San Jose, CA – Yesterday Apple at their World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) introduced some new features aimed both at making iOS developers’ lives more comfortable and enabling them to deliver better experience all across.

Mubaloo was selected to attend the event in San Jose California as an Apple Enterprise Mobility Partner. We could dwell on all the announcements and specifications of this new release, but I think you can find that all over the web. Instead, we will explain what the impact is for organisations who are developing products in the Apple main ecosystem and what the announcements Apple made yesterday may mean for your business.

Over the two hours main keynote session, Apple announced the new iOS12, the macOS Mojave, the watchOS 5, and the Apple TV 4K but below are our key takeaways from the conference.

Tapping into the zeitgeist – A battle of titans.

Apple seems to be aware of the latest privacy issues and GDPR legislation that came into the limelight in the last months. Aligning itself with Google’s fight against aggressive online advertisement and app permissions it announced improved visibility into what you share with 3rd party apps, this translates to notifications much like you see when you’re installing an app on your iPhone device, alerting you to what information you’re about to share. On the web front, when using Safari, you’ll now have “Enhanced Tracking Prevention”, which means that Safari now thwarts the “fingerprint” used by advertisers to track you, by only sharing a simplified system profile.

Some also saw this as a direct hit to Facebook use of their tracking pixels and sharing buttons.

What does this mean for you?

Consider this; if the tech giants like Apple and Google are now focussed on user privacy, you should be too. Yes, a few bad apples (no pun intended) have used digital tracking technology and ruined a crucial part of modern marketing and user experience for all of us. But, fear not, the takeaway for this story is for you to review how you treat and manage the data you collect across your digital assets and ask yourself: Am I using this data to serve my customer/user better?

Be aware that as this race into better privacy management accelerates it will mean that your users are now more aware of the way you use their data which means that you need to be more transparent and compliant to maintain and build trust.

Knock! Knock!
Who’s there? Oh no, not you again!

Push notification management has been improved in the new iOS; you can now manage it on-the-go directly on the screen and choose to turn-off those annoying pop-ups saying you have full lives on Candy Crush, or the latest message from that WhatsApp group chat you didn’t even know you were in.

What does this mean for you?

Remember Apple wouldn’t make this a feature unless it detected that’s a pain point amongst users. This feature means that you must now tread more carefully when sending push notifications to your users. They now have an almost frictionless way of cutting down the number of notifications they receive, so you may need to rethink your push strategy. It’s always about relevancy so make sure that every push notification counts to get your message across.

This is also an opportunity to introduce within your growth strategy the concept of business moments (covered on our CTO Guide to | Digital Product Growth).

Blurring the lines between virtual and reality – Sharing augmented worlds.

Welcome to a brave new world! Where the physical merges with the digital, and as we predicted on our AR/VR paper the AR train is raging full steam ahead. (I told you so…)

With the launch of iOS12 apple launched a brand new ARKit 2. The new ARKit makes it possible for developers to create more immersive augmented reality experiences — even ones that multiple people can experience simultaneously. AR objects can now be sent with Messages and Mail, then viewed in the real world. Also, a new AR app in iOS called Measure helps you measure real-world objects just by pointing your camera at them.

What does this mean for you?

Apple is giving you the tools to create immersive semi-virtual worlds. However, there’s something more at stake here, as more and more people interact with AR they will sooner or later expect you to provide these experiences. Here the key is not going “AR first” and start creating these experiences for the sake of having them, this is merely another tool in the engagement and experiential arsenal that just got a lot cheaper and easy to use. So remember, technology is a tool, not a solution! Read more about AR and VR on our whitepaper here.

Did Apple just dig up Siri from its grave?

I’m excited about this feature because I do consider it to be the one with most potential use for both products/experiences used in enterprise and consumer-facing.

I’m an avid iPhone user (yes, I’m a fanboy) but I never really used Siri, at least not in the way I use my Alexa. There are many challenges with Siri, voice recognition, for example, lags behind most of its competitors. However, Apple’s new twist on Siri, a change from a traditional passive voice assistant to an active virtual assistant. This unveiled something that even Alexa is not able to do today.

The new SiriKit will enable us to create what Apple describes as Siri Shortcuts. These shortcuts use contextual information like location, time of day and type of motion (such as walking, running or driving) to deliver notifications, Siri Suggestions will also learn when to suggest relevant shortcuts.

The Siri shortcuts will be visible on the lock screen, search and the Siri watch face.

What does this mean for you?

At Mubaloo we talk a lot about using contextual information to deliver optimal messages, in the context of growth. Imagine sending push notifications from a retail app that sells running shoes directly to a user after they have been running. In the context of adoption of an enterprise app, Siri could push notifications based on location to remind engineers to check-in on location. This new feature is a chance to revisit your apps and the job map you’re using and identify where this contextual information could be useful for your users.

Side note on Core ML2.

Core ML is Apple’s Machine Learning framework that lets you integrate machine learning models into your app. This framework enables apps to tap into Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (i.e. Voice commands), GameplayKit amongst others.

During WWDC 2018 Apple announced Core ML 2, a new version of its suite of machine learning apps for iOS devices. Core ML 2 is 30 per cent faster, and the updated toolkit lets developers shrink the size of trained machine learning models by up to 75 per cent through quantisation.

This framework is built in Swift, so we can use drag-and-drop programming interfaces like Xcode Playgrounds to train models. “It’s really easy to use,” Apple senior vice president of software engineer Craig Federighi said onstage.

What does it mean for you?

Much like the new ARKit, this highlights a trend in the industry. By giving developers more effective tools to more effectively build and deploy apps that use AI, Apple is helping organisations tap into something that was only accessible to large corporations with the right experts and big developer teams. As mentioned in our first white paper of this year we’ll be seeing the tech giants, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Apple using PaaS and other models to provide us with the basics (ok, not so basic) to adopt advanced technology.

In summary…

Overall we found out this was not only a great showcase of Apple’s vision for the future of their OS but the Apple ecosystem as a whole. It tackled some significant issues in tech such as privacy, the iPhone slowdown scandal, Augmented Reality, AI and user experience.

The launch of iOS 12 and the announcement of the ARKit 2, Core ML2 and the new Siri Shortcuts were Apple’s iOS highlights on the two-hour keynote.

Other announcements include a significant boost in speed for older iPhone models, the co-creation with Pixar of a new 3D file format called USDZ (to be used for AR), the new Measure App that allows you measure distance and length using your iPhone camera, a new Siri Shortcuts Marketplace, Apple CarPlay will now allow 3rd party apps (I.e Waze and Google Maps), Memojis and much more.

If you have a couple of hours to spare, you can watch the full keynote here.

Hope you liked our run-through on this year’s event. We look forward to attending it again next year and share with you all the new exciting announcements!