App Development

iOS 10 Launch: 3 Things You Need to Know

The biggest news in the Apple universe this month? iOS 10. We’ve been previewing this new version for a while, and now that its release date is just around the corner, we want to tell you about some new features that we think will get real traction, real fast.

Notifications & 3D Touch

While technically two separate changes, the combination of new notifications capabilities with 3D Touch will transform the way users interact with “snackable” and time-dependent content like sports scores or news. The most important changes:

  • Users can now read notifications in their entirety, without unlocking the phone.
  • Using 3D Touch, the user can view and interact with notifications—including iMessage—on the Lock Screen.
  • Also, importantly for publishers, we can now update messages instead of piling them on top of each other. Users no longer have to get multiple messages to keep up with a changing sports score—a single message can update concurrently across iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Notifications already anchor the user’s relationship with an app or brand, and this will only intensify with iOS 10.

  • Who should take note: Media providers that deliver time-dependent content like sports and news updates.
  • What to do: Make sure you have a robust notifications strategy to take advantage of these changes, and allocate resources to manage the content of your notifications over time.

Siri SDK

On the surface, the new Siri SDK seems limited: it only integrates ride booking, messaging, photo search, payments, VoIP calling, and workouts.

But when we look closer, the messaging and, to some extent, payments integrations offer incredible opportunities. Specifically, messaging opens a door to using chatbots to accomplish almost anything via voice. For example, you could ask Siri to “Message the Regal Cinemas app for current showtimes.” While we are waiting on final details, we believe Siri’s integration with messaging will allow publishers to basically create voice-based interaction with any app that has chatbot functionality.

  • Who should take note: All app publishers.
  • What to do: Begin asking how users might want to interact with your content and functionality via voice. Identify the most common use cases. Then develop chatbots that can integrate with Siri.

iMessage “Sub-Apps”

This update may have the greatest impact of any change in iOS 10. iMessage has long been the most used app on the iPhone, and now Apple is giving it platform status by making apps accessible directly from iMessage. Not only does this give iMessage feature parity with interactive messaging apps like Snapchat, it goes way further by creating a new “store” for “sub-apps.”

Apple itself will launch new features (like stickers) that allow users and brands to create dynamic content to drop into messages—think everything from custom emojis to drawings. For brands, though, the breakthroughs are allowing users to drop in previews of websites, custom stickers, and GIFs, and most powerfully, allowing users to collaborate and even send payments.

For example, Regal Cinemas could offer an iMessage “sub-app” that allows users to see current movie times, tap on which times work for them, and then buy tickets together.

  • Who should take note: All app publishers—see specific suggestions below.
  • What to do: Start right away identifying ways users could interact with your brand within the iMessage app via stickers, website previews, or full functionality. Here are some thought starters:
    • Media companies can create ways for users to:

      • Share recently watched videos or read stories
      • Share five-second clips of highlights or trailers
      • Communicate (and taunt each other) about real and fantasy sports scoreboards
      • Take interactive polls
    • Retail and hospitality providers could let users:

      • Collaborate on picking a movie, restaurant, or hotel-and make purchases together
      • Create shopping lists together
    • Banks and financial institutions can enable payments through iMessage

    • Game providers could enable social gaming, tied into brand experiences

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