Apple’s new iMessage app store development heralded as ‘opportunity’ for marketers

The launch of an iMessage mini app store appears to be the most intriguing development for marketers from Apple’s latest product announcements overnight.

Apple has controversially dropped the headphone jack from its iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and the phone is also now waterproof, a move that had been widely anticipated.

The move towards an iMessage mini app store that will be open to third party developers has been hailed as a significant opportunity for marketers, enabling them to engage with customers in a similar way to WeChat in China.

Douglas Nicol, founder of On Message, a start-up agency launched by The Works, described the move as a significant development from Apple.

“Increasingly Australian consumers are using some form of messaging as their primary form of communication,” he told Mumbrella. “This provides an opportunity for brands to get closer to their customers, but they need to be smart about it.

“Conversations need to be initiated by consumers.”

Nicol said the development could accelerate the move towards messaging as a “lifestyle” tool where consumers not only chat with friends and family, but interact with brands.

“The smart brands will be looking at this, and some already are through Facebook Messenger,” he said. “Google is also launching into this area soon.”

Nicol said the shift in platform popularity has “caught many marketers off guard”.

“They are unaware on how to best engage their customers who are moving from being a wider audience to becoming an individual,” Nicol said at the launch of the agency in June.

Director of strategy at Hardhat Digital, Dan Monheit, said virtually all of the new Apple developments were known before the official release, leaving little to create a wow factor.

“A few years ago, Apple made a good job of making sure information did not get out, but everyone knew everything that was going to happen,” he said.

The most eye-catching change is something that has been removed, rather than added, with Apple ditching the headphone jack, a staple feature of the device since its inception.

Instead, the new devices will have cordless headphones – AirPod wireless earbuds – while an adaptor will also be included providing the ability to connect existing headphones to the Lightning port.

The earbuds will connect to iPhone or Apple Watch and will offer five hours of battery life, plus a charging case will hold 24 hours of charge.

Monheit said the elimination of wires was a welcome and natural step to take by Apple, but suggested it would take time for people to get used to the new cordless earphone.

“It will be kind of weird  but wires are something of a relic,” he said.


Upgrades have been made to the camera with a redesigned 12-megapixel sensor, optical image stabilisation and a faster f/1.8 lens, which will improve photos in low light.

Apple also announced augmented reality phenomenon Pokemon Go would be available on the Apple Watch.


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