mobile phone promoting Apple special event

By Greg Wester, CMO

As a member of the tech blog-o-sphere, I was able to snag an invite to Apple’s December 2nd special press event to honor the Best Apps and Games of the year.

So there I was, in a surprisingly dark and hushed environment tucked in between honorees like the Spectre Camera and Sky: Children of Light appmakers, when someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I’d like to see a sneak preview of what’s to come with Apple News. I jumped at the chance and… WOW-EE! All I can say is . . . “We told you!”

Apple News, like other Device-Centric Discovery solutions already has a huge impact on how, and what, mobile content gets consumed. The news aggregator that comes pre-installed on Apple devices and is seamlessly integrated in Apple’s Minus 1 screen experience, has already taken a lot of friction (swipes and taps) away from the mobile content experience.

But from what I was able to see from Apple’s roadmap, I believe it just might crush Facebook News – and everyone else.

COMING SOON: CODE NAME “APPLE NEWS PLUS PLUS PLUS”

 Our sneak peek of their roadmap revealed what shouldn’t be a surprise – they are making something that people already love better by further removing friction from the user experience. Apple it seems – similar to what Netflix has done in streaming television – has figured out that helping consumers “See What’s Next” (an actual Netflix tagline), is more useful to consumers than merely helping them continue their last experience.

Today, Apple News gives consumers personalized and convenient content – available in the app and seamlessly integrated so that it’s just one swipe off the home screen. Apple also provides siri suggestions that use information from their other apps (e.g., weather, calendar, map, etc.) to recommend what you might need to do next on your phone, directly on the lock screen. The Apple experience is already quite friendly –  but what’s coming next is simply awesome.

The 3 “PLUS” Apple News comes with 3 white-glove level content experiences:

  • A Discovery Agent, that behaves as a more proactive “Siri Suggestions”, that takes out unnecessary clicks in the content discovery process. Here’s how it works . . . If Siri’s AI determines that the last app you used has, in their language has “backgrounded”, then when you next unlock your phone, you’ll find a home screen that’s effectively a Siri-powered Apple News experience alongside Siri-powered app suggestions. Look at your phone first thing in the morning, hours and hours after last night’s check-in on Facebook, and BAM – Siri-powered Apple News kickstarts your day with a zero-touch curated Apple News update alongside a one-touch path BACK to Facebook. That subtle change can have a huge impact on downstream Facebook consumption. In fact, Verto Analytics found that as much as 18% of Facebook’s usage comes from sessions where people unlock and use Facebook merely because it was previously left open.
  • Enhanced Browser Pages filled with more prominent “Siri Suggestions” of content recommendations based on past usage, replaces the current default new browser page. Supplementing the search bar at the top of a new web page will be a menu of trending topics and other things you love. Don’t find what you want? Just use search as usual.
  • A Richer Minus 1 (Today/Spotlight) Screen filled with personalized content, deals, games, offers, events, and even Apple TV integration. Now, for example, when you’re at home (and ONLY if you’re at home), if you swipe right, your phone will show you “what’s hot” for you to watch. With one touch you can watch immediately on the nearest iPad, SmartTV, or right on your phone. There’s even the ability to set up a reminder to automatically start watching LIVE TV at a future time, if you’ve previously authenticated through your cable TV provider.

BEEP, BEEP,  BEEP….  …. BEEP,  BEEP, BEEP….  HUH?  WHAT?

My alarm clock?  What? Huh?  Was I just dreaming?

OK, this was “Fake news”. It seems I wasn’t given a sneak peek of Apple’s roadmap (yet!)…  and dang, I wasn’t even invited to the event. But, if you don’t think Apple isn’t working on features like this (or better!), you’re kidding yourself. And, when announced, they’ll have a huge impact on the market.

For carriers and Android OEMs looking to be a media leader, they should look no further than how DCD solutions like Apple News put together consistency, unified experiences, and personalization to remove friction and make things easier for their consumers. It’s time for others to innovate similar DCD solutions and write the same history Apple News is already authoring.

[Hitting the SNOOZE BUTTON] I’m tired.  Back to bed.  All this ruminating about the future of our smartphones is exhausting.