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Apple iOS6: What’s in it for Marketers


Yesterday, Apple execs took the stage at the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) with a huge announcement about upcoming products and services. They dazzled the audience with a powerful laptop that is thinner than your finger. They’ve added PowerNap which allows your computer to update while it’s asleep and they’ve updated Safari and iCloud so you get a more seamless experience across all of your Apple devices.

The biggest news? The coming of iOS6 with more than 200 new features.

For those who don’t speak geek, iOS5 is an operating system that runs your iPhone and iPad. When Apple switches over to iOS6, probably this fall, current users will be able to upgrade for free by simply accepting the download. The new system will work on iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth generation). But be aware that not all features work on all products, so don’t get too excited if you’re working with older equipment.

You’ll find a comprehensive look at the changes on the Apple preview site. What I’m going to focus on are the changes that are beneficial to marketers starting with Passbook.

Passbook is an app that turns important bits of paper and plastic into digital information. As advertised, it has two very distinct, and very different uses. One use involves tickets – be they plane tickets, concert or movie tickets. The app stores your ticket information then nudges you along with timed reminders, maps, airport gate alerts, etc.

The other use involves coupons and loyalty cards. This is where the marketer (and shopper) in me gets excited. Passbook lets you toss out all those plastic cards in favor of a running digital record on your phone. It tracks gift card balances, notes coupon expiration dates and it will even alert you when you’re near a redemption location.

This is huge. We know that loyalty cards work and coupons work but the main reason people don’t use them is that they forget. Either they leave them at home, or they forget to pull them out of their wallet. And not knowing how much is left on a card is annoying. With Passbook, it’s all in your pocket, all the time. Ease of access means more use and that’s good for you.

Siri users will have improved functionality in the fall including access to sports scores, movie reviews, and restaurant information pulled from Yelp. If you have a brick and mortar location, you need to get your online image in order. Make sure your address and phone number and hours and prices are up to date and deal with those pesky bad reviews. Fix the problems, encourage happy customers to comment online and review your Yelp profile regularly. Updates in Siri means more people will be depending on her to pick out a restaurant (or a retail store or a vacation spot) for them, so make sure she likes you — I mean, really likes you.

Finally, iOS6 is bringing Facebook integration to a whole new level. Going forward, you’ll be able to post to Facebook from almost any app on your iPhone or iPad. Comment on a webpage, tell everyone what song you’re listening to, what movie you’re watching, post a game score or send a map of your location. Everything becomes instantly shareable which is excellent news for marketers. Now all you have to do is provide content worth sharing.

Apple has even taught Siri how to post to Facebook and Twitter for you and several car companies are adding that functionality to the dashboard.

iOS6 is designed to further connect all of the parts of our lives so we can spend less time organizing and researching and more time enjoying what we have. It’s about syncing your computer, your phone and your tablet and your social media so you have whatever you need close at hand where ever you are. That’s shopping, work, banking, learning, entertainment and communication all made faster and easier and smarter.

What does iOS6 mean to the marketer? It means you have to start thinking about the whole and not the pieces. You have to make sure that your ad campaigns work across all platforms and that what you’re giving your customers is also faster, easier and smarter.

The days of the static banner ad are over. Where are you going to go from here?