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Apple’s iOS 12 Allows Users To Greater Control Over Notifications — Here’s What It Means For Local Marketers

While most of the new features were previewed in June, iOS 12 gets its full release the week of Sept. 17. And it could significantly alter which notifications are seen and which aren't.

The primary news from Apple’s annual September product preview were the introduction of the larger size iPhone X and new Apple Watch design, but the few software updates coming in the full launch of iOS 12 next week could have some impact on marketers.

After presentations by CEO Tim Cook and other execs, Apple senior director for product marketing Kaiann Drance provided a wide-ranging overview of the A12 Bionic chip, which unlocks new experiences” through machine learning and Siri Shortcuts.

The new tools show Apple “focused on every day tasks feel fast and effortless,” Drance said, all with the goal of using the various new iPhone and Apple Watch models faster,  with multiple tasks from games to finding directions in Apple Maps,  — all with greater battery life.

A Shortcut For Brands

In particularly, the new chip will allow apps to launch up to 30 percent more quickly, Drance told the audience at Apple’s Cupertino still new”spaceship” headquarters of developers, analysts, and journalists.

“Our next generation neural engine unlocks the power of real-time machine learning,” Drance said.

Among the highlights from Apple’s advance machine learning software is “Siri Shortcuts,” which was first mentioned back at the company’s developer conference in June.

“The launch of Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12 means that you can get even more done by tapping your phone or asking Siri for help,” Drance said. Users will be able to create “shortcuts” that allows the iPhone to keep up with the tasks a user has set forth for their day.

As an example, Drance asked Siri to launch the “Keynote Day” shortcut she created, which included instantly ordering her coffee at a local Philz cafe, even telling her how long it would take for her order to be ready for pickup.

From there, shortcuts sent her driving directions and then began playing her pre-set shortcut playlist. And with HomePod, Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo and the Google Home voice activated smart devices, users can now also ask that product to make phone calls and order ahead as well.

While Siri was the original virtual assistant, it lagged as Alex and Google Assistant sprinted ahead in the years since Apple acquired and developed it. Even as Apple’s HomePod has gotten off to slow start as the response to Amazon’s Echo and Google Home “smart device” products, Apple hopes to take a literal shortcut that allows users to customize voice activated responses.

Apple’s promise for Siri Shortcuts is the ability to deliver a new, much faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri.

Users can customize Shortcuts by creating a simple voice command to kick off the task or download the new Shortcuts app to create a series of actions from different apps that can be carried out with a simple tap or customized voice command. It’s easy for developers to take advantage of this new capability using Shortcut APIs.

Siri Shortcuts portends the future of SEO as the ability to have a brand vie to become a preferred “shortcut” for users. Platforms that can help improve listings and reputation management will be in greater demand as brands look for ways to improve their chances of getting their apps and content recommended by Siri.

While this can be seen as as a replacement for IFTTT,  there is clear value for a brand to be be part of a person’s routine based on a real-world, place-based activity (leaving home or work) in response to a Siri command like “I’m leaving for work.” A brand that fits into a certain action, like asking for driving directions to a cafe or grocery store, might do well to have an “Order Ahead with your usual” feature that can be embedded into Siri’s memory.

Brands On Notice

The ability to become automatically entrenched in a user’s routine, whether it’s ordering coffee or setting up a lunch meeting, is something marketers would love to take advantage of.

At the same time, Apple is also changing the way users access push notifications, where opt-in messages on the iPhone screens have typically been triggered by location and time of day.

But with iOS 12, notifications will now be “grouped,” something Google Android smartphone users have long had the ability to do, a major advancement from the mobile deep linking capabilities Apple began to emphasizing two years ago.

The “decluttering” of users screens will mean that brands’ apps will be able to avoid being the target of “notification overload,” by setting up messages to be sent as part of an “educational” or “promotional” message instead of individually. They can even set up a particular message to be aligned with “holiday plans.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.