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The Executive’s Guide to Apple’s September 2020 Product Announcements

Today’s Apple Event brought a slew of announcements on Apple Watch Series 6 and SE, iPad 8 and Air, Apple Fitness+, Apple One, and the release date of iOS 14 (tomorrow!). We’ve broken down the biggest announcements to help you understand why they matter and what they mean for your apps and digital properties.

iOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7

The Announcement

The most important announcement relevant across any company with a mobile app is that iOS 14 will be available starting tomorrow, Wednesday September 16! Also being released tomorrow are tvOS 14 and watchOS 7.

Why it Matters

This means that apps must be ready for iOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 as soon as possible. This is especially important for any streaming app that is not utilizing Apple’s Overlay for their player, as old overlays may not work on tvOS 14.

What You Should Do

Test your iOS apps with iOS 14 and your TV apps with tvOS 14 as soon as possible, and prioritize getting any updates out for these new operating systems to your users. Be sure you’re thinking critically about how your apps use data ahead of the App Store Connect changes, as well.

Apple Watch Series 6 and SE

The Announcement

Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 6 (S6) which includes new capabilities to monitor users’ blood oxygen levels and track sleep, as well as a processor chip that makes the watch 20% faster than its predecessor. A brighter display also makes it easier to see the watch interface outside.

They also announced a less expensive version of the Apple Watch called Apple Watch SE, which comes in both cellular and WiFi models. With a new feature called Family Setup, children and older adults will be able to use Apple Watch without an iPhone.

Why it Matters

More availability of health data via the Apple Watch points to an increased emphasis on the fitness and health beenfits of using an Apple Watch. The Family Setup feature and a less expensive Apple Watch SE means that kids and older adults will be using Watch apps and digital products without having an iPhone. This could continue to expand Apple’s user base beyond the typical iPhone demographic.

What You Should Do

If you have a health, fitness, or workout app, consider using the new blood oxygen or sleep data in HealthKit as a new metric to track and show to your users.

Apple Fitness+

The Announcement

One of the biggest announcements from today was the introduction of Apple Fitness+, which offers on-demand workout classes that users can watch on their iPhone and iPad, integrated with Apple Watch. One of the key value propositions is that most workouts don’t require equipment and can be done from anywhere.

Why it Matters

The “at home” economy as a result of COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted the $94 billion fitness industry. With gyms and fitness studios shut down, more people have been tuning into video workouts from their living rooms, sending sales soaring for digital fitness companies like MIRROR and Peloton. The new Fitness+ service will offer workout content that competes with these companies, and points to the long-term viability of the digital fitness trend.

What You Should Do

Aside from elevated competition between fitness and health apps, this service will not likely impact that larger app ecosystem.

iPad Air and iPad 8

The Announcement

Apple revealed the eighth generation iPad with an A12 bionic chip, as well as the brand new iPad Air with an A14 bionic chip — the first 5nm process chip ever.

Why it Matters

The A14 chip has a 16 core neural engine, which will make apps that use machine learning operate much faster.

What You Should Do

If you utilize any machine learning features in your apps, consider taking advantage of CoreML natively on the iPad device to increase the responsiveness of these features, and to protect the privacy of your users.

Apple One

The Announcement

Apple One is Apple’s new services bundle, which includes tiers of bundling Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, iCloud Storage for individuals and families, as well as a premier package that includes Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+.

Why it Matters

Apple One could increase Apple’s own competition between third-party news, games, and music apps by bundling these services together.

What You Should Do

Similarly to Fitness+, the implications of Apple One are mainly around increased competition in specific sectors, particularly between music services like Apple Music+ and Spotify.

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When iOS 14 was unveiled at WWDC 2020, we knew that the September launch would come around quickly, and users would expect that iPhone apps have functionality that is most useful to them in the new operating system.

If you or your team need support in testing your apps in the new operating systems, planning for what data to track with the App Connect Store changes, or want to consider how to utilize new machine learning capabilities, feel free to get in touch with WillowTree.

Want more insights from the 2020 WWDC?

Read Our Executive's Guide to iOS 14

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