If ever there was any doubt that 2020 would be the Year of the App, Apple has truly confirmed this with their raft of announcements at Monday’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC).
At their iconic annual event — virtual only for the first time ever — Apple announced updates to all of its platforms. The big news for mobile confirmed that iOS 14 is available now in preview and will go on Beta release in July. With a multitude of new features announced, it’s a huge step forward and an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the Apple ecosystem.
So, what was announced this week that show us how Apple plans to double down on apps?
Six key updates and what they mean for retailers and brands:
- App Clips: Apple describes App Clips as a “small part” of the app designed to be discovered the moment it is needed. For retailers, App Clips mean shoppers have the ability for users to Sign in with Apple and use Apple Pay to quickly make purchases on the go. This isn’t all shoppers will be able to do. Through App Clips, shoppers could scan QR codes to get product information in-store, use Apple Messages and using NFC Tags retailers can trigger App Clips to launch at specific locations, for example when a shopper is near a store.
- Portable Apps: Making it easier for developers to develop shopping apps and deploy to all devices. Mac’s will be moving to Apple’s own silicon chips, meaning iOS and iPad apps are automatically executable on desktop. And Catalyst – Apple’s app to convert iPad apps to desktop apps – makes the process whole lot easier on Big Sur (Mac OS 11).
- App Library: Apple has recognised that the explosion of apps on Home Screens requires better organisation and management tools. Using artificial intelligence, Apple will show users which apps are the most relevant for them at a given time. Especially for frequent users of a retailer’s app, that app will be kept front of mind for shoppers, increasing the likelihood of further interactions.
- Picture in picture: This new feature will allow iPhone users to watch video content whilst they use another app at the same time. This will empower retailers to show video content to their customers whilst they view product information simultaneously.
- Widgets: These can be placed anywhere on the Home Screen and display small information about an app. Retailers can get creative with how they use these, from providing updates about latest offers and product drops to content aimed at engagement.
- Sign In with Apple: Logging into accounts just became easier. For retailers that integrate with the feature, shoppers will be able to link their Apple account to retailers apps making the login process more efficient and meaning one less password to remember.
At Poq, our mission is to provide the best possible shopping experience on a mobile device, which means we have naturally gravitated to a native-app solution on both iOS and Android platforms. Native languages (Swift on iOS, Kotlin on Android) can expose the full richness of the underlying operating system (OS) as soon as new features are released, while other options like React and PWA will alway require some time to catch up and they may struggle to implement features as consistently or efficiently as native code. Moreover, apps compiled specifically for the target platform will be favoured in that ecosystem, run faster, and be easier to promote in the App Store.
Other features look set to further cement the presence of iOS into people’s lives, bringing them into even more regular contact with their – and potentially your – apps.
Hear more about how retailers can utilise their apps to drive engagement from our app experts at the App Commerce Virtual Festival this September.