From lockscreen branding to buy now, pay later: 5 things you should know from Apple’s WWDC
Apple surprised with a raft of unexpected announcements at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). While some launches were new iterations of existing products, its newly-introduced features have huge implications for the worlds of consumer tech, e-commerce and marketing. Here are the five most important announcements from Apple’s WWDC 2022 that you need to know.
Major changes to payments, lock screens and car integration are coming
1. Apple Pay Later
Far and away the announcement with the biggest potential repercussions, the tech company unveiled Apple Pay Later. The scheme is its take on the buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment model employed by Klarna and others – but crucially this is built directly into Apple Pay itself. That circumvents the need to sign up to another BNPL product, and is likely to bring BNPL to the attention of many new consumers.
Currently the scheme is only available in the US in places where Apple Pay is accepted online or in-app, using the Mastercard network.
The release stated: “Apple Pay Later provides users in the US with a seamless and secure way to split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments spread over six weeks, with zero interest and no fees of any kind. Built into Apple Wallet and designed with users’ financial health in mind, Apple Pay Later makes it easy to view, track and repay Apple Pay Later payments within Wallet.”
BNPL is widely expected to disrupt online payments, with PayPal recently attempting to get ahead of the game by offering 0% interest on any deferred payments for four months. Apple Pay is used by over half a billion people worldwide; this native integration of BNPL is likely to establish Apple as a key player in the space and will undoubtedly disrupt the plans of the specialist BNPL providers.
2. The lockscreen
The lockscreen is mostly unused real estate on users’ phones, and to date it has been largely used to display notifications. While Apple’s announcements make it clear that will remain its primary feature, it is also beginning to make more of the lockscreen in the user journey through the phone.
While notifications will appear differently, the key addition is the ‘live activities’ feature, which will display notifications associated with an event such as booking an Uber. It suggests that there is a branding opportunity for apps to appear in a prime position on the lockscreen.
Additionally, since Apple noted that the feature can also be used to keep track of sporting events, it hints that there is a persistent opportunity to use that feature to keep track of rolling news or updates for any type of entertainment property.
3. Safety check
In terms of Apple’s own marketing, the company is also seeking to get ahead of any reputational damage around online safety. In light of the ongoing scrutiny of tech companies including Google and Twitter, any tool to reduce the potential for harm to its users is likely to help Apple appear different (and potentially avoid investigation from regulators).
To that end it announced ‘Safety Check’ – a new feature meant to make it easier to lock down privacy and security settings. Safety check allows users to quickly review which contacts may have access to their location or calendar info, as well as the permissions being used by individual apps. While much of the permissions are available for tweaking on a case-by-case basis, there is also an emergency lock, which Apple said would be particularly useful for people trying to flee an abusive relationship.
Apple is also making inroads into automotive integration. Its latest iteration of CarPlay is specifically designed to make the most of cars with multiple screens. It effectively makes the car an extension of the iPhone – great news for Apple, particularly as it looks to seize a greater share of the car OS market.
It stated: “Deeper integration with the vehicle will allow users to do things like control the radio or change the climate directly through CarPlay, and using the vehicle data, CarPlay will seamlessly render the speed, fuel level, temperature and more on the instrument cluster.
“Users will be able to personalize their driving experience by choosing different gauge cluster designs, and with added support for widgets, users will have at-a-glance information from Weather and Music right on their car’s dashboard.”
5. Editable messages
For all the noise around potential changes to Twitter lately, it’s easy to forget that other messaging systems have many of the same limitations. With iOS 16, however, Apple has announced that iMessage will allow users to recall and edit messages within a time limit.
The release stated: “Users can edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently-deleted messages and mark conversations as unread so they can come back to them later. In addition, SharePlay is coming to Messages, making it possible to enjoy synced content like movies or songs and shared playback controls, all while chatting in Messages.”