Apple watchers make a sport out of predicting what the Cupertino giant will do next, but they're not always right. Not so on Tuesday, when Apple announced an upgraded operating system with features that digital marketers are welcoming — and some clearly knew were coming.
Alex Charalambous, a marketing specialist at circle S studio, forecasted these new marketing-friendly features — all of which Apple announced:
1. Updated Passbook
Apple's year-old Passbook app lets users store their assorted tickets, gift cards and coupons in one location. As of Sept. 18, when the new OS is released, consumers will be able to share these items with anyone — "thus increasing brand awareness for companies," wrote Charalambous.
Another plus, according to John Haro, chief technology officer at mobile marketing company Vibes, in Adotas: “The Passbook application now includes a QR code scanner which is significant because it offers a new and seamless way for consumers to take advantage of Passbook directly from print advertising."
2. Apps Near Me
A new feature in the App Store, "Apps Near Me," allows consumers to find relevant apps based on their location. "So, if you’re at football game in an unfamiliar city, you can see what apps other people are finding useful while you are there," wrote Charalambous. "If marketers can create native app experiences that are relevant to nearby consumers, they should have a competitive advantage for their brands."
3. Social media integration in Safari and Siri
Safari and Siri will be more integrated with Twitter, Charalambous wrote. Sure enough, a "Shared Links" feature in Safari will show users which websites their friends are sharing on Twitter. Siri, Apple's virtual personal assistant, will also be able to search within Twitter, once more reminding marketers of the importance of keywords.
4. iTunes Radio: an advertising opportunity
Apple confirmed a long-rumored rival to Pandora and Spotify. iTunes Radio relies on the same business model as its competitors: a free service with ads and a paid premium service that's ad-free. Wrote Charalambous: "Many iTunes users are likely to use (or switch to) iTunes Radio because of its large music library and the familiarity with iTunes software. iTunes radio will give marketers the opportunity to purchase 'radio spots' to reach a larger listening audience."
5. Not on the list? Touch ID fingerprint sensor
Charalambous didn't talk about this new feature, but a fingerprint security system that unlocks iPhone could have big implications for stalled efforts to get consumers to pay for goods and service with their phones. "The 'Touch ID' fingerprint scanner on Apple's new iPhone 5S isn't just a security device — it's also potentially the key that could unlock the long-promised (but little delivered) mobile payments revolution," writes Jim Edwards, deputy editor at Business Insider. "Marketers and retailers have broader plans [than just iTunes and App store purchases] for Touch ID: Making consumers feel secure about using their phones to make all sorts of payments."