WWDC 2019 – What Got Us Excited at the Apple Developer Conference

By sunanth-pavithran 14 June 2019 | 4 July 2019

The WWDC or the World Wide Developer Conference conducted by Apple is one of the most sought after events on every developer’s calendar. Highly anticipated, and rightly so, this year at the WWDC 2019, Apple announced a series of updates that has developers, marketers, and Apple users equally excited!

What Apple Announced During the WWDC 2019

  1. iOS 13
  2. iPad OS
  3. Mac OS Catalina
  4. Watch OS 6 (independent app store)
  5. TV OS 13
  6. Hardware updates

Moving on from iTunes, which has been discontinued and Apple Music taking its place, Apple has also announced few features that have made life easier for users and app developers. Some of them include the sign-in feature using Apple login, dark mode for phones and laptops, and location tracking alerts for their iOS 13 mobile operating system.

Apple Sign-in and Location Tracking

The sign-in feature makes away with social and Google enabled sign-ins, and improves security. Apple has put the user ahead of app developers and companies like Facebook and Google, which are known to collect user information and use them to further their processes. Sign-in with Apple creates a unique email address that sends emails to the user’s email, thus keeping their email addresses unexposed to app developers and marketers.

WWDC 2019- What got us excited at the Apple Developer Conference MoEngage

Location tracking feature has been revamped. This has made privacy a priority which is a welcome move from Apple. Apple has given an option for users to share the location only once. This is not a restriction, background location tracking and location updates are still possible.

For location tracking, there will be a separate pop-up which will appear again informing the user that the app wants to use the location in the background and seeks permission for the same.

WWDC 2019- What got us excited at the Apple Developer Conference MoEngage WWDC 2019- What got us excited at the Apple Developer Conference MoEngage

Image source – Apple

Dark Mode was unveiled with it gaining a lot of attention from app developers and designers. The Apple team stressed the importance of having an interface that is pleasing to the eye, easy to use and is also helpful in making apps look better, across platforms. It is available for iOS, and Mac operating systems.  

While this is good news for users, marketers, and developers should realize that the days of unbridled access to user data are gone. They now have to think of better ways to connect with their users.

WatchOS 6 and Independent App Store for Watch Apps

WWDC 2019- What got us excited at the Apple Developer Conference MoEngage

Image source – MacRumors

This is probably the most exciting announcement that came our way from Apple this year. It is clear that Apple is pushing its Watch product, and with the launch of WatchOS 6, they have broken away from a co-dependent app store with the iPhone. Watch users now have their Watch app store with apps that do not need to be installed on the iPhone for them to use it on Apple Watch. You can search through curated lists of apps using Siri or Scribble typing, install, pay for apps, make in-app purchases, and use them all without installing them or using the iPhone at all!

Some of the in-built apps on the iWatch will include a ‘dose’ app which is a pill reminder, ‘period tracking’ app for keeping tabs on menstrual cycles, calculator and the voice memo app, and an app to listen to audiobooks.

Here are some of the significant features that have our developers and marketers abuzz with excitement!

User Authentication in Watch OS

The new Watch OS enables sign-in with Apple support. Users can key in the username and password in text format from iPhone/iPad or through voice.

The process is simple, streamlined, and easy to use. Once a user opens the sign-in process with Apple support, the screen will prompt you to use either voice, Scribble or type. If you choose to type, Apple keyboard will open up on your iPhone or iPad and you can type in what you need which will reflect directly onto your iWatch.

WWDC 2019- What got us excited at the Apple Developer Conference MoEngage

It uses iCloud keychain to autofill credentials, similar to iPhone Apps. 

WWDC 2019- What got us excited at the Apple Developer Conference MoEngage

Image source: Apple

These steps take the user/app developer one step closer to better privacy, reducing fraudulent sign-ins, faster access to apps across devices, and helps in building an eco-system that keeps user data private.

Push Notifications for Independent Watch Apps

The Watch Apps use the same APNs(Apple Push Notification Service) infrastructure as for iOS. What this means for developers and marketers is that they don’t have to create a new set of Push Notifications for non- independent Watch apps as the infrastructure is the same as on iOS. The parameters that hold good for sending push notifications on the iPhone hold good for the iWatch. For independent Apps, Push Notification implementation has to be handled separately using the same UserNotifications framework used for iOS.

This opens up a whole new world of opportunities to connect with users of the iWatch. There might be some variation in the content type and density as per the specifications of the iWatch. However, the good news is, marketers now have a whole new arena to enter and engage their users.  

For developers and marketers, the independent app store for the iWatch has opened up many opportunities to engage users and decrease dependencies.  

Project Catalyst and Xcode Package for MacOS and iOS

Seamless connectivity between apps has also been one of the focus areas of this year’s conference. To this end, there are 2 major updates that Apple has applied to allow developers and marketers to make their apps available to users across platforms easily and quickly.

Apple has been working on ‘Project Catalyst’. Simply put, it allows apps to be available universally, across all OS’s and outside the Apple eco-system. This makes the job of app development easier, and users will have a seamless experience as the app will allow users across all platforms, collecting the same type of data and making app usage a unified experience. Third-party developers will receive the Xcode development package from Apple to enable this process.

Building native apps that work across all platforms just got easier with the new SwiftUI package. This uses the Swift programming language and allows developers to create apps that can be deployed on all OS’s of Apple. This reduces the go-to-market time, enables quicker deployment of changes and Push Notifications, and helps developers to consolidate user information across platforms.

Rounding It Up

With all these feature updates, along with the new OS, and hardware update announcements made at the WWDC 2019, Apple has taken steps to ensure that users are in power and control. This is the sign of the times where data security and usage has become a focal point of action for major tech companies. Governments across the world are pushing for higher transparency from companies. Most of the feature updates have this in mind. This should also be a priority for developers and marketers, and the shift is slowly moving into place.

We are excited to work on these feature updates and new options with the iWatch app store and a new OS for iPads. Connecting and engaging with our end users has always been our priority, and with these changes from Apple, it has made the whole process easier, user-centric, and faster.

What did you think about these changes and updates? Do let us know in the Comments section below!

Sunanth Pavithran

About me
Sunanth has over a decade of experience in content writing and marketing. He has worked towards publishing content assets that not just drive traffic but help brands in converting visitors to users. He has built the digital presence of various brands from scratch and understands the full circle of digital customer acquisition; right from ideating to closing the sale. At MoEngage, he is eager to share his learnings and experience in digital and mobile marketing through his blogs.

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