No big surprises from Apple, but a few things developers need to keep their eyes on:
Apple Pay: iOS 8.1 will get pushed to users on Monday, and the most important piece is that Apple Pay will now be live, supported in 220,000+ stores out of the gate. For app developers, the biggest innovation is that you can integrate Apple Pay into your apps to permit purchasing (of non-digital goods). Retailers, of course, have an equally big opportunity in their bricks and mortar stores. We at WillowTree tend to be cautious about consumer adoption of new technologies, but we think Apple has the timing and implementation right on this, and Apple Pay will be a very big deal.
Handoff: In iOS 8.1, apps that implement Handoff can now offer a seamless experience among multiple devices. So if you are looking for a store, product, or coupon on your iPhone, you can pick up an iPad, open the app, and be on the exact same screen. There are obvious media delivery applications here for movies, articles, gamecasts, etc., but we think commerce and shopping applications can also benefit. Handoff will essentially be useful anytime a user has an extended interaction that might be interrupted. Recipe apps are a great example as users spend time searching and sorting recipes in the morning, shopping after work, and cooking that night. For these users, being able to hop back and forth between the iPhone and the iPad without loss of state presents significant benefits.
Apple Watch: The biggest news for developers is that in November, we get access to the Watch SDK, WatchKit. While we won’t actually see watches until early 2015, we already have a few client projects in the hopper, and would love to add more. If you have Watch concepts you’d like to explore, please let us know and we’d love to work with you on some prototyping.
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