WWDC16 – 27th annual conference
As the rest of the developers’ world, we’ve been holding our breath waiting for Apple’s announcements during their annual WWDC16 conference last week. This highly anticipated event gathered around 5000 attendees from over 74 countries across the world. One of them, as young as 9 years old, Indian-origin Anvitha Vijay who has already developed two app for the iOS platform! All of them have been impatiently waiting for announcements that no doubt would shape their work. And amongst them we had our own IOS Team Lead, Damien. Nearly a week has passed and we’re back to the office. Here is our take on what happened.
2 million apps, 130 billion downloads
Hype around this annual gathering is not a big surprise considering the staggering stats just released by Apple. They claim to have 2 million apps available on their App Store, downloaded 130 billion times since its 2008 launch. And to top it off, they say to have paid out nearly $50 billion in revenue to developers.
Key announcements – 4 platforms
Whilst Apple focused on its main platform updates listed below, we have been keeping our eyes and ears open for the ones specifically relating to the new iOS 10 and what this means for Aquafadas, developers and most importantly our clients.
It’s been considered to be a significant update designed to make the watch experience faster and smoother. Amongst the changes we liked the most are instant apps feature meaning that they will update in the background so that the information displayed is accurate at all times. Aquafadas has not yet released any watchOS app. Watch this space, who knows it might be time for us to work on it now!
Not only we like its new name, as a move away from OSX to macOS Sierra, but most importantly we are excited about the addition of Siri. It can be launched with a keyboard shortcut or dock icon and perform complex file searches based on a variety of different criteria. Some of you might know that Aquafadas started as a macOS only software company and there is always some nostalgia when we think about it – our first passion and inspiration.
Although this Apple platform has received only a few new features, it’s been closely linked with IOT with a control system called HomeKit becoming a remote-control hub for the company’s smart home. There is also a new remote app letting users control their TV with their iPhones.
And last but not least – iOS 10
The final version of iOS 10 is expected to appear on the market in September after a slightly longer and additional bug testing. It will include softer aesthetic, an interactive lock screen, personalised home screen widgets plus revamped Music, News, Maps and HomeKit and many more new features. But what keeps us excited and what do our clients need to know?
Everybody has been discussing new iMessages but we’re specifically interested in iMessages integration.
“We’re looking forward to testing and taking advantage of this new capability for an app to push content linking back directly to another app facilitating its discovery. In our context, we can imagine sheer number of possibilities such as being able to share an article or any other content even with people who don’t have the app. It will prompt the recipient to download it and then as a part of a very seamless journey, the link will then bring the new user exactly to the right spot. This could be a very useful way to promote a new business app in the enterprise environment by using an existing app or could support digital magazine publishers in getting more people to download their apps from a link. This is a great improvement especially in the app discoverability decline era. We also consider this Apple’s move as a way to transform their iMessage from a simple SMS service to a hub allowing users to perform multiple actions without leaving the iMessage platform.”, Matthieu Kopp, CTO, Aquafadas
We’re happy to see that push notifications have received attention and have been further developed by Apple. Following the ever growing trend of notifications becoming almost a key destination, Apple decided to provide developers with the capability to offer much richer notification experiences. With a long click end users will be able to complete social media posts, send messages and even consume pictures and video content without needing to unlock the app.
And other updates: News format and subscription model
At Aquafadas, we have also been looking closely at other news coming our way from Apple having impact on our clients. We’ve been following developments of Apple News Format, recently released to the public. The new improvements are aimed at making News more publisher-friendly with widely available custom graphics for channel cover ability to insert old stories to channels etc. “We’re now exploring the ability to easily publish article content from our Aquafadas tools to Apple News in order for publisher to open a new channel that would enhance the discoverability of their apps and contents.”, Matthieu Kopp, CTO, Aquafadas
New subscription business model
Just before the WWDC16 conference Apple announced a positive news for app publishers. All App Store categories will soon be eligible to offer auto-renewable subscription via in-app purchase. The revenue sharing model will also change. Currently, subscription revenue is shared 70-30 between developers and Apple. Subscription based apps will see that model change to 85-15 for a customer subscription active for at least one year. This is exciting news as users will receive a one-stop shop to access all their content from one device. For us at Aquafadas this gives us a focus on user subscriptions journey. Everything that can help them to subscribe (flawless user experience, gentle reminders about the savings they can make, targeted push notifications) will be looked at and reviewed. Also as it seems that the interface on iTunes connect is becoming more complicated we need to ensure that this doesn’t impact on our kiosk.
WWDC16 left us thinking that the Apple ecosystem is really maturing: with 4 OSs, increased interoperability, great focus on user experience and exciting new ways to enhance discoverability and access to content. All good news for us.