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WWDC 2016 - macOS, iOS 10, tvOS: Everything Apple Announced

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On the same day in which Microsoft has announced the acquisition of LinkedIn, Apple claimed the attention of the entire tech world with the WWDC 2016.

As usual, Apple’s developers’ conference arrives few weeks after the Google I/O, renewing the eternal rivalry for the heart (and wallet) of the customers. How did it go? Did Cupertino overshadow Mountain View? Here’s everything you need to know about the WWDC 2016.

The first impression we get, scrolling down the list of the announcements, is that Apple is rapidly moving toward a seamless integration of its family of devices. This will allow the users to switch from one device to another more easily. Just to name two examples, Siri is coming to desktop computers, and so Apple Pay, that will soon work on Safari.

Besides the big changes, however, we have also seen a bunch of incremental updates and redesigns, from the new notifications and lock screen interactions for iOS to an Apple Maps that eerily looks like Google Maps.

The list of changes and improvements coming to Apple's operating systems and devices is rather long, but Tim Cook broke the keynote down into four areas: iOS, OSX, watchOS, and tvOS. Developers will get access to the previews right away, while mere mortals will have to wait till fall.

APPLE WATCH

The arrival of the watchOS 3 will bring the Apple Watch to a whole new level as it will load the apps seven times faster than before, thanks to background refreshing and a massive use of the memory. Customers will also see two other very welcome updates: the new “Dock” interface to jump from one running app to the other; and “Scribble”, a new way to respond to a message, simply drawing the letters with a fingertip instead of using a traditional keyboard.

APPLE TV

With the launch of the new tvOS, the Apple TV will also grow up, thanks to new features that will expand its range and better integrate the TV with the entire Apple’s ecosystem. One example: if you download an app on your iPhone, and that app has an AppleTV version, it will download automatically. More, you will be able to access the different apps with a “Single Sign On”, and you could use Siri voice search to find content, even within third party apps. Last but not least, with the new OS the iPhone will become an improved remote control.

MACOS

After fifteen years as OS X, the OS for Mac simply becomes macOS. The first macOS in Apple’s history will be called Sierra, will hit the shelves next fall, and bring a slew of new stuff. Few examples:

  • Your Mac will recognize you when you are sitting in front of it and automatically unlock.
  • You will copy something on your computer and paste it on your iPhone or iPad and vice versa.
  • Siri will move to the macOS following the Chatbots mania, and will help you carry out your daily activities or execute complex duties.
  • Apple Pay will not be confined to the mobile world anymore, and you could use it to make purchases via Safari browser.
  • The macOS will help you free up space on your hard drive, automatically backing up and removing copies of the data you have not used in a long time.

IOS 10

Apple’s smartphone will also debut a new OS, simply called iOS 10 and presented as “the biggest iOS release for users ever.” Is it really? Here are the main features:

  • The redesigned lock screen will have rich notifications, quick interaction with apps, and expanded 3D touch.
  • Siri will get the long-awaited integration with third party apps so that you could ask her for a Uber lift asap.
  • QuickType will become more smart and contextual, to understand what you really want to say.
  • VoIP apps will hook directly in the phone app to create a unified and less annoying experience.
  • Apple’s Maps will move in the predictive direction, improving suggestions and eerily resembling Google Maps.
  • Apple Music and Apple News will get a fresh new look, in hopes of attracting more customers and investors.
  • HomeKit, Apple’s standard for all things home automation and IoT, has not been abandoned and will get an ‘aggregator app’ - called Home - that will bring all the devices into one smart hub.

These and many more updates will reach your device in the next months. Apple’s purpose is to change (once again) how people connect with technology, and ultimately build a more meaningful and seamless customer experience. Which WWDC 2016 announcement excites you the most?

The Verge has compressed the entire 2-hours conference into a 10-minutes video. Check it out:

 

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Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation iOS Mobile Apple

5 Common Myths About App Store Optimization

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Apps are dead. Apps will rule the world. Despite the amount of analysis and hypothesis, the future of mobile apps is clearly still uncertain. What is evident is that, right now, we are talking about a global market estimated to grow to 143 billion dollars by 2016.

As opportunities rise, so does competition. The only way to respond to the app store competition is to get better at it. You do not just need to know what to do; you also must understand what ‘not’ to do. Here we highlight the most common myths about the app store optimization (ASO). Mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.

In the recent years, apps have replaced desktop computers and mobile browsers as the main tool to access the Internet. We have reached one billion smartphones in the whole world; that means apps have become a critical touch point in the digital customer journey.

Be it smartphone, tablet, smartwatch or wearable technology, people are downloading apps; people are buying apps; people are using apps. Just think about your average day. You rely on them to:

  • Check the weather forecasts;
  • Track & measure your morning fitness activities;
  • Verify your meetings in the calendar;
  • Control the email box;
  • Find the fastest way to the office;
  • Receive discounts and buy your favorite products;
  • Reserve a table at a restaurant and then review the experience;
  • Get back home using someone else’s car;
  • Post your daily thoughts and pictures on social networks;
  • Chat with your friends.

Users evidently prefer free apps, but they also gladly spend their money if they get in exchange apps that increase productivity or offer something new and different. You can have the best app in the world but, if you do not know how to market it, you will not gain any consent.

With in-apps purchases and advertising, in fact, the mobile applications ecosystem cannot be considered a closed box anymore. What we have here is a broader market with huge investments and revenues (both for developers and other related industries).

Competing with over 3 million mobile apps available for the major mobile operating systems - iOS, Android, Windows Phone - how can you overcome the others and get customers’ attention? To make money on apps, your app needs to be seen. Here is where app store optimization comes in handy.

Said that the mere number of downloads is swiftly losing all its weight when measuring the success of a mobile app strategy, that is still the first thing that managers would see. The potential to drive large amounts of downloads at no cost, therefore, is still enticing to any developer.

While still overlooked, app store optimization is an incredibly important opportunity. Just like search engine optimization, though, ASO is a marketing science that requires time and devotion. It has specific rules, tips, and threats. In a few words, it demands a knowledge of what you are doing.

Searching is still the most popular way to discover apps: roughly 65% of app purchasers search, discover and purchase apps browsing the app store. Without the right approach, your app could get lost in the crowd. The right approach involves the ability to deploy best practices and to avoid common mistakes.

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the best practices in app store optimization, and how you can leverage the store to make it an integral part of the digital customer experience. Here we are going to bust the many misconceptions that might misguide you in your path to mobile marketing success.

1. YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR TITLE OFTEN

As stated by Ankit Jain, head of Google Play search, the title is the most important metadata in the store optimization. That said, you do not really need to change the title every once in a while to reach higher rankings. Adding keywords, mixing keywords or even changing the name of the product will not ensure you any advantage. On the contrary, it may harm your strategy.

Pick a title and stick to it. The title is your best tool in the app store optimization, make sure it is short, unique and memorable; and ultimately include all relevant keywords, without stuffing keywords in it.

2. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE KEYWORDS

We do not want to deny the importance of keywords, still one of the foundational elements of online - and mobile - optimization. What we want to point out is that keywords alone will not help you reach the first places in the ‘most downloaded’ list. If you just developed a great gaming app, just putting the ‘game’ keyword everywhere can’t be called optimization.

App stores have the same dynamics of traditional search engines, so you always need to work on your relevant keywords. However, you should never force them. Focus on the customer experience, be sure they are relevant and make sense in the context.

3. IT IS ALL ABOUT DOWNLOADS & RATINGS

Judging from ads and press releases, you might be misled to think that ratings and the number of downloads are the two key performance indicators you need to track to measure success. Ratings, of course, are a good signal of how customers consider your efforts; the download number is a signal of short term success. However, then?

Then you need a long-term digital strategy that involves all aspects of app publishing and distribution. Ratings do impact on user’s perception; they do not affect app store rankings. Five stars make a good impression; they do not make your ranking.

4. DESCRIPTION IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT

When you try to sell something, the first thing you do is to describe the value of your product, the uniqueness of its features. Easy, not? Well, not for many developers that still believe the description is an ‘extra’, not a mandatory element of the app store presence. This is a dangerous myth, and it can kill your efforts, leaving you app into oblivion.

Description is probably the second major element in ASO, right after the title. While not directly linked with rankings, it has a great role in the store algorithm. Don’t try to stuff it with keywords, just focus on the natural incorporation of keywords in what you are describing. Moreover, remember that apps now show up in Google’s result pages too.

5. BEING ON THE APP STORE IS ENOUGH

This is a die-hard myth: now that you are on the app store, hidden somewhere, you do not really need other work. Everything will happen as a some sort of magic, and downloads will flow as a mere consequence of you being there. Some still believe that as long as your app is there, people will find it. You do not need to advertise it; you do not even need to update it.

The truth is, with millions of apps available, it will take much collateral work to avoid failure. ASO is just one piece of the puzzle, and the competition is so fierce that you will need more ‘traditional’ marketing methods to sell it (from social media marketing to content marketing, advertising and PR).

And one last thing: do not abandon your app on the store. When you do it, your customers will do it too. So it will fade away.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Mobile App Marketing Insights To Improve Customer Engagement

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist





Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neosperience Apps iOS Android Mobile Apple

Apple Watch: Why Your Digital Customers Love The Smartwatch

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Is the Apple Watch the innovation your digital customers are looking for? Sure, the smartwatch is not a recent invention, but only now it is becoming a business success. Estimates for the first quarter of 2015 talk about 3 to 5 million units sold. Add the multitude of Android Wear and you will have the whole picture of a promising market.

This could be enough for an answer, but the real truth always lies beyond cold numbers. Success or failure of the Apple Watch will decide the role of the smartwatch in the redefinition of digital customer experience and - as a consequence - of your digital marketing strategy.

We will remember 2014 as the year companies seriously approached the smartwatch as a business tool. That was one year ago. Now that Apple’s brand new watch is a reality on store shelves, it’s legitimized the entire industry. Setting the watch as the new trend, because that’s what Apple does best.

There has been much hype around the market, but not mass adoption yet. Things are destined to change very soon. Despite all criticism and skepticism, 2015 will be probably remembered as the year the Apple Watch became the object of desire. For brands and digital customers, for CEOs, CIOs and CMOs.

The watch, together with the one-touch mobile payment system and the Healthkit platform, is the product Apple is focusing on to establish the brand as more than “those of the iPod/iPhone”. And reshape (once again) the mobile customer experience in the process. A fair bet if you think about it.

The focus is - now more than ever - on the digital customer. The experience you deliver is the key to succeeding in this era of digital transformation, not the technology that enables you to deliver it. The reason why the watch is considered Apple’s “most personal device yet”, something unlike any device they have ever made.

New interactions, new technologies to empower the customer to do familiar things more quickly and intuitively. If you are able to adopt this approach - at the same time ordinary and revolutionary - you will understand why the smartwatch can really disrupt your business. The small screen won’t be a problem anymore, neither the price.

As the market grows, and the rate of adoption runs fast (faster than the smartphone, actually), early-adopter brands are already looking for innovative ways to include the smartwatch into their digital customer journey.

The stakes are higher than ever: the ability to engage high-spending customers, conquer their heart and connect with them when it matters most. When they are near or in the store, and ready to make purchase decisions. The essence of the wearable revolution.

Apple_Watch_Neosperience

The realignment of your digital marketing strategy for this new era needs to start by extending the idea of mobile from smartphone/tablet to include this powerful new tool, the smartwatch.

One shiny object will shake up the wearable market, ready to cause a change in customer behavior and customer experience (both for B2C and B2B companies). The Apple Watch is way more than a self-tracker for fitness activities. As Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, perfectly summed up:

There is a ‘killer app’ of sorts, it is convenience. Convenience mainly from being able to leave your phone in your bag, pocket or at home. Smartwatches put people in control of their communications instead of letting the smartphone be in control of them. Smartwatches have the potential to keep us connected, but in a more convenient way.

Where is the true value of the smartwatch? What features can you leverage to appeal digital customers?

APPS

Mobile app development, specifically dedicated to the watch, is still a territory largely untapped, but full of opportunities. Even with all their limitations, the smartwatch versions of iOS and Android offer plenty of features, both for third-party developers and brands willing to improve lead generation and customer engagement (i.e. see the brand-new Neosperience Watch Wand).

PAYMENTS

If mobile technology is changing the way we pay for the things we buy, there is no better option than the smartwatch to disrupt the mobile payment system. Relying on the contactless payment technology and unique security built-in features, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch have a clear promise: let you pay in a simple, secure and easier than ever way. Mobile companies fight for your (digital) wallet.

HEALTH

Say wearable technology and they will think about self-tracking. Though there is much more than meets the eye, fitness and health measurement make the core of many watch features (Healthkit anyone?). No wonder from the very first day all models have had built-in sensors that gather and analyze all sorts of personal data: activity, heart rate, walking distance. Healthy living is also a technological imperative.

INTERNET OF THINGS

Digital customers live in a world of connections, with other people, with the entire world and, last but not least, with the objects around them. The Internet of Things is the final tile in the interconnection between physical and digital worlds. The smartwatch could soon replace the smartphone as the primary method to control this world: smart home, smart car, smart office.

The key to the amazing experience your digital customer have been asking for.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 4 Ways Virtual Reality Can Help You Improve Customer Experience

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here: 

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future Neosperience Apps Payment Wearable Mobile Internet of Things Apple

3 Mobile SEO Best Practices To Improve Customer Experience

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How much traffic will I lose due to the recent updates in Google’s search engine algorithm? Any single entrepreneur has asked - at least once - this question to his SEO specialist. The Mobilegeddon brought us all into the SEO-pocalypse.

Despite what a lot of people have been saying recently, search engine optimization is not dead. You still have to adopt best practices; just you need to refocus your efforts towards mobile optimization: mobile SEO is critical to improve customer experience.

Released on April 21th, the mobile-friendly update is already affecting results page, starting from the online searches. Sudden panic is now unnecessary; we knew those changes were coming. Google’s focus on mobile search comes with no surprise, as it is a mere reflection of social and technological changes. Digital transformation is primarily a mobile transformation.

Think about it: the ultimate goal of any search engine is to offer the best content related to specific keywords, so that users can have all useful information to take decision or action. Every update, therefore, has inevitable consequences on the way brands plan their digital customer experience and create relationships with clients.

And the last mobile-friendly update is shaking this connection like nothing else before. Year after year, we spend more and more time using mobile devices. We mostly don't have time for long searches on a desktop computer; everything we need and we want is right there in our palm. Our life gets fragmented into a constant sequence of micro moments, real-time sessions driven by a specific intent.

The most important micro moments always happen within the framework a mobile device. It's pure instinct: the first thing we do, when we need information, is to pick up the smartphone. 60% of the entire traffic on Google already comes from mobile searches, and 80% of users admit that the smartphone is their favorite device to search the Internet (affecting especially local businesses).

The rise of mobile searches presents marketers with a considerable challenge: build an optimized identity on digital properties to increase opportunities and sales. The smartwatch and wearable technology will only accelerate this evolution, making it mandatory for everyone (even traditional retail & consumer products firms) to upgrade digital presence in the name of mobile friendliness.

Google’s algorithm, after all, does nothing more than respond to the impact of the smartphone on the way empowered customers decide what and where to buy. They want everything and they want it now, easy and seamlessly. And they will ultimately reward websites (and brands) that are fully optimized for mobile with higher rankings in their personal 'mind list'.

mobile_seo_retail

If you don’t show up in the first pages when they do searches on Google using ‘your’ keywords, it's like you don’t exist at all for them. Digital transformation can only be achieved through constant optimization, the key to be sure you are delivering an amazing customer experience.

When your competitors are optimizing their presence effectively and you are not, then you will perform poorly, with an harmful impact on everything from traffic to conversions to revenues.

Do you think SEO is dead? Well, think again. 

What’s really surprising is that so many brands, despite the Google-Paranoia, have yet to begin optimizing their website, social media presence, content marketing, app development and general practices. While your traffic may not have disappeared overnight, it doesn’t guarantee you actually survived the Mobilegeddon.

The mobile-friendly algorithm is not just one of many updates. It’s a complete shift in the search dynamics. As more customers rely on their smartphones to find the information they’re seeking, your company will slowly be left behind and disappear.

What should you do to avoid this unpleasant fate? Stop considering SEO as a mere technical aspect of your business; incorporate optimization into your mobile marketing strategy. To deal with the challenges of digital transformation follow these mobile SEO tips, suggested by Brian Honigman, CEO of Honigman Media, in an article for The Next Web.

FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE

Mobile optimization is not just a responsive website. When you set your On-Page SEO priorities, you will have to take in mind that not all customers access your digital properties using cutting edge smartphones combined with fast connection. The key is to find the perfect balance between quality and performance, to ensure that your website operates smoothly for every uses and device.

DESIGN FOR THE EXPERIENCE

A well-designed website is just one piece of your digital cake. Social media pages; mobile app, e-mail & newsletters, e-commerce store: all these elements actively contribute to define the success of your business. More and more frequently, the tipping point of the customer experience is not the branded website. Being innovative means design for the omni-channel experience across all touch points.

OPTIMIZE FOR LOCAL SEARCH

Local businesses, together with online retailers, are the ones most likely to be hurt by badly optimized sites and pages. Why? Studies shows that up to 56% of mobile searches have local intent, and 78% of local mobile searches then result in an offline purchase. Customers mostly use the smartphone for local searches (stores, restaurants or services): "if your business has any local elements, it’s important to leverage these search habits and optimize your site accordingly."

There’s still so much confusion about what mobile optimization really means, that companies are often caught in frenzy and groundless fear.

Search engine optimization is not about looking for tricks to cheat the machine; it is about improving yourself to offer the best user experience to human beings.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 3 Trends Linking Digital Marketing Strategy To Mobile Technology

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation iOS Android Content Marketing Mobile Apple

Top 10 KPIs To Measure Mobile App Development Success

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The mobile app market is expected to reach 36.7 billion dollars in revenues by the end of 2015. With so much at stake, competition is rapidly evolving into a fierce battle to conquer users’ attention.

With app stores rapidly becoming crowded, how can you measure the success of your efforts? Mobile app development is not just a matter of downloads anymore. You need more specific KPIs to understand what’s going on.

Obviously, downloads are the first and most eye-catching key performance metric any company will analyze. They tell you how many people have chosen your app and whether or not your launch strategy was really effective. Like all other marketing-related fields, though, a single number means nothing without context.

Many years ago, when app stores were much less competitive, getting your app installed could be considered a great accomplishment in itself. Today, it is just the first step of the mobile customer journey, and it does not guarantee success in the long term. Too many users install apps that immediately fall by the wayside, forgotten and neglected.

A business development plan for the Age of the Customer can’t do without a customer-facing app, to bridge the online and mobile experiences. That said, the number of downloads does not indicate whether or not a mobile app campaign has been successful.

Yet marketers often still focus this KPI, spending all their budget in huge one-shot advertising campaigns (maybe even on traditional media) rather than planning a long-term customer engagement strategy.

According to a new research from eMarketer, mobile ad spending will reach 28.72 billion dollars in the United States in 2015; 3 billion will come from mobile application install ads, up 80 percent from 2014.

Considered in a broader digital marketing perspective, a well-designed app is a unique opportunity to add value to your strategy and instill the idea of a cutting edge brand, unlocking the power of a truly amazing digital customer experience.

While a mobile-friendly website is still considered the most important business card, in many respects it is not the top priority anymore. Apps now account for 86% of the time spent on mobile devices, replacing web browsers as the primary door to access the Internet.

In a world where the smartphone has become an extension of the body (particularly for younger users, the so-called millennials), an app should be never treated as a simple porting of the official website.

Your brand will be in the hands of users practically 24/7; your products and services will be one tap away in the purchase moment. This is an opportunity you should not waste. To ensure success, your app should bring something fresh and exciting to the table, enhancing the mobile customer experience and stimulate emotional connection with the brand.

With the launch of other disruptive mobile devices (i.e. the smartwatch, with Apple Watch and Android Wear already battling), and the connectivity of cars, objects, houses and stores, new apps will invade big and small digital screens.

This trend forces developers and marketers to adapt their output to the needs of tech-savvy customers. The number of downloads, needless to say, is totally inadequate when considered as the only KPI to measure engagement and loyalty.

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To optimize the reach of your app, you need something more. What? More specific and dedicated KPIs. Every app is different, and there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, a set of key performance indicators working with no distinctions.

You need to pick the ones that fit your app. The ones that fit your business goals. And measure them in a given period of time. Here we share the top 10 KPIs to measure mobile app development success, according to Neosperience.

ACTIVE USERS

To download an app (specially when free) it’s the easiest thing in the world. What happens next is critical: how many of those that have installed your app actually use it? Monthly and daily active users tell you the truth about how much the world loves your app.

VISIT FREQUENCY

How many times users open the app and interact with your contents? The fact that they have the app installed in their smartphone is useless if they just open it once and for all. Hold frequency in check; the usage during the first week is a plausible signal of what will happen in the future.

SESSION TIME

The length of a single session is a performance indicator you should always consider in correlation with the number of active users in a given time and the depth of visit. This is even more true for gaming apps or section dedicated to the gamification dynamics.

DEPTH OF VISIT

This is an important engagement metric. The depth of visit is the number of screens or pages visited in one session. This information gives you two critical insights: how engaging and useful your content is; and how seamless and smooth is the experience you actually deliver.

CONVERSIONS

When the primary objective of your app is to sell or convert (i.e. retail app, fashion branded app and e-commerce), you should measure conversions in a given time. A conversion can be a purchase, a subscription or registration, depending on who you are. But remember that lifetime value is always more than a one-shot sale.

REVENUE PER USER

The potential of a loyal user base is pictured by a metric too often overlooked: revenue per user. This number indicates the overall value of an individual to your app business; not just in-app purchases (the Holy Grail of mobile marketing these days), but the app spending across all other digital channels.

SOCIAL SHARES

If your app is content oriented, in-app purchases are not the only KPI you might want to monitor. Mobile customers, more often than not, connect the app they install with their social media account. Social shares indicate interest in the content you deliver, and are perfect to increase word-of-mouth and build a trustful community.

RETENTION RATE

When you plan a loyalty strategy, one sale is nothing compared to repeat sales. Customer retention is cheaper than acquisition but harder to achieve. In a mobile market where a roughly 65% of users stop using an app no more than three months after install, retention rate in a given time is perfect to tell you how much your customers are engaged.

ACQUISITION COST

To know what’s the cost of customer acquisition, you need to understand where existing users found your app. App stores, in fact, are just one of many channels to promote your app. Search engine advertising, organic search, in-app referrals or social networks: different tools with different costs. This metric shows you the most efficient way to reach your potential audience.

USER EXPERIENCE

You can have the hottest app in the whole Internet, but it’s customer happiness that ultimately proclaims your success. And happiness is strictly connected with the user experience. Defective UI, bugs and crashes keep users away. Always check reviews and ratings to understand what customers think and what needs a fine tuning.

Success is marked by having loyal users that are regularly engaging with the app: spending their time to visit the different sections, converting, making purchases, playing with it. In the race to mobile engagement the app install is only the opening sprint. Find the right partner and develop a long-term omni-channel customer experience strategy.

 

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:
Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neosperience Apps iOS Analytics Android Mobile developers Apple

WWDC 2015: El Capitan, iOS 9, Apple Music, Everything Apple Announced

wwdc_2015

The battle rages on. The WWDC 2015 sounded like a prompt answer to Google I/O. Apple tried to overshadow the eternal rival in the race to the future of technology. Did Apple settle the score?

From the stage of the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unveiled the details of everything coming soon to iOS, OSX, Apple Watch. With a juicy ‘one more thing’: Apple Music.

No doubt that the last months of 2014 were all about Apple new product launches:

  • Apple Watch - a single product to bring the wearables and smartwatch industry back to life after decades;
  • Apple Pay - a one-touch secure payment method to disrupt the banking customer experience and change the way we pay and make purchases;
  • HealthKit - a platform, connected with iOS 8 and other devices, to collect and aggregate health data for medical purposes.

But 2015, till now, has seen nothing but Google: with the I/O keynote, the Big G has taken a critical step to become way more than your favorite search engine. With Android ruling the market of operating systems, the company aims at becoming the main reference for everything you do in your daily life.

Android M, Android Pay, Project Brillo and the Internet of Things, Google Now on Tap, Jump and the virtual reality: all the announcements looked like a direct challenge to Apple, and there was no doubt that people at Cupertino would steadily reply.

While Google I/O was a mainstream event after all, the WWDC did not betray its very nature of a meeting for developers. Two hours of low-key - yet solid - changes and evolutions to Apple's products, from the new versions of OS X and iOS to the update of Siri and Watch software.

Except for that controversial ‘one more thing’, there were no real fireworks. Nonetheless, we have the feeling that both Apple and Google have just warmed up the engine with skirmish keynotes to prepare for the real war. That will change the mobile market and revolutionize digital customer experience

If you didn’t sit through the keynote and missed the announcements, here’s a recap of the highlights of the annual WWDC conference for software developers.

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OS X 10.11

The kickoff of the keynote focused on the newest update for the Mac operating system, OS X 10.11, also known as El Capitan. Don’t expect a revolution or a redesign of the whole interface; the new release is more about tweaking the actual experience and improving behind-the-scenes performance.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The new OS X will use 'San Francisco' font developed for the Apple Watch as default.

  • You will finally have the ability to snap windows or split the screen with two windows.

  • Safari will try to challenge Chrome and Firefox with minor improvements (i.e. the ability to mute individual tabs).

  • The Metal 3D graphics SDK will improve gaming features and accelerate app launches.

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iOS 9

The keyword to understand the improvements in the mobile operating system is ‘intelligence’. Apple will transform your iPhone into the essential companion for everything you do in our daily life. As a consequence, Siri becomes the heart of iOS 9.

  • Siri - proactive and able to offer contextual reminders and advice about what you are doing or planning to do. It will also suggest apps to launch or people to contact, based on previous usage behavior (just like Google Now On Tap does).

  • Apple News - the rebranding of Newsstand brings in a Flipboard flavor to your smartphone. This is a whole new app that enters a crowded competition and uses your preferences to create custom glossy magazines.

  • HomeKit, Carplay and HealthKit - all major features announced in the previous months will get a new life, with the ability to control everything with a tap, from smart objects in your home to in-car connections and health measurements.

  • Apple Pay - despite the warm reception, the new mobile payment system is struggling, due to the lack of commitment from business and financial partners. Soon users will be able to add their credit and debit cards into Wallet (the former Passbook), and buy things on Pinterest with a tap. Also new and compelling loyalty features, already being tested to become part of the upcoming Neosperience Gamification features.

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APPLE WATCH

Now that Google has promised 7 new models of Android Wear, combined with 4000+ new apps, Cupertino answers back with the new version of the operating system for the best seller Apple Watch. Soon, there will be several improvements and tweaks:

  • Third-party apps - developers can have their software work entirely off the Watch, with better performance and native integration;

  • Watch faces - you can now include the ones that use your own photos;

  • Time travel - if you turn the crown you can jump ahead in time and view your calendar, predicted temperatures, schedule meetings or flights;

  • Digital Touch - you can draw and send coloured sketches;

  • Nightstand mode - finally the chance to turn the Apple Watch into an alarm clock.

Apple-music

APPLE MUSIC

Here we are at the long awaited ‘one more thing’ of the WWDC 2015. Apple Music comes from the awareness that streaming is replacing download (legal and illegal) for music fruition. The growing success of Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music forces Apple to rethink iTunes.

Apple Music, coming next June 30, is a cross-platform music streaming service powered by iTunes and filled with plenty of options that could make it the first choice for iPhone users (priced 9.99 dollars/month, 50% more for a whole up-to-6-members family). In a single app you will be able to:

  • Access the complete Apple music library and stream it on demand (including the music you already have ripped from cd’s or downloaded from iTunes).
  • Receive suggestions based on what you usually listen, with the For You tab and even human-curated personalized playlists.
  • Listen to Beats 1, a live radio station dedicated entirely to music and music culture and broadcasted 24 hours a day.
  • Browse the Hot Tracks, Recent Releases, and Top Charts, connecting with your favorite artists through the Apple Music Connect option.

One piece was missing in this year's edition of the WWDC: Apple's plans for the TV (Google just revamped Android TV)Except for this, the conference echoed Google I/O. The enemies are both building a wide, smarter, responsive ecosystem to connect everything from your home to your wrist, from your smartphone to your car. Who do you think will win?

 

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Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation iOS Automotive Android Wearable Mobile Internet of Things Apple