18 Nov Benefits of iOS 10 for App Developers
Apple released the newest iteration of its mobile operating system recently, iOS 10. We’ve seen the robust changes and new features that iOS 10 has brought to users but this time we will look into the benefits it brings to app developers and marketers.
HERE ARE 7 REASONS WHY IOS 10 IS BENEFICIAL TO DEVELOPERS:
1. Rich Push Notifications
iOS 10 brought an exciting rich push notification experience to the users. It allows them to view photos and videos or respond to messages right within the notification screen. We know the power of push notifications when it comes to firing up engagement in apps and bringing timely and relevant call to action right in the user’s screen. This new feature gives developers an option to include rich media in their notifications such as images, videos and GIFs. A rich notification appears with a thumbnail preview which is a great improvement from previous versions. Users can easily interact and take quick actions, like “reply” and “like”, directly from a notification, without the need to open up the actual app. This is also true for viewing images and videos.
Undeniably, we can tell that rich notifications are way better than the plain text messages we are used to. But, since content-rich notifications are new to iOS, developers need to experiment a little bit more with different media to maximize the results and to use only what suits their app. The audience of a social app might respond differently to the media-rich notifications as compared to the users of a game. A/B test your notifications and get feedback. As always, take caution not to overuse this feature so as to not annoy your users.
Moreover, Apple also spruces up push notifications where developers now have the ability to see pending notifications that have been already sent to the users and they will have a chance to update them. A great new feature to encourage better user experience and increase the relevancy of notifications. For instance, if a push message was sent out and some corrections are needed to be done in the copy, you can easily update the content and send a brand new push. Additionally, every push notification update does not only refresh the previous one with new content but it will also be pushed to the top of the notification center so that the user will know that it is the most current. It means less clutter in your user’s notification screen and they are guaranteed to get the most recent updates. As a result, users are more likely to interact with your notifications.
Apple also allows developers to see which notifications are getting dismissed. A huge help in terms of identifying the type of notifications that are working and those that are not.
Lastly, custom push notification layouts are also now possible with iOS 10. Developers will have the option to customize the title, subtitle and rich media content of their push. Let your creativity be the limits in building powerful notifications.
Keep in mind, that even with all the options for customizations and rich media content, you are still dealing with push notifications which we all know can do more harm than good if not used properly. Evaluate your users thoroughly and decide whether rich-content notifications are good for them or not. In every decision you come up with, make sure that it is adding value to your app and is not causing user exodus.
2. Siri Integration through SiriKit
Apple has finally opened Siri to developers by introducing the SiriKit. It means that you can now integrate voice controls into your own apps using Siri. From a wider perspective, SiriKit transforms how the voice-operated personal assistant is being deeply rooted into Apple’s ecosystem which gives us an idea of how future apps will be developed. It extends app functionalities which will allow third-party apps to be integrated further into iOS.
With iOS 10, users will be able to get things done and interact with app content by simply using their voice. Initially, SiriKit supports 6 types of apps including ride booking, personal payments, messaging, photo search, VoIP calling and workouts.
Although SiriKit is available to limited apps for now, soon enough, it will surely be extended to a wider range of apps including games. So, it’s time to evaluate your app and see if SiriKit is something that would fit right in. More and more people will likely use your app if they can access your content by simply saying “Hey Siri”.
3. Boosted iMessage
Messaging in iOS 10 gets bolstered with iMessage becoming a full-fledged platform. Apple added a slew of new features and functionalities to the Messages app that enhance user experience as well as give developers a way to utilize it for their apps. Developers can build an iMessage extension so that users can access their app features without having to switch apps. New features include effects, full screen animations, draw on photos, handwritten messages, Snapchat-type secret messages, sticker packs and apps. With apps being the biggest update in iMessage, a dedicated app store is built right within Messages for stickers and app extensions.
The new messages framework allows developers to create extensions that let users interact with their app directly within iMessage. Some of the things users can do without leaving the conversation include sending stickers, creating and sharing content, making payments, playing games and even collaborating with friends within a custom interface that you design.
Messages is one of the most used apps in iOS, so it would be hard to miss out on the opportunity to make your app accessible. Explore ways to represent your app well in this platform. While you’re still thinking of ideas on how you can best integrate your app to Messages, a simple set of icons and GIFs that match your brand can be the easiest way to get started by compiling them into stickers.
4. Removal of Apple Apps
iOS is littered with a whole bunch of built-in apps that most users don’t necessarily use. Apps such as the Tips, Find My Friends, News and Weather take up some space that could be used for something else. Most people do think twice about installing alternative third party apps due to the worry of doubling up install space. Most often, these apps are superior than the canned apps that Apple offers. Things have changed now, so users can now easily delete non-core Apple apps and replace them with something better. This would give developers a greater chance of getting their apps installed, especially those that offer real value and unique user experience.
Also, users will be able to clear up the space on their home screen. This will give more engagement and visibility for other apps already installed on the device.
5. New Revenue Stream with Subscriptions
To help developers realize more earnings with their apps, Apple is offering Subscriptions. This monetization model for apps is not at all new but it is totally a fresh revenue model that Apple has introduced to iOS developers. It aims at converting one-off app purchasers into loyal subscribers. Apple will get 30% share of your earnings for the first year which will be reduced to 15% in succeeding years.
The new subscriptions model is available across all categories and devices. Although, not all apps will be able to benefit from this, developers should always explore more revenue opportunities to increase ROI for their apps. This could appeal to developers struggling to monetise their apps. And, since iOS is top notch when it comes to app revenue, twice that of Android, now is the best time to jump right into subscriptions.
6. Search Ads
Apple is now offering App Store advertising called Search Ads. This ad rendering system focuses heavily on relevancy of the ads to the search queries. There is only one ad space available in each page so competition is expected to be stiff. Nevertheless, Search Ads is a powerful way for developers to present their apps right when users search for similar apps to download.
Put your effort into improving your metadata because Search Ads will gauge your app relevancy to that and your ad creatives will be solely based from that. Learn more about Search Ads here.
7. Supercharged Widgets
Widgets are not completely new to iOS, they were already introduced in the previous versions. However, widgets used to be one of the under appreciated features in iOS. It is somewhat lost up in the notification center page that users pull from the top of the screen. With iOS 10, Apple puts widgets in a good light and at a very convenient location. It has taken the place of the passcode screen when you swipe the lock screen to the right. Additionally, widgets are now clearly defined, more organized, robust in features and functionality, a far cry from its previous versions. The information contained in widgets has also expanded to include videos, images and animations.
Widget is a type of iOS extension that displays compact but timely information or app-specific functionality. In a news app for instance, a widget could show top headlines while a calendar app could provide upcoming events. You can customize widgets with buttons, texts, images, and a lot more including custom layouts to suit your app’s theme.
Aside from the lock screen, widgets can also be accessed by swiping the Home screen to the right. It is embedded in the Search screen. For devices that support 3D Touch, applying pressure on to an app icon will make the widgets instantly appear right above the quick action list.
Like the lock screen rich notifications, widgets can accomplish certain tasks without requiring the user to unlock their phone. Some widgets allows users to send emails, reply to messages, check photos, create notes and a whole lot of other tasks right from the widget.
A developer’s goal is to create a widget that people would love to add to their widgets page. It should cover basic functionalities of your app to provide quick access and seamless user interaction. Primarily, people use them to get brief updates and to do simple tasks, so it is important to give just the right amount of information and interactivity. Also, content should always load quickly so users don’t have to wait. Whenever people want to do more, make sure that you let them jump right into your app easily. But, never use your widget to open other apps. Lastly, you should pick a compelling widget name that matches your app name.
The newest iOS update empowers developers to expand the reach of their apps by providing various tools to encourage better user experience. Rich notifications and widgets improve user interaction, while subscriptions and Search Ads offer more visibility and revenue stream. Messages and SiriKit offer a totally different experience taking app interaction and content consumption to a new level.
With proper perspective and a concrete development plan, these new iOS 10 features will take your app to a new high, helping your app to become remarkable!