At its June 13 keynote, tech giant Apple announced a bunch of new updates across its four software platforms. There seemed to be one clear underlying concept behind all the new features—make it easier for people to do things, whether it is hailing a cab or making a payment. So, while a lot of these features are not really new, Apple is surely moving action to where the user is, be it the messaging app or the Watch.
One of the features that got attention at the keynote was the JibJab app integration in Messages. CEO Gregg Spiridellis explains that the addition of the App Store within the messaging app will “reduce friction” for people who want to use his customised animated GIFs to respond to messages. Any feature available on the JibJab app will now be on the message extension too, and seamlessly accessible with just two taps, explains Spiridellis. “Users will no longer need to open the app, create a GIF, copy it, come back to the message app and paste before sending,” he adds.
Similarly, for the immensely successful, and profitable, Sweat with Kayla app, the new watchOS 3 updates will mean that users will be able to see step-by-step video instructions on their Watch itself, and be able to track progress much more easily. CEO Tobi Pearce says their first Watch app will come directly on watchOS 3. He is excited about the dock functionality being introduced in the update, as it will allow a user to “tap and enter a workout at any time.” Also, the sticky app option that allows an app to stay instead of being dismissed like before will find more use in the health and fitness segment, according to Pearce.
Dexcon, meanwhile, will take these new watchOS features to a whole new level by offering continuous glucose level monitoring for diabetics, using a sensor on the body connected to the phone with a Bluetooth transmitter. The company thinks that due to the faster refresh cycles on watchOS 3, users will benefit by knowing their reading real-time and whether it is going up or down; then there are notifications which help them wake up if levels are dropping at night and the share features which let a caregiver or family member keep a tab on the readings. CTO Jorge A Valdes says the Watch is the most discreet place to show blood sugar readings as most diabetics don’t want anyone else to know they have the disease.
But “reducing friction” will have the most significant impact with the Apple Pay integration, making purchase more impulsive and smooth. With Apple Pay coming on macOS Sierra, companies such as online multi-brand retailer Spring should see an increase in transactions, given that it will take just one tap to execute a payment. The Apple Pay option will show up only if an iOS device is nearby, and if it is then the process is a single tap as the phone already has all the data needed for the transaction to go through.
Meanwhile, with rich links now enabled in messages, Spring hopes a lot of conversation will also led to conversions in purchase.
Talking of conversions, ride hailing apps such as Lyft will soon be able to get users requesting cars from the Watch itself and, if needed, using just Siri. With the new iOS 10 update, there will be third-party integration with Maps too. So, if you are searching for a restaurant in the map, you will be able to book a cab without leaving the app.
While a lot of these features might initially appear incremental, developers seem to be loving the fact that there are now fewer steps to get things done or for transactions to go through. While this makes life easier for users, this will also mean good business for app developers.
The author attended the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2016 at Apple’s invitation