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June 8, 2017 | Shaun Bremner

3 Key Publisher Takeaways from WWDC 2017

Earlier this week at Apple’s WWDC in San Francisco a range of new software updates were revealed.

Now that we’ve had some time to digest all the detail we have summarised all of the key features that will be of interest to publishers…

iOS11

Apple revealed lots of updates to iOS but the key features that we think publishers will be keen to learn more about are the new ‘Multi-Tasking’ view and ‘Drag and Drop’. Drag and Drop will allow your readers to drag and drop text, images and other pieces of content between apps. The Dock on iPad will become more like the ‘Dock’ we are accustomed to seeing on Mac – users will be able to place as many apps as they like in there and easily access them to open them up and even use them side by side in split-screen mode.

It also sounds as though we can expect video to play a bigger role in Apple News as Apple announced that videos will now appear in the ‘Today’ view. They also announced that Siri will be able to detect what users are searching for in Safari and will present related news articles within the Apple News feed in a move that appears to highlight the importance of ‘personalisation’.

App Store – New and Improved 

The app store experience is being completely redesigned for the first time in 8 years for iOS11.

The newly revamped App Store replaces the Categories and Top Charts tabs splitting the view into four separate sections: Today, Apps, games, and search. The design is very similar to Apple Music’s layout making it easier to highlight new apps and learn more about the developers that created them.

Each tab will highlight the most popular apps and games featuring interviews, useful tips, and curated relevant categories. Individual app product pages have also had a redesign. They are now more in-depth featuring 30-second app previews, clearer App reviews, the ability for localised screenshots and a new subtitle field that can be used to highlight new features and promotions.

Apple also announced that App Store downloads are ‘up 70 per cent in the last 12 months and the number of paid subscriptions delivered through Apple’s portal have increased by 58 per cent.’

We know that we now use fewer apps on a daily basis but this shows us that we are downloading more apps than ever before, resulting in a higher churn rate. Following this, Apple stated that app review times will be reduced to less than 24 hours and they will be removing all 32-bit apps from the store as they will no longer run on iOS11.

There will also be updates to Siri, which will be particularly important for their new HomePod.

HomePod + Siri

On the hardware front, Apple revealed HomePod, their rival to Alexa. Apple hasn’t revealed too much information about exactly how we are going to be able to develop for this platform just yet but it’s definitely something that we will be taking a closer look at.

First and foremost it’s a speaker designed to ‘bring music into the home’. However, much like Amazon’s Alexa it is expected that we will be able to ask HomePod questions such as ‘Hey Siri, ask The Guardian what’s going on with the UK General Election’ or ‘Tell me the latest football results’.

Publishers will no doubt be waiting to see sales figures for the HomePod (which is released this December) before deciding whether to develop for this platform but we are already looking forward to seeing how we can integrate our apps into HomePod!