Apple held WWDC16 in San Francisco earlier this month to introduce new versions of iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and a new version of OS X that’s been rebranded as macOS. These new versions are available to developers now and will be more widely available through Apple’s Public Beta program soon, with final releases this Fall. Alongside the new software, Apple announced some exciting changes coming to the App Store, too: Search Ads and more open and flexible subscriptions. If you have an app for any of Apple’s platforms that could use an update for the new releases or are looking to build something new, now is a great time, so get in touch. Let’s take a look at some of the announcements in more detail.
Apple announced new versions of the operating systems for all four of its platforms: iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. There are too many changes to detail here, but I plan to start covering some of them in depth over on our developer blog.
The key things to get excited about and to start thinking about how you can incorporate into your app are:
- watchOS 3 finally makes third party apps fast and usable. Between it, and the second generation Apple Watch rumored to launch this Fall, I expect watchOS apps to see a dramatic uptake in usage and popularity.
- iOS 10 opens some features of iOS up to third party apps such as Messages, Maps, and Siri, which gives users new ways to engage with your app. Or if you’ve got a killer pack of stickers that you’ve been waiting to share with the world, now’s your chance!
- macOS “Sierra” brings Siri to the Mac and takes advantage of Continuity features to blur the lines between your mobile and desktop experience.
- tvOS 10 brings Siri improvements, Single Sign On, a dark mode, and HomeKit integration for your Internet of Things (IoT) devices in your connected home.
With Search Ads, you can now buy ads for your apps on the iOS App Store that are displayed when relevant searches are made. A single ad is shown above the search results with a light blue background which can make it easier for customers to find your app. With so many apps to choose from on the App Store, discoverability has definitely become a problem, especially since searching the App Store often returns frustrating results due to the absence of filtering options to let you narrow down your search.
The program is launching in beta for the U.S. App Store and is launching this Fall. If you’re interested in joining the program or learning more about it, let us know.
Previously only available to certain categories of apps, renewable subscriptions sold as an In App Purchase (IAP) are now open to all categories of apps. This opens up a new set of business models for mobile apps other than the paid-up-front, ad-supported, or freemium models that are currently the most popular approaches. The changes allow for more flexible pricing, subscription durations, and support tiered offerings such as Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels. More importantly, after a year the payout terms change from the standard 70/30 split with Apple to 85/15, so you pay less in fees to Apple.
All in all, it was a solid WWDC with a good balance of new features and services for users, developers, and businesses. With the updated platforms shipping this Fall, now is a great time to start thinking about how you can take advantage of the changes in your existing apps or dream up some new ones! We’ve got years of experience building great apps for clients of all sizes and from a variety of industries. We code the impossible, we find solutions where others see obstacles, so get in touch to find out how we can help with your next project.