called AirPower, will allow the new Watch, the new iPhones, and AirPods (with a new case) to all charge on a single pad. That pad will be out in 2018.
The X will be a harder sell to users with a $999 to start price tag, but the tech is extremely sexy. There is no home button, instead the device leverages gestures and your face to unlock the device. Apple went into great detail on why to trust the device and its ability to recognize a face. However, it is hard to see how changing from fingerprint to face solves a consumer problem. More likely this type of interaction allows for the screen to be bigger since no room on the front is utilized for the physical button.
The facial recognition and mapping on the new front facing camera also creates a compelling feature that some may find trivial, Animoji. Animoji allows the user to move the face of several popular Emojis rendered in 3D. Although there are many other features to choose an X over an 8, this minor one will definitely come into play.
Overall Apple continues to add incremental changes and will sell many of these devices. Marketers need to think of their brand through the lens of iPhone more than ever.