Siri Everywhere, Apple Pay for Web, and a Revamped App Store: What Top Influencers Expect From WWDC 2016

Apple’s big day means big changes—make sure you’re prepared

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Every spring, the eyes of the business world turn to Northern California as three of the biggest, most influential tech giants hold major events highlighting new products and services with the potential to shift the landscape that we all operate in. We’ve already heard from Facebook—which is betting big on chatbots within its Facebook Messenger platform—and Google, which is working overtime to erase the line between mobile websites and apps. And this week, it’s Apple’s turn to weigh in.

As WWDC 2016 gets underway in Cupertino, it’s important that brands keep a close eye on the big announcements from Tim Cook and team. To give you a head start, we spoke to tech influencers at three leading brands, as well as with Appboy CTO Bill Magnuson, and got their top predictions for what to expect from this important event. Take a look!

1. An improved, third-party-friendly Siri

“Siri will get better, but … our culture [will also] shift to vocalizing commands rather than tapping or typing. In anthropology they call this a ‘cultural lag’: a compelling, resonant technology exists, but human behavior first needs to catch up before widespread adoption ensues. Sure, we all like to ask Siri a question or hear directions from Google Maps, but there is some innate need to connect with a voice on a human level: if it sounds human, it needs to be ‘smart’ enough to provide information in a conversational, seamless format.”

—Jeffrey Storey, Director of Mobile Product at Slickdeals

“Many apps, including Uber and Spotify, have already integrated voice command functionality with Google and Amazon to create more seamless user flows. It’s only a matter of time [until] Apple responds to its competitors and app developers that are eager to improve accessibility of their apps with Siri.”

—Diana Kim, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Ibotta

“A Siri API or some type of Alexa-like device [is a possibility]. I’m excited to see what they change to Siri and how those changes could lead the way for new features and new products for apps.”

—Patrick Weber, Product Manager, Retention and Engagement at Vevo

2. A better, more responsive App Store

“Although Apple’s Sr. VP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, already confirmed the launch of ‘App Store 2.0’ earlier this week, it’s worth highlighting the impact on app discovery. Schiller mentioned that two-thirds of all App Store installs are derived from the store’s search. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Apple finally landed on a Google-like paid search model not only for its own monetization strategy, but also to improve delivering its store visitors more relevant apps. There are a lot of questions heading into the Fall when paid search will be available to all apps, including costs, impacts on smaller app developers and shifts in budget allocations. At the same time, app marketers should be excited to leverage another strategic acquisition tactic within a crowded app ecosystem, and gain some insight into the ambiguities surrounding App Store search.”

—Diana Kim, Ibotta

“Fortunately it looks like Apple may finally be doing something about [App Store update delays] by substantially reducing their wait times to approval. Now we need to move a step further: iTunes apps should be available to users immediately after submission, in a staged rollout format (which is exactly how Google Play works). Users would then receive their updates immediately, protected from any potential issues by the staged rollout process. Ultimately app quality—the very reason Apple implemented the submission to approval review step to begin with—is greatly improved because developers can move more agilely and the issues can be addressed immediately with no barriers.”

—Jeffrey Storey, Slickdeals

3. Apple Pay and Touch ID expanding to new platforms

“I hope to see Apple enable the fantastic customer experience of Apple Pay and Touch ID on more platforms. Mobile Safari is an obvious first place for them to expand, helping eCommerce brands and digital publishers that still see substantial web traffic improve upon these experiences. In addition, bringing the trust and convenience of Apple Pay to over-the-top-messaging for bot payments could really help bots take off.”

—Bill Magnuson, CTO at Appboy  

Final thoughts

Whatever Apple announces at WWDC this year, the company’s sheer size and influence over the mobile landscape guarantees that the developments there will impact a wide range of businesses all over the the world. But these changes don’t happen in a vacuum—the moves that Facebook and Google are making are just as important to keep an eye on.

To make sure you’re up to speed, check out our coverage of Facebook’s F8 conference and the Google I/O event and subscribe to Relate Weekly for ongoing news and analysis:

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