There’s no question that Apple’s next operating system — iOS 10 — is poised to open up a whole new world for brands and marketers when it’s released this fall.
Until now, a brand’s reach had been mostly confined to the bounds of its own application. Opportunities to integrate with other apps were extremely limited.
However, if you scroll through the iOS 10 preview Apple posted to its website, you’ll see that the company plans to provide brands with a number of new access points into key apps that include Messages and Siri.
Here are 10 tidbits brands need to know about iOS 10 as we approach its big release:
- Extending Extensions: First introduced in iOS 8, extensions are an opportunity for brands to expand their value and build recognition by incorporating widgets into Apple’s apps. Originally limited to a few select areas, iOS 10 will drastically expand these opportunities and allow brands to put their stamps on several new, exciting areas, including text messages and Siri (which we’ll cover below).
- Stickers and Keyboards: Messages will become much richer, allowing brands to build content and tools that integrate into the iOS keyboard, such as sticker packs and customized keyboards that extend their digital assets directly into consumers’ conversations.
- New Subscription Model: There are two key changes to in-app subscriptions coming with iOS 10. First, any app can now be offered as an auto-renewable subscription regardless of the product category, dropping the limitation that subscriptions had to unlock new content. Second, after the first year of a user’s subscription, the revenue share to the developer will increase from 70 percent to 85 percent. Both changes acknowledge the ongoing costs of updating an app and adding new features.
- iMessage Apps: Messages will have its own separate app store, and any recipient of an iMessage that features your brand’s app will be prompted to download your product. iMessage apps will be similar to native ones, but they don’t necessarily have to be full-fledged apps.
- Market Speed: In iOS 10, publishing an iMessage app will be almost as easy as uploading a group of assets to the App Store. This means brands experience a much shorter turnaround time and lower development costs to get their content out there.
- Richer Notifications: Notifications will be much richer and more versatile in iOS 10. Brands will be able to customize the appearance of their push notifications to better grab users’ attention, and users will be able to achieve more functionality without needing to unlock their phones and enter an app.
- Siri Partnerships: Brand apps can now buddy up with Siri and ingrain themselves into how users interact with Apple’s virtual assistant. Soon, “Siri, order me an Uber” will be a statement we hear people say every single day.
- True Tone: Originally an exclusive feature of iPad Pros, iOS 10 documentation leads us to believe True Tone will be extended into the new devices coming later this year. Text-rich apps like news readers will want to take advantage of this better reading experience, whereas apps like photo editors will want to ensure they are overriding the True Tone color shift to maintain higher fidelity of their colors.
- Apple Pay’s Ubiquity: Apple Pay will become available on Safari, meaning brands will need to update their websites in order to take advantage of it.
- HomeKit’s App: HomeKit will finally have its own application, which means we can expect to see more effort and attention given to AppleTV and HomeKit-enabled devices over the course of the year. Be on the lookout for an increasing number of connected and seamless experiences for consumers across all the devices they own.
Finding innovative ways to fit your brand into the new environments made possible by iOS 10 will be tricky, and educating users on how to interact with you through these new interfaces may be even more challenging. However, it won’t be impossible.
With iOS 10, Apple is providing infinite amounts of new marketing avenues for brands, and those who educate themselves today will be in the best position to capitalize come this fall.
Matthew Knuti is vice president of engagement at Fuzz.