WWDC recap: More of the same, in the best way
As someone who closely follows Apple’s platform releases, I can tell you that I get the most excited about how every new release includes increased access to cool APIs. In the past, we’ve watched how Apple has first made certain things possible within its own apps (think background execution, and universal search) and then after a time made them available to third parties. This strategy is one of a deliberate democratization, and it’s one of the reasons iOS is such a strong, stable platform.
So it was interesting this past week at WWDC to see what the latest is in terms of newly opened APIs with iOS 10 and what they mean for seamless user experience. Here are the three that I found the most exciting:
Siri. Wow. Opening up Siri to app developers is big news and turns up the heat in terms of competition with Amazon’s Alexa, which opened to third-party devs a year ago. Siri currently serves 2 billion requests per week. Imagine how that figure will soar once any app can be accessed through Siri, not just Apple’s apps. “Siri, get me an Uber.” “Siri, refill my prescription at Walgreens.” “Siri, pay for another hour of parking on Parkmobile.” That’s a game changer for brands and iOS developers.
iMessage apps. Now that apps can basically operate within iMessage, text as we know it will be transformed. No more links — videos will just play within the message. Sticker fun will be taken to whole new levels, and the convenience of functions like paying people and collaborating will improve dramatically. iMessage apps will make user experience even more seamless. The example given during the demo of groups ordering food from Doordash, but still within messaging, was very cool, and I can’t wait to see how devs creatively make the most of this new API.
User notifications. With iOS 10, devs can customize the appearance of local and remote notifications as they display on users’ devices. They can also schedule the delivery of local notifications based on specific conditions (time and location, for example). Mapbox has already experimented with this to see how it might work for its maps in a customized notification view, and I think before long we will see lots of creative uses for these enhanced user notifications.
With every new iOS release, it’s fun to watch how devs work with the new APIs. Within just a few months, we’ll see some real advances that take iOS apps to the next level. I say look for them in Siri, iMessage apps, and user notifications. We all know that Apple isn’t quick to make its APIs open, but when it does, it does it right and it’s generally worth the wait.