To become the world’s first $2 trillion tech company, Apple has had to constantly be in a state of both setting the status quo and disrupting it. September 2020 saw a disruption that went one further than providing no chargers with their iPhone 12.
Their sudden release of iOS 14, an update for iPhones and iPads, promises to reimagine the iPhone experience. But while consumers were pleased with the sudden release, developers who rely on running apps on the iPhone were left scrambling. Reports indicate that app developers are rushing to ensure that their apps are suitable for the new release, with some only having a handful of days to ensure their products run optimally on the new software.
With that in mind, what do concerns surrounding Apple’s control over its App Store show about the importance of mobile across a variety of industries?
The primary features of the update include a redesign of the home screen to add more personalized and useful widgets. The home screen has been largely unchanged since the inception of the first iPhone, so many customers are eager to experience something new. For example, users can choose to have news apps, the calendar, or other key information presented to them. The App Clips feature acts as a shortcut of sorts for certain apps that are required to perform specific tasks such as paying for something. There has been an overhaul of how calls are made, too.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) September 17, 2020
This comes on the back of Epic Games (who make Fortnite) clashing with Apple over the control the company exerts over hosting on its App Store. The company takes 30% profit from apps, which the Fortnite developers suggest allows a monopoly to be created.
The fact developers only had a day in some cases to ensure they could continue business, as usual, could have harmed profits, especially given how important smartphones are across the board. The move shows that Apple ultimately controls what happens on its devices and means that developers wanting to remain on the App Store must abide by Apple’s rules.
Apple gave developers a surprisingly short amount of time to get their final iOS 14 apps ready to go before today’s launch. @JonPorty has the some of the biggest reactions from devs and some key analysis: https://t.co/bMolrATtaF pic.twitter.com/Gpz60nZpaJ
— Chaim Gartenberg (@cgartenberg) September 16, 2020
The main concern for many businesses and sectors was that their customers wouldn’t be able to connect with them on mobile. Even as much of a week being offline or with an unresponsive app could be enough to see significant damage to brands and could give fickle customers an opportunity to try competitors. So, not having the right time to ensure they could deliver the best experience on iOS14 could have an impact on some businesses – which shows just how important mobile is across a wide range of sectors.
Smartphones have never been as useful as they have been for the retail industry. Users can switch from the app of the store to the social media pages to see the products in action; they can then check influencers, message their friends, and have a contained experience for purchasing new clothing. Statistics indicate that 47% of retail spending is from smartphone apps. So, a disruption to this service could prove costly for certain businesses, especially those whose customer base is less loyal.
Traditional industries, such as online casinos, are also taking advantage of the surge in people wanting to engage using mobile devices and have ensured that as many of the desktop sites in the industry as possible have a mobile-optimized version. Most choose a responsive mobile site rather than an app. Many online casinos make a point of stating that they are fully optimized for a range of devices as this could sway customers one way or another, especially when choosing a new casino site.
Mobile gaming itself now has higher revenue than all other forms of gaming combined. The issues with Fortnite could bleed into other games, and it shows that no matter how successful a game, the platform it runs on exerts the ultimate control.
The increase in apps used for booking restaurant tables and ordering food shows the significance of having a smartphone on you in the hospitality sector. Busy restaurants that rely on the technology could be left scrambling if their app goes down amidst a busy night tending to customers.
Moreover, hotels and booking companies often use the app to shore up customers’ bookings and provide confirmation and clarification on the terms of service. If the app wasn’t working due to the launch of iOS14, this could have led to unnecessary stress for hotel-goers or the people managing the bookings across hospitality.
Developers took to Twitter to share their panic that they had one day to ensure their software was optimized for the new update. The move may not have been a conscious one by Apple to shock the developers, but it certainly ensures that they remain with their finger on the pulse in the future.
In the same way that Beyonce dropped her album without so much as a hint ahead of time, Apple utilized the same strategy. It may have presented a headache for developers, but it gave the update more publicity than most of the previous patches have experienced.