In the latest iteration of its mobile operating system, Apple gives end customers more control and makes the inner workings more transparent. Those changes are driven by how users behave. An average Apple consumer is now much more tech savvy than before and wants to control and understand what their phone knows about them. This, in turn, is undoubtedly largely influenced by Android, which has always been open about this kind of stuff.

In this review, we look at the new features of iOS 11 that mobile marketers should focus on.

All-new App Store

iOS 11 store

The new App Store boasts a lot of changes — it is completely different, in fact. There’s a new “Today” tab, which is also a replacement for featured apps and a new homepage. Every day the App Store editors will pick an app and cover it. “Covering” an app may imply an interview with its developers, a story of its creation or any other topic connected to the app. There will also be lists and selections of apps aimed at solving a specific problem and so on. Apple is clearly investing in content marketing with this. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

In its essence, the “Today” tab is similar to Apple Music’s “Browse”: both help you discover new things tailored to your preferences and installed apps.

“Games” and “Apps” tabs have also received major overhauls: they now have recommendations, videos, app selections and ratings by category.

The app page has also changed. Developers can now use localised videos and screenshots which will be shown to users depending on where the are and which country’s store the use. The page design itself is now more attention-grabbing, eye-catching and effective promotion-wise. Users can see every award the app has ever received, its rank and rating.

Apple has also revisioned how in-app purchases work within the store. Players now can start buying in-app currency right in the store and finish the transaction in the app.

Reviews

Starting with iOS 11, developers are no longer able to show custom-text popups asking for a review of their app. Apple has instead offered a general message that will appear in every app. This message can only be shown three times per year and if a user does leave a review, you can’t ask him for another one for a year.

To make things a little bit easier—and probably to not antagonise the developers—Apple has created App Store ratings API which allows to leave a review without exiting the app.

Location & tracking

Apple was repeatedly criticised because of the way it handles location tracking of its users. It is best described as shady. In iOS 11 apps that actively track location will appear in the notification bar which will turn blue.

iOS 11 location

Users will now have the option to choose when an app can access their location: “Always”, “While Using the App”, “Never”. The blue bar will appear whenever a “While Using” app will track the location. Apps with “Always” access will not trigger the blue bar, same goes for geofencing and beacons.

This update will help users better understand when they are being tracked. Marketers, in turn, will be able to explain what benefits users gain when giving access to their location.

ARKit

iOS 11 ARWith ARKit, first shown at WWDC earlier this year, Apple told us goes big into the AR game. iPhone 8 and X only support this claim, boasting the new cameras with better AR support.

The company wants developers and brands to create AR experiences. be it games or apps. This makes a lot of sense, as Apple is in a runner-up position: Google, Facebook and Snapchat all have already leased their own AR platforms. However, iOS is traditionally seen as a more attractive option for devs, especially taking into account the amount of paying users in the App Store. Hint: it’s higher than in Google’s Play Store.

Already there are a lot of great examples of use from indie developers. This makes it even more intriguing: we have yet to see how brands will use the new tech with their budgets and teams.

NFC access

With the release of iOS 11 developers have for the first time gained access to the NFC chip, which was previously an Apple Pay exclusive. With Core NFC framework, developers will be able to expand the chip’s uses beyond payments. It could work as key card at work or in a hotel, as a ticket on the subway or to connect to other devices.

What is more, in iOS 11 payments can be confirmed by your voice instead of fingerprint, and the SiriKit framework will become far more useful and powerful.

 

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