Fast Forward: Everything Brands Need To Know About Apple’s 2017 WWDC

Editor’s Note: As an abridged version of our actionable intelligence products, this post only includes generic suggestions for brand marketers. For the full version, completed with features on our trend-setting partners and industry-specific analysis, please contact our Director of Strategy Adam Simon (adam@ipglab.com) to join our newsletter subscription.

The highlights:

  • iOS 11 Brings P2P Payment, Business Chat, Extended NFC Access, & More

  • Apple Launches ARKit, An AR Platform For iOS

  • New macOS Brings VR Creation Support & Better Browsing Experience

  • Siri Rebranded As Apple’s Intelligence Engine, Will Power Upcoming HomePod Speaker

 

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Apple kicked off its annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC) on Monday at the San Jose convention center. CEO Tim Cook and several other Apple executives took the stage to unveil altogether six big announcements, ranging from new software, new developer tools for VR and AR, a new iPad Pro, and the rumored Siri-powered smart speaker. This event marks Apple’s official entry into the conversational hardware market and offers a glimpse at Apple’s AI strategies moving forward. To delve into the details of the hundreds of new features announced on Monday, check out this round-up on 9to5Mac. What follows is our exclusive take on what these announcements meant for brands and marketers.


iOS 11 Brings P2P Payment, Business Chat, NFC Support, And More

As in years past, Apple previewed the next-gen iOS on stage on Monday. Out of the dozens of redesigns and new features coming to the iPhone and iPad, the ones that we singled out here all bear significant implications for brand marketers.

First up, iOS 11 comes with a revamped Messages app, which will make iMessage Apps more easily discoverable with a swipeable app bar, integration with Apple Pay to support easy peer-to-peer payments, and allow for seamlessly syncing messages across Apple devices with iCloud sign-in. Apple also announced Apple Pay Cash, its own digital debit card that lets recipients of P2P payments transfer the cash to a bank account or spend it at ecommerce sites and physical retail stores.

This new P2P payment feature in iMessage could just be the viral hook that Apple needs to get more iPhone users to adopt Apple Pay. Once users start to use it for paying back family and friends, they would presumably be more likely to try out Apple Pay in retail and other contexts as well. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said that half of U.S. retailers will offer Apple Pay by the end of the year.

Apple is also set to introduce a Business Chat feature in iOS 11. While not given any time during the opening keynote, Apple’s developer site indicates that users will be able to chat with a business for customer support and more within Messages. The conversations are started via search in Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and with Siri, and will integrate with Apple Pay (for additional purchases) and Calendar (for appointment scheduling). A clear challenge to Facebook Messenger and Twitter’s customer service use cases, the Lab will be closely watching the session describing functionality and availability of Business Chat this Friday, and will update you once we have more details.

In addition, Apple is expanding its NFC capabilities, allowing developers to access iPhone’s built-in NFC chip for triggering app actions and notifications via a Core NFC framework. However, this function is only viable once the third-party app in question is open, protecting Apple Pay’s privileged position to be opened straight from the lock screen.

While the main camera app will not feature built-in AR functionality in iOS 11, Apple is giving it support for scanning QR codes, which will have the ability to open web pages, or deep-link directly into an installed app using Universal App Links.

Some smaller but noteworthy updates coming in iOS 11 include:

• The App Store is getting a graphic-heavy revamp, breaking games and non-game apps into separate tabs and highlights notable apps with “Editor’s Choices.”

• Apple News is getting support for in-article videos, allowing publishers to get more eyeballs on their video content and, presumably, monetize the attention with ads.

• iOS 11 also bring a significant boost to iPad’s productive use cases with a revamped App Switcher, updated multitasking and file management, and a new “drag-and-drop” feature across apps for the new iPad Pro models.

• Indoor mapping is coming to Apple Maps, allowing it to provide on-premise navigation and in-venue search for select malls and airports around the world.

A developer preview of iOS 11 is available to iOS developers starting Monday, with a public beta set to roll out later this month. iOS 11 will become available to all users as a free software update this fall, presumably with the launch of this year’s new iPhones.


Apple Launches ARKit, The Designated AR Platform For iOS

Apple is catching up with the rapid AR development by launching ARKit, allowing app developers to bring advanced augmented reality capabilities to their iOS apps, including facial recognition, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and ambient lighting estimation.

During the ARKit demo, Apple showcased easily placing 3D virtual objects on a tabletop, an improved version of Pokemon Go, and an explosion-filled AR video game created by Wingnut AR. The debut of ARKit shows Apple is determined to keep up with its main competitors, namely Google with its Tango AR platform and the newly announced Google Lens feature, and also Facebook with its upcoming Camera Effects platform. ARKit will run on iPhone 6S and later, as well as first-gen iPad Pro and later.

Although the ARKit won’t include tools for object recognition out of the box, it does support importing a third-party library for recognizing objects. This means that even though Apple is coming up short on object recognition in AR for now, developers can roll their own object-recognizing AR features with some outside help and integrate it easily into their iOS apps.


New macOS Brings VR Support & Better Browsing Experience

On the PC front, Apple unveiled the new macOS named High Sierra, which mostly polishes last year’s macOS Sierra and improves performances with updates to core macOS apps like Photos and Mail.

One significant addition that High Sierra brings to Mac users is support for VR content creation. Long absent from the VR landscape, Apple has updated its graphic frameworks to support popular VR platforms from Valve, Unity, and Unreal, allowing developers to create cross-platform VR experience on Mac devices for the first time. On the consumer front, Apple also announced that it has partnered with Valve to bring SteamVR and HTC Vive support to the Mac, starting Monday in beta. The Vive and the developer tools will support the latest iMacs, released Monday, as well as recent MacBook Pros utilizing an external graphics card solution. In addition, a new tier of desktop computers, the iMac Pro, will ship this December with workstation-class performance for the most demanding VR developers.

High Sierra also included several updates to its built-in Safari browser which will impact publishers and advertisers. The new Safari will block autoplay videos from playing on sites that are not dedicated video sites such as YouTube, prevent some ad tracking by using machine learning to segregate the cross-site trackers, and offer an always-on reader mode that users can activate to strip out the non-essential content on web pages. Altogether, these upgrades will make the new Safari “80% faster than Chrome” on a macOS device, offering laptop and desktop users a superior browsing experience while minimizing disruptive ads.

This move mirrors Google’s announcement last week that it will start adding an ad-blocker in Chrome starting early 2018 that will filter out ads that are deemed “annoying” by the standards of Coalition for Better Ads. Together, Safari (10%) and Chrome (51%) make up most of the desktop search market in the U.S., according to comScore, and over 68% of mobile traffic in the U.S. With both popular browsers cracking down on “bad ads” with preinstalled ad-filters, it is imperative that brands and publishers take measures to ensure the visibility of their ads.


Siri Rebranded As Apple’s Intelligence Engine, Will Power HomePod

One of the more subtle yet significant changes Apple announced during Monday’s opening keynote was a rebranding of Siri’s role in Apple’s ecosystem. No longer a mere voice assistant, Siri Intelligence is now the A.I. engine that powers most of the personalization and optimization features in Apple’s apps and service. Whether it’s the personalized recommendations in Apple News or the new predictive watch face layout on the new watchOS 4, Siri has become Apple’s consumer-facing Intelligence service.

Apple bragged about Siri’s natural language capabilities and alluded to a limited number of new “intents” that can be leveraged by third-party apps. Siri is also getting some handy translation skills, allowing English speakers to ask Siri to translate a sentence into several other languages including Chinese, German, Italian, Spanish, and French at launch.

Siri will also be what powers the new HomePod, Apple’s first entry into the smart speaker market. To differentiate it from the existing smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, Apple is positioning the HomePod as a high-end wireless speaker designed for music lovers, stressing how its eight independent tweakers and spatial awareness make for a superior acoustic experience.

As opposed to Amazon’s cloud-based approach to AI processing, Apple has chosen to keep its AI services on devices, which improves user privacy but could limit Siri’s capabilities. With voice-based smart devices approaching the mainstream, Apple will need to make Siri significantly smarter and more capable in order to make the HomePod a viable competitor to the Echo, which currently commands over 70% of the U.S. voice-controlled smart speaker market. It seems that Apple knows this, as Apple’s positioning reflects that, focusing HomePod more at the high-end Sonos platform than the lower-priced Echo and Google Home.

More significantly, Apple is getting ready to unleash the full force of machine learning to iOS apps with the debut of CoreML. Utilized across a number of Apple products, including Siri, Camera, and QuickType, and available for developers to deploy within their own apps, this framework promises lightning fast performance with easy integration of machine learning models, allowing iOS apps to add a variety of intelligent features with just a few lines of code. Apple does offer sample models for use with their machine learning libraries, including three different models that can each recognize 1000 types of objects: Notably, it supports the Keras format, which is native to the Google-owned TensorFlow AI platform.

For example, the Vision API will allow developers to build applications which use face tracking, object tracking, and barcode detection. This will no doubt go hand in hand with Apple’s AR push, allowing more apps to add Snapchat-like camera effects and other camera-based mobile AR features.

Another important API from the CoreML bundle is the Natural Language API, which allows brands to add natural language processing capability to their apps. The API supports a tokenization method for picking out certain keywords out of free-styled sentences, allowing it to understand user intent correctly regardless of how a user phrases the request. It enables more developers to build conversational interfaces into their apps for an engaging user experience, or simply as an additional support tool for customer support.


What Brands Need To Do

Taken together, Apple’s announcements at this year’s WWDC are more or less about catching up with its competitors such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, across a variety of domains ranging from AR to VR, from messaging to voice-controlled home devices. Nonetheless, by the virtue of being Apple, these rather “uninnovative” updates nonetheless spell great opportunities for brands to reach millions of iOS users in whole new ways.

In response, brands should consider:

• Leveraging new APIs to add AR and machine learning capabilities to branded apps & design mobile activations/campaigns.
• Figuring out how to integrate with Business Chat to bring customer support and brand presence to Message, the default messaging platform for millions of iOS users.
• Improving online ad experiences and explore newer, unblockable ad formats, such as in-feed videos, branded content, and sponsored selfie lenses. Tests the site experience with Reader mode on.

(For more detailed brand suggestions, each tailored to your industry, please reach out to join our mailing list for Fast Forward.)


How We Can Help

While mobile AR, VR, and machine learning are all still in early stages of development, brands can greatly benefit by starting to develop strategies for these two emerging areas. If you’re not sure where to start, the Lab is here to help.

The Lab has always been fascinated by the enormous potential of AR and its ability to transform our physical world. We’re excited that Apple is bringing AR features to iOS devices as it enables iOS developers to create AR experiences that reach millions of users. Even the addition of a QR code reader in the camera app spells great potential for marketers to take advantage of. If you’d like to discuss more about how your brand can properly harness the power of AR to engage your customers and create extra value, please reach out and get in touch with us.

As for VR, our dedicated team of experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

Machine learning is the marketing buzzword of the year, yet very few marketers truly understand how to leverage it to optimize campaigns and business practices. The Lab has been keeping an close eye on the development on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and how brands can apply relevant tools to provide a superior customer experience. And if you’re confused about the distinction between machine learning and artificial intelligence, you should probably get in touch with us.  

If you’d like to know how the Lab can help your brand figure out how to tap into these tech trends coming out of Apple’s WWDC this year to supercharge your marketing efforts, please contact our Director of Strategy Adam Simon (adam@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 

What To Expect From Apple’s 2017 WWDC Event

Apple is set to kick off this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote presentation on Monday at the San Jose Convention Center. Historically, the WWDC events are typically dedicated to introducing software updates, covering iOS and macOS, as well as tvOS and watchOS in recent years. On this front, Apple is expected to unveil the next iteration of iOS, with enhanced security and productive features, along with a refreshed design. The other OS’es should receive their respective updates as well, although details have been scarce.

Notably, however, this may be the year when Apple announces a new hardware product at WWDC, as reports on Apple starting production for a Siri-enabled smart speakers started to emerge earlier this week. The Cupertino company has long been speculated to be working on an Amazon Echo competitor, and Monday could be the moment of truth for Apple to reveal its first conversational smart home product.

For now, the Echo lineup dominates the smart speaker market with an impressive 70.6% market share, according to an eMarketer study. Late to the market, Apple will have to produce a superior user experience and significantly improve Siri’s capabilities in order to catch up.

As always, the Lab team will be watching the event live on Monday and bringing you all the marketing-related implications coming out of Apple’s announcement. Follow us on Twitter @ipglab for our live updates, and remember to check back later this week for our in-depth analysis of all the things marketers need to know.

 


Source: The Verge & Bloomberg

 

Fast Forward: Everything From Apple’s WWDC 2016 That Brands Need To Know

Your guide to tech-driven changes in the media landscape by IPG Media Lab. A fast read for you and a forward for your clients and team.

  • Apple released SDKs for iMessage, Siri, and Maps, allowing brands to integrate with those three platforms at the core of the iPhone experience
  • Apple Pay will work on mobile and desktop in Safari, allowing brands to create a seamless shopping experience, and will support third-party Watch apps
  • iOS 10 will add 3D-touch support and rich interactions to notifications, continuing a trend toward more powerful notifications

What Apple Announced
Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) yesterday in San Francisco with a jam-packed, two-hour keynote presentation. For a summary of the announcements that Apple made today, TechCrunch has a great summary. The announcements from the opening keynote that are relevant to brands and marketers include:

  • Apple Pay – including loyalty cards and coupons – now works with third-party Watch apps as well as on the web in Safari, which will make checkout seamless on both desktop and mobile.
  • The Messages app receives a massive makeover in iOS 10, gaining a more animated interface and tons of fun new features. Most importantly, Apple is introducing an App Store for iMessage, turning their messaging app into a platform that can be extended by developers and brands. These apps can be bundled with a full-fledged iOS app or they can be distributed independently.
  • Apple Maps in iOS 10 launches Map Extensions for developers to integrate services such as restaurant booking or ride hailing right into Maps
  • Siri SDK allows Siri to perform actions in third-party apps in supported domains, including messaging, ride-sharing, photo search, and payments via apps like Square Cash and AliPay.
  • Siri search in the new tvOS for Apple TV will include YouTube results, allowing brands to get in front of more people by partnering with YouTube creators.
  • iOS 10 beefs up notifications with rich interactions and 3D Touch support.

 

New noticificationsWhat Brands Need To Do
As iOS 10 introduces news ways to increase user engagement with apps by helping the system suggest your app to users at appropriate times, it is paramount that brands make sure to properly index their app content so that users can access in-app content and services through Spotlight, web search results, and Siri suggestions. Brands should make sure the locations and amenities of owned or partner stores, hotels, and restaurants are properly indexed for Siri so that users can easily access the information they need.

Between new rich notifications, Siri support for some types of apps, and widgets becoming available on the iOS lock screen, Apple has begun unbundling the app-centric model it helped create. Though these features are all delivered and supported by an installed app, it’s increasingly possible for users to never have to open the app itself to accomplish a task. Brands will have to work with developers to ensure their branded apps support these new features to maximize engagement.

For any brand that sells directly to consumers online, especially those in the retail and fashion industries, the updates for Apple Pay spell exciting new opportunities to create a frictionless shopping experience across devices. The new Safari integration allows customers shopping on brands’ websites to easily check out using Apple Pay on mobile browsers and, thanks to the Continuity feature in the new macOS, on their Mac devices as well. And the API allows brands to integrate Apple Pay into their Watch apps to provide a seamless purchase experience.

How We Can Help
Please contact Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) at the IPG Media Lab if you would like more detail or want to schedule a visit to the Lab to discuss how your brand may benefit from integrating with Apple’s ecosystem, particularly in messaging and in the living room with Apple TV.

For previous editions of Fast Forward, please visit ipglab.com. Please reply with any constructive criticism or feedback. We want these to be as useful as possible for you and your clients, and your input will help us immensely.

 

Apple 2016 WWDC Preview: New App Store Policies And More

What Happened
In anticipation of its annual WWDC developer conference that kicks off on Monday, Apple has announced several strategic changes to its App Store.

In an interview with The Verge, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of global marketing and head of App Store, says that Apple will start displaying ads in App Store search results. Seemingly taking a cue from Google’s Play Store, Apple will start “cautiously” testing paid search ads in the App Store, displaying a single ad per search at the top of the search results. The ad auction system in the App Store search will be “fair to developers and fair for indie developers, too,” according to Schiller.

Schiller also revealed that the company will reduce its take of app revenue for apps that can retain long-term subscriptions. Instead of the existing 70/30 revenue split model, Apple will reduce its take to 15% provided that the app manages to retain a customer subscription for more than a year. If widely adopted, developers will be incentivized to build apps that charge recurring fees for access to content and services, instead of selling them at a one-time cost. Shortly after Apple’s announcements, Google broke the news that it will match Apple’s new model, offering Android developers the same 85/15 revenue split immediately,

Why Brands Should Care
As a harbinger to the upcoming WWDC announcements – which we expect to include a smart Siri, a refreshed iOS, and an updated Apple Pay that works on mobile web – these changes to the App Store signals Apple’s willingness to learn from Google and incentivize its developer community. Google’s counterstrike also shows that they are more than willing to play ball and keep up. For brands, the new search ads in the App Store can help increase their app visibility and drive more downloads, which will undoubtedly come in handy when launching a new app or gearing up for a mobile-based campaign.

For more updates on Apple’s WWDC announcements and the implications they may have for brands, remember to check back next week for our take on the event.

 


Source: The Verge & Engadget

 

Fast Forward: The Biggest Announcements From Apple’s WWDC 2015 Event

Your guide to tech-driven changes in the media landscape by IPG Media Lab. A fast read for you and a forward for your clients and team.

What Apple Announced

“Proactive” Search Extensibility
Apple kicked off the presentation with previews of the next-gen operating systems—OS X El Capitan for laptops and iMacs, and iOS 9 for mobile devices. One feature that stood out was “Proactive Assistant,” a new AI-enabled search for iOS 9, complete with deep-linking capability for apps and even indexed websites. Working with an enhanced Siri, the new search feature is context-sensitive, suggesting apps and content based on time, location, and even user habits.

Enhanced Personalization On Apple Watch
Apple unveiled the new OS for the recently launched Apple Watch, promising to bring more personalization to the device, such as “complications” which display customizable information from third-party apps right on the watch face. The new watchOS also added support for HomeKit, allowing the watch to interact and remotely control the various new sensors and connected devices.

Apple Pay Upgraded To Wallet
Apple Pay got a major upgrade, adding support for loyalty and store cards and more. The prior lack of integration with retailer loyalty programs and CRM systems had been cited as the biggest obstacle to retailer adoption of Apple Pay. These additions will help give more credibility to Tim Cook’s January claim that “2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.”

In an effort to support small businesses, Apple Pay will be compatible with a new reader from Square, launching in the fall. Moreover, Pinterest is integrating Apple Pay with their new buyable pins. Due to all these development, Passbook has been rebranded as Wallet. And, of course, all of these new features will be supported on the Apple Watch.

New Apps for Music and News
By introducing the new Music and News apps, Apple is officially getting into content curation to further enhance its mobile experience. Besides a paid-only streaming subscription service that rivals Spotify, the new Apple Music also puts curated music discovery front and center with a “for you” recommendation channel and a new 24/7 global radio. Similarly, the News app promises content recommendation based on reader interest and editorial curation.

Market Impact

“Proactive” Attack On Google
The new proactive features in iOS 9 are Apple’s take on the same user problems as Google’s new “Now On Tap” feature, as both aim to make use of the massive data that mobile users generate and leverage the behavioral insights into a more anticipatory user experience. As users move away from the mobile web into apps, Apple is deep-linking app content from search results to solidify its app ecosystem and help users find what they are looking for more quickly.

Apple is offering APIs for controlling how content appears in iOS Search. This applies to both websites and apps and amounts to a major new search platform for brands to optimize for. Today, brands have more control of their destiny on iOS than on Android, where Google is holding all the cards.

Making Apple Watch More Brand-Friendly
Allowing third-party complications on the watch face provides brands with a great opportunity to get on the prime real estate on the wrist. For example, Volkswagen’s Remote Control app was featured in the demo, and included a complication which puts the carmaker’s logo prominently on the watch face with the car’s battery charge level. HomeKit integration and native apps, with access to all of the Watch’s sensors, will significantly expand the Watch’s functionality and reach making the platform more valuable for brands to get on board.

Moving Beyond Just Payment
Apple Pay has been making remarkable progress since its launch, set to top 1 million available locations in the U.S. next month*, and now it will soon be making its first overseas expansion into the UK next month in over 250,000 locations, including London’s transportation system. The integration with Pinterest’s buyable pins also points to Apple’s ambition of integrating Apple Pay into ecommerce platforms. More importantly, the new inclusion of rewards and loyalty cards will offer brands a great platform to maintain their relationships with the loyal customers via built-in loyalty programs as well as personalized offers.

Apple Getting Into Content Curation
While it is still early to tell how much impact the Music and News apps will have on the digital publishing and music industry, respectively, Apple is clearly making an effort to take more control over content, taking on competitors such as Spotify and Facebook’s Instant Articles. For content creators, including brands, these could be interesting new channels to connect directly with fans, and, especially in the case of Music, lead to additional commerce opportunities such as ticket sales. It will also affect advertising, as publishers can sell ads directly and retain 100% of revenue, or use iAd and retain 70%.

Our full coverage of WWDC 2015 is here. Please contact Engagement Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) at the IPG Media Lab if you would like more detail or to schedule a visit to the Lab.

This is the second of our Fast Forward analysis. Please reply with any constructive criticism or feedback. We want these to be as useful as possible for you and your clients, and your feedback will help us immensely. You can read our first Fast Forward analysis on Google I/O Event here.

 

*Editor’s Note: updated on June 9, 2o15 12:40pm to include stats on Apple Pay in the states.

Apple WWDC Preview: Updated Apple TV As Central Hub For IoT Devices?

We reported back in March that Apple might be updating Apple TV to include supporting functionality for smart home devices compatible with its HomeKit platforms. Now a new Apple support document has surfaced with clauses confirming that an Apple TV is required to remotely control HomeKit devices, potentially positioning it as the control hub for the connected devices. Although The New York Times is now reporting that there won’t be any new Apple TV hardware debut next Monday, it seems reasonable to predict that Apple will at least mention its central role in its smart-home ecosystem.

Of course, nothing is set in stone until Apple unveils its plan for the next iOS next Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which may include major upgrades for its music app, Maps app, and the spotlight search feature. As always, the Lab will be live-tweeting @ipglab during the events, followed by our original posts highlighting the brand implications of the new announcements. So remember to check back next Monday to learn more.

Image courtesy of support.apple.com

How Apple Can Use Beats To Beat WhatsApp

Welcome the newest competitor to the battle for messaging app domination: Apple.  This week the company announced a souped up version of iMessage that lifts a number of key features from Snapchat and WhatsApp like ephemeral messaging, and photo, video, and audio sharing.  There are three reasons the new product is unlikely to be a real threat to the big players in the space:

1. You can use the platform to interact with other iPhone users, but you need to use another service to chat with Android and Blackberry friends.

2. There’s no compelling product innovation to lure people away from their current go-to messaging apps.

3. Apple is unlikely to steal market share from Snapchat since the two platforms appeal to different demographics. WhatsApp is a more likely target, but it has a huge head start on Apple that’s hard to overcome.

If Apple really wants to shake up the messaging space, it has one big potential advantage and differentiator– Beats.  Apps like Tango have partnered with Spotify to deliver music clip sharing, and Kik has partnered with One Direction and apps like Rithm to connect with teens and acquire new users.  Music will be a key battleground in this space because people love to share it, and Apple is in the position to create a deeper music sharing experience than the competition with Beats in its arsenal.

No messaging app has corralled the entire music industry yet, but it’s only a matter of time before artist pages on these platforms are as ubiquitous as artist pages on traditional social media. Among messaging app owners, Apple is in the best position to get the music industry to embrace its products– iMessage included– since the industry already depends on iTunes.

Every label and artist wants its record featured in the iTunes app store, and Apple has premiered an impressive number of major records in the last two years including releases from Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, and The National.  If Apple gives Beats and individual artists a chance to connect with users through iMessage, the music industry could play an active role in bringing its audience to the platform.

For now Apple’s messaging app approach has positioned it as a follower, but with the tools at its disposable it could easily transform into a messaging app leader. It better move fast, though, because the competition already has a serious head start.

What You Need To Know From Apple’s WWDC

Not free to watch to the full two hour press conference from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference? Want to skip the developer jargon and get to implications for marketers? We got you covered. Check out the 3 biggest developments from today’s announcement.

Continuity – The new feature lets you toggle between devices seamlessly. It syncs activities so you can pick up an email mid-draft from mobile to your desktop or continue watching a movie on your tablet from Apple TV. For media consumption, this is only going to drive cross platform viewing.

Messages – The Messages app looks a lot like WhatsApp with video and voice sharing, mapping features and more. Apparently the WhatsApp CEO isn’t all too pleased. As more behaviors take place within messaging, marketers will need to see this as a new media channel, not just dark social.

Actionable Notifications – Notifications can now be actionable, like Liking a post within a Facebook notification. It very much falls in line with our Notification Nation trend as glanceable media takes hold. Third party widgets are also available within the Notification Center. Expect user interaction to increase across apps that nail push notifications.