- Apple’s iOS 11 mobile operating system is available today, opening up several new features that marketers can use to reach a mass audience of iPhone and iPad users. Mobile applications can take advantage of augmented reality features in the new operating system to offer immersive shopping experiences, product demonstrations and virtual billboards.
- Apple redesigned the App Store to make searching for apps and games easier. The store features interviews with software developers to help users learn more about the features in an app. This fall, Apple Maps will offer indoor maps for shopping centers and airports throughout the world, including Amsterdam, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami and San Jose.
- Apple’s iMessage-based mobile payments service, powered by Apple Pay, also will arrive this fall for iOS 11 and watchOS 4, the company said. The payments service is Apple’s competitor to rivals like PayPal or Venmo, was first announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, TechCrunch reported.
While Apple’s latest mobile operating system has incremental improvements to features like the Siri voice-activated assistant and camera, the most important features for marketers include AR capabilities, maps and a redesigned App Store. Apple earlier this year introduced its ARKit to help software developers design apps that take advantage of AR features in iOS 11.
Marketers should take the new iOS features into consideration when developing iPhone experiences, as users of Apple devices are know for quickly adopting the latest software. In January, Apple reported that 76% of the iOS user base was running iOS 10, which was released on Sept. 13, 2016.
Ikea, AMC Networks, Pottery Barn and Major League Baseball are among the major brands that are including AR features into product demonstrations and games. The Ikea and Pottery Barn apps use AR to help shoppers visualize how furniture or decorative items would look in a home before reserving them to purchase from a nearby store. AMC Networks has a new “Walking Dead” game that lets fans of the show battle virtual zombies, while Major League Baseball lets smartphone users see live stats about players at a game.
Apple’s maps feature will have more granular details about destinations that are meaningful to shoppers, such as indoor navigation at major malls and airports. The improvement will give retailers, restaurants and other businesses a better opportunity to guide customers to the nearest location. Apple’s next update to Apple Pay may not have as much impact on businesses, because its most important feature is to handle peer-to-peer electronic transactions.