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Apple Sept 12

The iPhone X, iOS 11, and the Future of Mobile at Apple’s Special Event

Posted Sep 12, 2017

Another year, another new round of Apple hardware and a new version of iOS in tow. While the tenth anniversary of the iPhone and iOS yielded some real surprises and some expected updates, the latest changes to Apple’s largest operating system will no doubt be at the forefront of developers’ minds.

Other than getting an iPhone X, of course.

iPhone to the Power of X
The device with the highest profile for the event (other than the very first views of the new Apple Steve Jobs Theater) is, of course, the tenth-anniversary edition iPhone. After being introduced in 2007, the device commemorating the device that changed everything had a high bar.

The next collection of iPhones will be released September 22 across three different lines:

  • The new iPhone 8 will feature glass on the front and back, water proof cases, Retina HD displays, stereo speakers, and of course better battery life, newer, more powerful internals with the new A11 Bionic chip.
  • The iPhone 8 Plus brings all those features to the larger screen, with dual cameras for more flexible and beautiful photos, including a new “Portrait Lighting” feature, and 4K video recording.
  • The iPhone X will “set the path for technology for the next decade,” with all new construction, OLED 458ppi Super Retina Display, and Face ID facial recognition unlock, and lots, lots more.

Wireless charging has finally arrived on Apple devices thanks to both the glass back in the iOS 8 and 8 Plus and a partnership with the existing (yes, you read that right) Qi wireless charging standard, giving consumers tons of existing options already on the market.

Naturally, the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will come in a variety of colors with 64 and 256 GB capacities in a couple of weeks. The iPhone X, which will be available in only 2 colors, will arrive November 3rd for $999.

Apple TV
The newest iteration of Apple’s living room device, the Apple TV, will output content in 4K and High Dynamic Range HDR10 and Dolby Vision standards thanks to a new A10X internal chip. Apple announced partnerships with major Hollywood studios for 4K movies at the same price point as regular HD, as well as 4K titles from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Sports fans will also be pleased with live sports integrations from TV providers on Apple TV, yet another indicator that consumers are continuing to shift consumption of traditionally televised content to their mobile devices.

Apple Watch
The Apple Watch received updates as well. Apple Watch Series 3 will feature cellular connectivity built-in, allowing for Apple Music integration, as well as improved internal hardware. New software features for swimming, RFID gym kit, better heart rate information and exercise planning are part of WatchOS 4.

Plenty has already been said about the newest Apple hardware already, but what do these changes mean for developers and advertisers?

No More Home Button
While not a software feature, the removal of the home button on the iPhone X grants developers and advertisers a huge, extra piece of screen real estate. The most immediate benefit of more screen space will be opening a wider field of view for games and apps. Larger, more user-friendly UI elements might also make an appearance as developers get used to building for the new, adjusted screen space.

We asked Doug Manson, our VP of Creative and head of Skylab what this change in aspect ratio might mean for advertising creative.

“In regards to video, this will be interesting,” said Manson. “I think this opens up some opportunities for some creative custom solutions on how to deal with the dead space. There are probably some clever ways to build containers for the video on the left and right. For example: reactive wallpaper/video triggers/branding, chances for the action within the video to break outside the borders of the video. These are all exciting new challenges for mobile creatives.”

Augmented Reality
As we said after WWDC in March, AR is poised to become the lynchpin of a whole new category of apps that have barely scratched the surface. Our favorite may still be the ability to step into the ‘80s hit “Take on me” by A-ha.

Developers have been building amazing demos of ARkit all Summer, but the potential continues as large companies turn legions of developers to the task of maximizing the potential of AR. Publishers in the decorating, utility, social, and educational spaces, amongst others, have a huge opportunity to grow here.

Short examples of Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade and Sky Guide were accompanied by a demo of the world’s first mobile MMO in AR — Machines from Directive Games  — that blew the audience away.

Publishers shouldn’t tarry, though. The App Store (newly redesigned!) is littered with apps that lost out when they weren’t some of the first to market. Once users have a “good enough” app that does something, it can be tough to convince them to switch.

Finding the balance between “new and fresh” and “polished and great” has never been more important, especially when the functionality is baked into iOS. Likewise, expect high quality playable and otherwise interactive app install ads to become ever-more prevalent as mobile advertisers look to tout the impressive AR capabilities of their newer, better apps.

NFC For All
Apple is finally giving developers access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities instead of keeping it locked to just Apple Pay (which is now enabling person to person payments!) and approved financial services.

This feature holds the most promise for companies who have both physical locations and apps, such as retailers, hotel chains, and restaurants. Opening a hotel room, finding out more information about a product on the fly, or tagging reward cards without a laser scanner are all simple, obvious use cases; but like ARkit, developers will no doubt create new and innovative experience using NFC.

Ask anyone in mobile and they’ll tell you the same thing: Never underestimate developers.

Apple Maps will also be gaining floor plans for shopping centers and airports, and the company says it expects to add hundreds of places every week, which combined with NFC could be huge for retailers the world over. Brand performance campaigns already leveraging store locator services within their dynamic end cards will likely also become even more detailed and helpful as a result.

Users will have to choose to engage with NFC items, but there’s lots of potential for museums, zoos, and other traveler destinations to enhance tours with minimal hardware costs. This emphasis on users choosing to engage with a part of an app or physical falls in line with emerging trends in mobile advertising.

Animated Emoji – Animoji
Something fresh and fun (or maybe frustrating and incomprehensible) coming to iOS is a new type of emoji. Animoji take advantage of the iPhone X 3D face sensors for something that’s a little more fun than just unlocking your phone and making payments — recording and syncing with voice messages via iMessage.


Apple’s Messaging app will surely benefit (or suffer, depending on how you feel about how the kids are communicating nowadays) but developers who support them in apps with text support will likely earn a little edge in millennial street cred. It will also be interesting to see how advertisers incorporate these recorded messages into the popular photo-taking engagement-focused campaigns.

They’re definitely cute.

Twitter & Facebook Native Support Removal
This change to iOS is more notable for what it takes away from developers than what it adds. Despite a long history of native support in the Settings page of iOS, social media as part of the operating system is going away with iOS 11. Facebook had been integrated since 2012, and Twitter since 2011.

Adding these accounts would, under iOS 10, function as a single sign-on for other apps that might require them for user login. With the native Facebook integration, users could sync calendars and contacts with their events and friends list.

While this functionality should still be capable through Apple’s APIs, the shortcut for multiple developers to gather data on users with a quick Facebook login is gone. This falls in line with social logins falling out of favor with mobile publishers. In our recent Mobile Publishing Trends report, only 24% of publishers said a social login was a measure of a high-quality user.

Developers who haven’t already may want to start thinking about new methods of account creation pretty quickly.

Getting Ready for the Future
iOS 11 is hitting user devices on September 19, with new devices not far behind.

The mobile industry shouldn’t waste any time getting things ready for the next stage in Apple’s vision for the future (we haven’t!). CEO Tim Cook didn’t call the iPhone X the path setter for the next decade for the sake of it.

As users adopt Apple’s latest software and devices, developers and advertisers alike have a whole new swathe of performance enhancements and software to take advantage of to deliver more great experiences into users’ hands.

You can find Apple’s own documentation on developing for iOS 11 and the new hardware on their developer site.

Ready to update your app with full iOS 11 support? AdColony SDK 3.2.1 is now available. On top of iOS 11 compatibility, SDK 3.2.1 offers numerous improvements, including:

  • Enhanced skippability controls
  • Convenient volume controls
  • Enhanced security
  • Improved ad relevance
  • Post-install event support
  • Improved testing tools

With some Android devices receiving Android Oreo updates today as well, it’s time to update.

The 3.2.1 SDK is available on Github for both iOS and Android. To make integration as easy as possible, publishers are encouraged to check out the integration guide for iOS as well as the integration guide for Android.

Join the Conversation
What’s got you most excited about from Cupertino? Ready to integrate 3.2.1 but have some questions? Tweet us at @AdColony. For the latest AdColony mobile news and updates, follow @AdColony on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or connect on Linkedin.


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