I don’t know about you, but September 9th cannot get here fast enough. We are eagerly anticipating next Tuesday for two big reasons:
1.) The team here at L4 Digital is looking forward to hearing all the specifics about the new Apple announcements and what they might mean for our customers.
2.) Truthfully, we will be happy not to see one more post, article, or news report on rumors about what Apple is or is not going to announce.
In the past week alone the Internet has exploded with massive Apple buzz that included everything from speculation that the Apple media invitation has a super-secret bird symbol in it to journalists predicting the failure of the iWatch before we even know if the product exists!
While our initial inclination might be to simply step away from the computer for a while to resist the temptation to read more unsubstantiated Apple rumors, we can’t help ourselves because we really love these Apple events. We know that our customers and partners look to us to provide some clarity in the Apple rumor mill madness so here are a few of the Apple/iPhone 6 rumors we think are really worth paying attention to:
NFC payments – Reports from Bloomberg suggest that next week Apple will be announcing both the new iPhone as well as how will make mobile payment easier by including a near-field communication chip. If the rumors are to be believed then this advancement would make paying for goods with the touch of a finger a reality. The initial reaction to this news might be “so what?” because as Google and many other companies can attest, NFC implementations were attempted before and failed to gain the support of both retailers or the public at large.
However, this time it might be different for a few key reasons. First, Apple iPhones currently have the largest market share in the U.S. and their owners are quite loyal and eager to embrace new iPhone features upon launch. Second, consumers are more open to NFC technology now, then they were when Google attempted this in 2011. In fact, 15% of Starbucks users are already paying with their phones today. Third, the recent mandate for retailers to accept credit cards with EVP chips is forcing retailers to currently upgrade their in-store payment processing technology anyway so this might be the right time for retailers to make a move to NFC. Fourth, the use of fingerprint technology would address some of the security concerns consumers had about NFC in the past.
For brands this could be a huge change to the way you convert fans into customers. For retailers this could present some real challenges to the way you handle in-store payment processing that may require a significant examination of mobile strategies. For everyone, NFC could be a game changer if Apple, unlike so many who have gone before them, could get it right.
App sharing – We already know that app sharing features are coming in iOS8 that will dramatically improve the end user experience on almost any device. Through a series of new app extensions iPhone/iPad users will gain the ability to connect their apps together to share information with one another and with many different types of devices. Apple calls it Extensibility, and for consumers it will mean less time spent switching among apps. With these extensions your apps can talk to one another and your hardware can begin to do the same. For example, your iPhone can talk to your Mac and then to your Apple TV and then to potentially your thermostat or any wirelessly connected device in your home. This feature starts to make the Internet of Things buzz come to life and presents a huge opportunity for brands that want to develop creative ways to create holistic experiences for the user that transcend every device that they use. Couple this app data sharing capability with the new Homekit feature also found in iOS8 and your phone will easily become the remote control for managing a consumer’s entire home entertainment and security system, making it an even more critical component for day-to-day life.
Larger display – This rumor almost seems like a fact now, given all the images flying around the Web. Does a bigger screen really signify an important change for companies currently delivering apps to consumers? In short, yes. A bigger screen changes the way the user navigates the device, the gestures they use to access reports, and the screen real estate a brand has to convey their message to consumers. For a list of important tips to consider when building apps for devices please see our Mobile Design Best Practices Guide and start thinking about how a bigger device could offer new opportunities to engage customers.
There are lots of additional rumors which have us excited too, including Healthkit, widgets, and many more features. Let’s wait and see what Apple actually has in store for us on September 9th though, and hope that maybe all these rumors are just the beginning of what is yet to come.
Image courtesy of Suganth for Unsplash.