On Sep. 15th, Apple broadcast a live event called "Time Flies" to introduce to the world their new watches and iPads. On Sep. 16th, Apple released iOS14 for all iPhone users.
In this article, we will focus on the announcements having an impact on mobile app developers:
Apple introduced Apple Fitness+ which is a $9.99 monthly or $79.99 annual subscription to access fitness classes in different sports (yoga, cycling, trade mill, running etc.) augmented by the metrics tracked by the Apple watch.
The pricing is roughly in line with the other popular fitness apps in the AppStore that are included in our benchmark. The one month trial duration is more generous than most apps that have either a 7-day or a 14-day trials.
Apple announced its long awaited service bundles with three offers bundling key Apple services at a reduced cost (iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News, Apple Fitness+).
There are three tiers: one for individual (Music, Movies, Games and Cloud), one for families (same offering but with multi access and more cloud space available) and one with the full package of services offered by Apple (News and Fitness+ on top of the other services).
It's a bold move from Apple to launch these bundles when the company is challenged by competitors (inc. Spotify and Epic Games) for its anti-competitive practices.
Widgets were upgraded. You can now include them in the home screens. Widget sizes can be modified according to your preferences. Apple also introduce Smart Stack which is stacking several widgets automatically based on your usage and displaying the right widget depending on what you are doing and the time of the day.
Picture in Picture
Like on Android, you can now watch a video (Youtube, Facetime, Twitch etc.) while using other apps. The video will be resized on a smaller format and displayed at the top of your screen.
The App Library will automatically organize all your apps into categories. There is a search bar on top of the library to find a specific app. You can remove the apps you don't need on the daily basis from your home screens and they will remain in your App Library.
Guides in Apple Maps
Apple is partnering with trusted third party partners to publish thematic guides to enrich its map experience. You will be able to find advice on the best places to visit and to shop in a city as well as guides on the best restaurants and bars.
Guides can be saved and users can customize them by adding their own best places.
Apple talks about AppClips with this wordings: "A small part of an app, an App Clip is discoverable the moment you need it and is focused on a specific task."
An App Clip is a small subset of an application that you will be able to discover and use at the exact moment you need them.
For instance, you want to ride a scooter. You see on in the street. You scan a QR code and you access an App Clip which will let you smoothly book a ride powered by Sign-in with Apple and Apple Pay.
We are convinced that Apple's AppClips and Snapchat minis are the future of applications and are the Western initiatives to move towards Asian super apps.
They have key advantages like easier discoverability, no friction, integrated into a larger platform, no account creation, embedded payment, activation through camera etc. It will become the norm for most of our use cases in which the app does not provide sufficient value as a standalone entity (food delivery, ride-hailing, electric scooter, e-commerce, restaurant booking etc.)
Apple's supposed changes to IDFA
Apple Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) helps mobile marketers to attribute ad spent. If you download an app after watching an advertising, the IDFA allows you to attribute the download to the advertising and measure its performance.
Beyond downloads, the IDFA also helps you to measure the quality of the new users brought you by an advertising campaign because you will be able to track whether users are using and paying for your apps or are just dummy downloads.
Moreover, you can use IDFA to ask mobile ad networks to find you more users like the ones that are becoming real and lucrative users of your app. A feedback loop is starting in which you refine your targeted users thanks to the IDFA tracking.
Apple is going after this IDFA tracking by (i) allowing users to remove tracking in their settings (something few people will do), (ii) pushing a scary notification to ask for IDFA tracking approval for every new application you download.
Without IDFA tracking, mobile advertising efficiency will decrease significantly because you will struggle to measure ad campaign success and to iterate to increase your return on ad spent.
Apple announced that these changes will be postponed early next year following push backs from advertisers.