POV: iPhone 7
Today, Apple held its annual September Event to reveal the next wave of products and software. Most of the hype surrounded the highly anticipated iPhone 7, the iOS10 update, and the Apple Watch Series 2. With the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone next year, rumors were right that iPhone updates would be mostly aesthetic but these updates have major cultural implications.
Details and Implications:
Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 with no major surprises. The changes were predominantly to the aesthetic appeal of the phone: new colors, a home button redesign, a Retina HD display that is 25% brighter, faster processing, longer battery life, and an incredibly powerful new camera. The camera and Retina display enhancements will certainly have creative implications for brands where creative will need to amend to the stronger visual capabilities. There is also no headphone jack that Apple dubbed a “courageous” move towards an ever wireless world. With the removal of the headphone jack comes the introduction of a new Apple product called AirPods. AirPods are wireless headphones that connect to all Apple products. The longer battery life and enhanced visual capabilities means that more than ever, users will rely on their iPhones to consume video content. As such, brands should continue prioritizing mobile video advertising and integrations with this product update, reinforcing a trend that has been growing the past few years.
Following the overwhelming popularity of Pokémon GO this summer, it is no surprise that Apple placed a major emphasis on gaming, activity, and wearables. Pokémon GO is now available on Apple Watch and links your game experience with health metrics on Apple Watch, such as calories burned and miles walked. Apple also announced a partnership with Nike for the Apple Watch to provide the least distracting, most motivating running experience. The Apple Watch Nike+ interface will provide customized motivation for individual users based on their habits and needs. Brands should consider this for possible integrations to offer customized experiences to users in the Watch interface via brand challenges. Apple also announced an exclusive Mario game coming but implied that it will be paid, limiting the advertising opportunities.
Finally, and perhaps most exciting, Apple is continuing to position itself as a leader of connectivity with the major changes coming in iOS 10. iMessage will get its own app store where users can seamlessly download and toggle between keyboards. These keyboards will also be highly interactive. Users can communally build orders for food, design custom experiences, and edit photos all using emojis. More than before, brands will have the opportunity to bring new experiences to users with these updates, especially with all of these functions available in Apple Watch too. Furthermore, there is a connected home management system called HomeKit to use your smartphone as a remote control manually. Apple has now made Siri open source, effectively attempting to compete with Amazon’s Alexa where brands have already started developing skills. Finally, iWork will allow workers to collaborate on projects seamlessly in iOS, as they do with Google Docs.
While the new product updates for iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 weren’t particularly groundbreaking, the nuances to Apple’s September Event reveal details that brands should consider. Apple placed an emphasis on the iPhone being the ultimate connected device as a centralized control for connected homes, televisions, and wearables for every aspect of our lives from leisure to work to activity. That is, the world is no longer just mobile but connected through a web of objects controlled by the iPhone.
Finally, there was no denying that the moments that generated the most excitement from the audience surrounded gaming. There was an audible difference in response to the Nintendo and Niantic announcements compared to Apple Music and even most of the iPhone 7 announcements. A key thought to consider is where users are most excited about using their smartphones: in interactive environments rooted in sharable connectivity.