Apple just showcased iOS11 onstage at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference. There are three new updates that truly caught our attention here at Snaps. Apple improved the iMessage platform by making iMessage Apps and sticker packs more hip, versatile and accessible. Apple also improved the Siri Intelligence platform empowering brands and third-party apps to surface in Siri results. Finally, Apple gave a sneak peek of HomePod, it’s Amazon Echo/Google Home competitor. Here’s the full breakdown:
iMessage App Store
Last year Apple upgraded iMessage by enabling third-party app extensions, stickers, animated stickers and a number of other well-known chat app features pitting Apple against Facebook Messenger, Snapchat & WeChat. Today, Apple improved the iMessage platform by making iMessage Apps and sticker packs more hip and accessible; they accomplished that by completely redesigning and revamping the iMessage App Drawer. The new design makes iMessage App discovery fun (now scrollable) but more important, iMessage Apps are ever-present.
Simply put, when two or more people are in a conversation, iMessage Apps will always be on the bottom of their conversation.
This matters for brands because it enables consumers to reach iOS11 iMessage Apps in just a tap and iMessage App’s omnipresence will drive brand awareness, engagement and sales.
In the WWDC keynote, Apple showed how simple it is to send a Starbucks gift-card to a friend with just a few quick taps. It’s simpler than ever for brands to have peer-to-peer commerce in iMessage.
Another update to iMessage is that it works in iCloud. When people sign into new device, their conversations, and iMessage apps, are automatically synchronized too.
With iOS11, Apple is bringing Apple Pay directly to peer-to-peer messaging. It’s a breeze to use and like other iMessage Apps, it’s right in the iMessage App drawer. People can send and receive money right in the transcript. By Apple integrating this peer-to-peer payments service with Apple Pay, it puts them head-to-head with Venmo, Paypal and Square Cash. After someone sends money, the balance lives on an Apple Pay virtual card stored in a Wallet app which is perfect for brands because Apple Pay purchases can be made in iMessage or across the web.
Apple claimed that Siri is now used by more the 375 million devices. Today, we learned that Siri added new languages, a built-in translator, a more human-like voice, and the ability to surface multiple results. What stood out to us is more open third-party support through SiriKit, which will allow brands to integrate more deeply within Siri; brands can now build extensions into Siri. Looking ahead, Siri will also use “on-device learning” to be more predicative about what you want next, based on your existing use. This is similar to Google Assistant’s capabilities.
Apple gave a sneak peek of their Amazon Echo/Google Home competitor; the HomePod. Apple describes it as, “a powerful speaker that sounds amazing, adapts to wherever it’s playing, and together with Apple Music, gives you effortless access to one of the world’s largest music catalogs. All controlled through natural voice interaction with Siri.”
The launch today positioned HomePod as a music device first…. but also showed that it can help with everyday household questions, tasks, and can control smart home accessories with the power of voice. “Because it has Siri, HomePod can hear and answer questions in the most popular categories. Timers. Clocks. Measurements. Translations. News. Sports. Weather. Traffic. And general knowledge.” At this time, it’s unclear how HomePod will support third-party apps and brands, but like Amazon & Google, we know it’s coming.
Bots for iMessage? Looks like it’s coming in iOS11. While this wasn’t covered during the main iOS11 WWDC keynote, one session during this week’s entire WWDC is what Apple calls, “Business Chat”. The developer site says, “Business Chat is a powerful new way for businesses to connect with customers directly from within Messages. Using Business Chat, your customers can get answers to questions, resolve issues and complete transactions on their iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Customers can find your business and start conversations from Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and Siri.”
We’re excited to learn more here!