What do Apple's announcements at WWDC16 about macOS, Siri and iMessage mean for marketers?

Marketing takeaways from 3 major Apple WWDC16 announcements

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Apple’s WWDC 2016 unveiled a slew of new features for Apple’s operating systems, services and apps, but potentially the most important announcement for marketers is that Apple is opening their software up to developers, which will lead to a larger number of apps offering users new ways to search and buy. The more opportunities people have to make a purchase, the more opportunities you’ll have to convince them to do it with you.

1. Mac OS X becomes macOS​ to unify Apple products

Mac OS X has been rebranded as macOS to further Apple’s move toward more harmony in their user experience. The latest version of the desktop operating system, Sierra, which is slated for a fall release, will continue Apple’s trend of gradually making their operating systems consistent across all of their devices. The latest releases of macOS, watchOS, iOS and even tvOS have all attempted to bridge the UX gap to keep the look and feel of their software and experiences unified.

The increasing continuity across devices is heightening most users’ expectations for UX and performance. Your website, and any software or apps you offer, should be seamless no matter the device being used, and if they aren’t, your target audience will look to your competitors’ content for a better experience.

Ask yourself:

If you aren’t sure about any of the above, it might be time to revisit your site’s design.

As devices, platforms and experiences converge in utility and feel, users will lose patience for slow-loading, poor-quality content. Internet users give up and move on faster than ever, so the pressure is on to deliver a simple, efficient UX that is intuitive to new visitors no matter how they access it.

2. Siri is growing smarter… and omnipresent

Siri can now help Apple device users with so much more.​​Siri will soon be available for macOS, the final OS to include the intelligent personal assistant. There was already a need to contextually optimize your content for voice searches thanks to the technology’s growing presence, and now Siri will provide new routes for businesses to reach their audience, which means an even greater need to do so semantically. The assistant will be more intelligent, and will be integrated into booking rides, making payments, searching and messaging.

QuickType, Apple’s response to the recent iOS release of Google’s keyboard app, will take advantage of Siri’s intelligence as well. And it wont be for just offering predictive auto-completions. Siri’s deep learning will be able to show texters rich, interactive links to connect them with answers, products and services. And now that Siri’s code is open to developers, there’s no limit for how functional the digital assistant will be for facilitating sales and business.

If semantics aren’t already part of your SEO practices, you’ve got until this fall to get on board. Mobile and voice searches have been increasing dramatically over the past few years, and people are still using desktops all the time, indicating another uptick once Siri emerges on desktop. As the tech integrates further into daily life, people’s searches will only become even more specific, contextual and frequent now that voice searches can be performed on all Apple devices. This doesn’t decrease the importance of mobile optimization, but instead emphasizes how important it is to optimize for conversational, syntactic, contextual search across all channels.

3. iMessage becomes a marketing platform

Following Snapchat’s lead in creating a richer chatting experience, and pulling from Facebook’s new Messenger platform, iMessage will see some major updates when iOS 10 rolls out this fall. 

“iMessage is turning into some kind of Snapchat-WhatsApp-Facebook Messenger conglomerate.” – The Verge

The texting app is among Apple’s software offerings that will be open to developers, which could lead to untold enrichment of the texting experience. Businesses should get ready to leverage iMessage to help users order food, make payments, book rides and otherwise interact with their audience via in-text links.

Marketers should now be able to treat iMessage as a new marketing platform, since Siri’s deep-learning AI will be a part of iMessage’s core as well. The assistant can make suggestions for food, transportation, shopping and more, giving local B2C businesses even more reason to keep their local optimization up to date. Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, called Siri’s integration with iMessage “pretty epic,” and while that might be highly overstated (in typical self-congratulatory Apple form), the new platform of iMessage has the potential to be a gold mine for marketers once developers get their hands on it.

Apple prides itself on making its users’ experiences as simple, unified and enjoyable as possible. Now that Apple has closed the loop on their four operating systems, the pressure to provide continuity in your content across platforms, and to optimize your strategy for how people are actually using their devices, has never been greater.

Ben Silverman
Ben Silverman is a former marketing writer for Brafton. His writing experience dates back to his time reviewing music for The UMass Daily Collegian at UMass Amherst. Ben comes from a background in marketing in the classical and jazz industries.

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