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What iOS 5 Means for Marketers



This past weekend, I took the plunge and upgraded my iPhone and iPad2 to iOS 5. I should have waited for Halloween, as it was a frightening, nightmarish experience but when it was over, I had treats galore!

iOS 5 is a huge update with more than 200 new features. After only a week, it was estimated that 1 in 3 eligible customers had the download and you can bet it will be 2 out of 3 very soon. This is good news for you, because iOS 5 has several features that are great for online marketers.

Twitter Integration

Twitter and the iPhone have always played well together, but now they’re married and living in the same house. With iOS 5, you can Tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, Maps and more. You simply sign-in to your account once, then the system takes care of the rest. It even adds Twitter profile names to your contacts so you can send replies and direct messages without going to the Twitter app.

This ease of use means that more people than ever will be using Twitter to communicate and that includes sharing your marketing message.

Newsstand

Online magazine subscriptions are about to take off. iOS 5 now includes an app dedicated to organizing all of your magazine and newspaper subscriptions. The covers line up on a virtual bookshelf, the issues update automatically and you can buy new subscriptions right through the app.

The New York Times is reporting 189,000 new user downloads since the upgrade was released, up seven times over the week prior. National Geographic is also reporting a sudden lift in virtual subscriptions. All because of ease of use? No. It’s more likely a case of behavioral psychology. The Newsstand app presents itself as an empty bookshelf and as human beings, we feel the need to fill empty spaces with stuff.

I don’t buy online magazines because I get my fill of news surfing the web. But one hour after upgrading my iPhone, I was checking out the offerings because, they built it and you know the rest. . .  More magazine sales, means more places for advertising and if you’re in the content business, this is probably the best news you’ve heard all year.

Reader

The one marketing downside to iOS 5 is Reader. As a consumer, this toggle switch is just what I’ve always wanted. With a single button, Reader transforms a cluttered web page into a streamlined presentation of text and graphics. No sidebars. No ads. No chance of wooing the reader away from the content with a great offer. My marketing side says “boo, hiss.”

Cutting the Cord

With iOS 5, Apple cut the cord needed for updates and file sharing. You no longer need to hook your iPhone to your computer in order to sync. It’s now done automatically and wirelessly.

Thanks to the iCloud, you can now share information between your devices instantly. Type a reminder on your iPad and it shows up on your iPhone, too. Take a photo with your iPhone, then pick it up on your iPad for editing and when you’re done, Tweet it without switching apps.

iCloud also makes it possible to access your entire collection of music, movies and documents anytime you have a WiFi connection.

What this means for marketers, is that more people are going to be spending more time on their mobile devices and less time on their desktop computers. That means your website and marketing materials must be mobile ready. It’s all about seamlessly moving from one device to another and people won’t give you a second chance if a link doesn’t work or a site shows up broken on their iPhone. Check your site with a variety of mobile devices today so you don’t have any surprises in the middle of the holiday rush.

If you haven’t upgraded to iOS 5, take the plunge. Just be ready for problems and set aside a couple of hours to get it all right. Backup your devices before you throw the switch and if it doesn’t get it right the first time, try the sync again.

When I upgraded, I kept getting messages saying that the upgrade didn’t work and my devices were being returned to the factory settings. Turns out that message was bogus. The upgrade worked fine. You will have to click through a group of prompt screens on your mobile device in order to complete the upgrade – I didn’t notice that right away so it might have caused the reset confusion.

Hassle aside, iOS 5 is an excellent update both for the consumer and the marketer. Have you upgraded yet?