From June 5 to June 9, 2023, Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), a weeklong event where the company unveiled its newest products and upgraded operating systems. The biggest and most exciting event of the year for Apple was broadcast live online to millions of viewers and was attended by developers, students, and media members. Along with other announcements and updates that will alter how consumers and brands interact with each other through Apple’s devices; Apple’s brand-new “wearable spacial computer” Vision Pro and visionOS, and its operating system, were the day’s most significant announcements. Let’s examine the highlights of the WWDC event and what it means for the future of engagement for brands.
Apple Paves The Way for More Personalization with iOS 17
With improvements to the features of Phone, FaceTime, and Messages, Apple’s iOS 17 reveals making iPhone more personalized and intuitive.
Starting from iOS 17, users will be able to personalize their Contact Posters through new font colors, numerous new typography options, pictures, or Memojis. With users having new ways to express themselves, Contact Posters will appear when a contact calls the user or when the user shares their contact information via NameDrop.
Significant updates have also been made to the Message app, including a brand-new sticker experience with new emoji stickers and a new way to make Live Stickers by using objects from images. Users can also add effects to Live Stickers to make them come to life, and a new keyboard drawer organizes all of their stickers for easier access.
StandBy: A Full-Screen Experience while Your Phone is Charging
Apple introduced StandBy at this event, which actually transforms iPhones into smart home devices while they are being charged and turned on their side. With StandBy, iPhone users will be able to quickly and easily access critical information from their preferred apps, including Live Activities, in full-screen.
We all remember Live Activities from last year’s WWDC as a part of iOS 16, the feature that acts as interactive push notifications designed for users to keep track of their real-time activities. Live Activities are being used for sports games happening in real-time, food deliveries on their way, workout times, and health stats for those who like to exercise without having to unlock their phones.
You may get a new lock screen experience with the StandBy function by turning your phone on its side while it is charging. This experience can be a customized alarm clock, a calendar, or a personalized picture reel. Live Activities and widgets are also supported by the StandBy function, plus it automatically adjusts for low light.
Therefore, brands that have been using Live Activities to offer continuous and real-time information to their consumers, should soon consider updating their content and visuals to be ready for the full-screen view. Later this year, once iOS 17 becomes accessible universally, brands will be able to develop more engaging experiences with Live Activities on StandBy for their customers, in a full-screen.
A More Powerful iPad Lock Screen with Live Activities and Interactive Widgets
Additionally, later this year, with the release of iPadOS 17, Apple will offer Live Activities on the iPad. iPad users will now be able to check the status of real-time events like flights, food delivery, and live sports events right from their iPad lock screen.
Plus, after the update, iPad users will be able to add their preferred widgets on their iPad Lock Screens to quickly view crucial information. Users may use their Lock Screen to perform actions directly with interactive widgets. Brands that already offer iPhone widgets can now start working on how to create iPad widgets as well to attract more users.
The New Journal App
When Apple suggests a photo memory of our loved ones to us, don’t we all fall even more in love and appreciate it? Apple, also seems to enjoy the idea and wants to keep it alive.
Well, the new Journal app will assist you with keeping track of memories by suggesting moments from pictures, with location information added, and music recommendations.
Plus, the Journal App will also give you a prompt as to what you should be writing for that particular memory. What’s more to this is that suggestions can be integrated into third-party programs because they are available as an API, but while ensuring your privacy.
This new Journal App that the world will meet this year is also another example of how Apple loves personalization, as much as we do.
Safari Web Apps for macOS
One of the most significant Safari updates Apple introduced at WWDC is the ability to turn your favorite websites into Web Apps on MacOS. As the websites can be directly accessed from the desktop, brands have a better chance to engage with their customers.
Users can simply click on the icon and reach the website more quickly and easily than traditional browsing. Plus, having the logo of your brand constantly on their desktop will reinforce your brand which can in turn bring more customer engagement and conversions. Equally important, Apple’s Web Push Notification support for Web Apps on Safari for iOS and iPadOS allows marketers to use push notifications to enhance the user experience.
Privacy is Still the #1 Concern
We all know how important privacy is for both Apple users and Apple itself. Well, we don’t have to worry at all because privacy was one of the key topics of WWDC, exactly like the past events. Like other events, Apple just released a dozen updates to its operating systems and devices that improve privacy and security.
The newest addition to the family is Link Tracking Protection, which is designed to avoid cross-website tracking. Safari will be able to automatically remove tracking parameters from URLs when in Private Browsing Mode on iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma. Apple claims that Safari eliminates the identifying parts of the URL while keeping the rest intact when a tracking parameter is found while browsing or copying a link. The links will still function normally despite losing their distinctive identifiers.
At WWDC, Apple showed in a video how the parameters of the URL are removed. With the update, Safari automatically removes from the original URL the unique “click_id” parameter that is normally used by advertisers to track a user’s behavior across websites.
What brands should learn from this feature is that they need to work on their privacy policies and figure out how they can track users with more privacy-centric attribution methods, since Apple is determined to protect people’s privacy. Marketing teams should also start considering other ways of tracking sources.
The New Era of Reality With Apple Vision Pro
Apple Vision Pro‘s debut at WWDC 2023 was perhaps the event’s most significant part. The newest addition to the Apple family is called “wearable spacial computer” and will be available in 2024 for $3,499.
Users will be able to view and interact with digital content as if it were physically present in their environment. The difference between Apple’s Vision Pro and any other VR headsets that we all know and experienced before is that Apple has found a way to combine the actual world with the virtual experience smoothly.
Adjusting the shadows and highlights, Apple Vision Pro shows depth and location to help you blend the real world and the virtual one. The digital knob on the headgear lets you access built-in VR “environments” that let programs go beyond the physical space while also letting you adjust how engaged you are.
What’s more to this is the headset’s reliance on your hands, eyes, and voice rather than other devices or controllers. Users may just tap their fingers to choose, flip their fingers to navigate, and more.
But what does Apple Vision Pro say about the future of engagement? Well, it depends on the consumers. Many of us can say that Apple’s brand-new Vision Pro is neither necessary nor likely to be widely adopted. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the same thing was being said about smartphones ten years ago, the internet twenty years ago, and televisions thirty years ago. We can consider Apple Vision Pro to change things sooner rather than later, especially given how Apple has a way of making new technologies into must-have products.
A tip for brands that want to think of the future is to think about Vision Pro and the possibilities it will give birth to when it comes to customer engagement. Especially Media & Entertainment brands can see their way into the brand-new Vision Pro, and think about how to adapt to these new changes. But that does not mean that other brands cannot do anything while the world is changing into new technologies, they just need to work a little harder to keep up and find a way to mix customer experience with the virtual world.
What Netmera Learnt From Apple WWDC
At Netmera, we are thrilled to see and experience what Apple has to offer with iOS 17, new features and additions to the Apple family, and of course, the brand-new Vision Pro.
As always, we’re getting prepared for these features and we will be offering a new Netmera SDK that is compatible with iOS 17 and other changes. We encourage everyone to update their SDKs for a better experience. Stay tuned for new updates from us to help you prepare for iOS 17 and any other releases.