Monday marked the start of WWDC, Apple’s annual, week-long, developer-focused conference. In the two-hour keynote with Tim Cook, we heard about:
- The largely expected yearly updates to iOS, macOS, watchOS and now tvOS.
- We were introduced to the HomePod – Apple’s Siri-powered answer to Amazon’s Echo series of products and the Google Home.
- Probably most unexpected was the announcement of the iMac Pro, an ultra high-end power user computer starting at $4,999.
Both products won’t be available until December, which is disappointing considering Apple typically makes its products available one to two weeks following their announcements.
As the week continues, news surrounding WWDC will start to wind down as the developers dive deeper into talking about the new APIs available to enhance apps and connect with users. Some developments will create a large amount of buzz and get top billing, like HomeKit, while others will feature tools and foundations for companies to build great experiences on top of.
I’ve looked through all of the new developer features and selected three new APIs that will help businesses further connect with their audiences in meaningful ways.
- Business Chat
Business Chat brings the ability for businesses to communicate with their customers inside the Messages app. Many businesses already use Facebook Messenger and Twitter to connect with their customers, however, the deep integration this feature will have into iOS is the truly exciting part. Consumers will be able to launch conversations from Safari, Maps, Spotlight search and even Siri. This feature is bound to reduce the friction in connecting users with you. Businesses can sign up for the service this fall when iOS 11 launches.
- NFC Tag Reading
NFC is the technology that makes Apple Pay possible, but prior to Monday, iPhones could only send information over NFC, not receive it. Now, your iPhone has the capability to act as a key for your car and other proximity features based upon receiving information from NFC. New interaction possibilities will become possible with kiosks and other similar installations. Much like how we’ve seen virtual reality be used in creative ways to catch people’s attention, expect to see people experimenting with new physical interactions.
SiriKit is a top billed feature, and with good reason. For the first time, developers will be able to create their own custom integrations with Siri. Previously, only Apple could create these experiences, leading to frustrating scenarios where users could get a Lyft using Siri, but not an Uber. Those days are nearly behind us! The only snag is that the users will still need to install your app, but it doesn’t need to be running to interact with custom Siri extensions. This will be big.
To learn more about additional WWDC announcements, visit https://developer.apple.com/.