July 26, 2012
The latest iteration of the iPhone’s operating system has got developers, marketers, and users excited for the fall. iOS 6 comes with a slew of new features that not only make the consumer’s life a lot easier, but also make the iPhone the focal point of a user’s social, local and mobile (SoLoMo) activities. Whether you’re an app developer or mobile marketer, there now lies even more possibilities to keep your users engaged–so we took an in-depth look into the best new iOS 6 features and how they can work for you.
MAPS: The new Maps app features an enhanced search function that provides deep integration with Yelp and its reviews. A user can search for “pizza” and all results that surface will show the Yelp rating of the restaurant, as well as an informative profile featuring photos and reviews from Yelp’s site.
BENEFIT: This new integration is especially useful for the hospitality industry, where they can leverage Yelp integration to drive users to their physical locations.
SOCIAL FRAMEWORK: In iOS 5 we saw a deep integration with Twitter: single sign-on and the ability to send and compose tweets through a user’s account. Now, iOS 6 is bringing a more comprehensive and complete social media integration with added support for social accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Sina’s Weibo service. Apps can easily post status updates and images to a user’s account – within an app or from the notifications drawer.
BENEFIT: The added social media integration eliminates additional steps of signing in every time users want to share through social networks, reducing the drop-off rate considerably (remember, every additional step in the conversion funnel results in a 20% drop off rate). With the social media accounts’ single sign-on, users can update their statuses within the app—and continue to stay in your app when they are done.
PASSBOOK: Passbook is a native iOS application that allows users to save, organize and access ‘passes’ with scannable barcodes and other information useful for real-world actions at any time, in any place. Passes can be used for distributing boarding passes, event tickets, store card and coupons, and can be customized to meet branding needs. They can be geofenced, localized and distributed via email, app or web for easy access and redemption.
BENEFIT: Not only is it convenient for users, but companies can use real-time updatable ‘passes’ to drive in-store traffic. This is a new way of distributing coupons, enabling brands to provide targeted and personalized experiences for users to develop loyalty without much effort from the customer standpoint.
REMINDERS: Within the events kit framework, you can now create and access the reminders on a user’s device. These reminders can be proximity or time-based alarms, and will appear in the users’ reminders list right alongside their own reminders.
BENEFIT: Perfect for the Media & Entertainment industry or small business owners, gently remind users, for example, that the movie they want to watch is playing in 20 minutes as they walk by the theater. Customize the event reminders to your needs and use it as a tactic to drive users to your physical locations.
IN-APP PURCHASE: Now you can offer iTunes content within your app for purchase, with support for having downloadable content hosted on the Apple servers. You present a view controller where users can purchase apps, music, books and other iTunes content directly from your app–and with the hosted downloads, it’s less work for you to manage the content.
BENEFIT: Easily provide content for your users without the hassle of managing the content. Now users can stay within your app to make a purchase and continue a seamless interaction with your brand after a simple purchase process.
COLLECTION VIEW: In previous versions of iOS you were only allowed to display your ordered data in a table view. Now in iOS 6, the collection view allows you to define your presentation and arrangement of the embedded views. Choose to go beyond grid layouts and create your own custom styles to your needs.
BENEFIT: Present content within your app to fit the branding needs of your app. Enhance the user’s experience by offering a unique view of your content that is consistent with your brand imagery.
UI STATE PRESERVATION: State preservation makes it easier for apps to restore their user interface to the state it was in when the user last interacted with your app. With this feature, it is easy for users to keep their place within an app when they 1. accidentally exit out of it, or 2. need to access something outside of it.
BENEFIT: When users return to your app after they last interacted with it, they can easily pick up where they left off—improving retention for your app as well as providing a continued engagement experience.
DATA PRIVACY: With consumer privacy a huge concern, iOS 6 offers enhanced data privacy where the system now asks the user’s permission before allowing 3rd party apps to access data, including contacts, calendars, reminders and the photo library.
BENEFIT: These improved security features will make sure that the customer’s interaction with your app is on their terms and, most importantly, that they are comfortable with the interaction.
As users become more entrenched in their mobile lives, these new features in iOS 6 form the bridge between the online and offline worlds to create a truly integrated mobile approach. Mobile is no longer just a way to make phone calls—it’s the way users conduct their lives and connect with friends, families and brands. How will you make that impact?