There were a lot of exciting announcements at WWDC 2015 including new versions for iOS, OS X, and watchOS. Here are a few key points that we are excited about and see great opportunities for innovative companies to act on.
iPad Split-Screen Modes
Apple is calling this feature Multitasking and it includes three different ways to split the screen (Slide Over, Picture in Picture, and Split View.) This is a significant feature because it allows iPads to operate more like Macs with multiple windows open at the same time.
Making iPads that function more like laptops will lead to an increase in productivity apps for iPad. It may also influence the design of a larger sized iPad. Consumers have shown they have an appetite for larger devices (see iPhone 6+ & Galaxy Note 4) and there is speculation that the iPad Pro coming in October.
Proactive Assistant, Deep Linking, and Search
Proactive assistant will strengthen Apple’s search with contextual data from your location, emails, etc. Google has been doing this for some time with Google Now and will likely continue to lead in capability and accuracy due to their larger network of available information.
However… what Apple has done that could be a game changer is with Deep Linking Apps and Linking Search.
Deep linking is when you tap on a url and it opens as an app instead of a web browser. An example would be while using the Twitter app and tapping on a url sharing a location on Yelp the link will open in the Yelp App (if installed on your phone.) New with iOS9 you will be able to tap a back button to navigate back to the Twitter App. This makes navigating between apps much closer to navigating the web.
When Proactive Assistant and Deep Linking meet Linking Search is when things get really interesting. Apple will now be indexing content within apps. So when you do an iOS search for “Quinoa Salad Recipe” …you are likely to get Yummly App or the Food Network App as your first results. Tapping on a search result will then take you directly to that content within the app.
Apple is advising developers to only index content with relevant keywords and not try to game results with misleading keywords. This may be an indication that content will be ranked in results and that engagement with content will be an important factor for ranking at the top of results.
watchOS 2 SDK
We can expect to see the Apple Watch utilized by more and more apps as an extension of their iPhone experience. Especially with Proactive Assistant features and their ability to push contextual info to the watch.
Up till now Apple Watch apps have only been extensions of iPhone apps. With the new developer SDK we are now able to build apps that are exclusive to Apple Watch. This changes how we think about interactions with apps and opens the doors for innovation with the small personal device. We anticipate the Internet of Things (IoT) and communication between devices being a hot bed for development with the Apple Watch.
The announcements at WWDC 2015 connected a few dots in the apple ecosystem that we had been guessing about. Developers are getting some new tools, and it will be interesting to see what happens as the iPad becomes more business-user friendly. If you have any questions or would like to do a deeper dive into any of these features please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to discuss opportunities with you.