Several big announcements have been made at Apple's annual conference for software developers in San Francisco. The big one is that Apple is overhauling its music products. Apple is also releasing new versions of its software systems for iPhones, iPads and Macs. As well, and of special interest to marketers, Apple Pay will now include loyalty and rewards programs.
"We weren't the first phone, we weren't the first music player. That's not where revolutions are made," Eddy Cue, Apple's head of software and Internet services, is quoted as saying in a New York Times article. "Revolutions are about bringing it all together and having the best product that actually works."
What will these changes look like?
Apple Music is an app and music service that will replace iTunes. The service will cost $10 a month or $15 a month for a family. Apple Music was developed with Beats Electronics, which Apple bought last year for $3 billion. Apple Music will have features much like Spotify and Pandora. According to The New York Times, "The main difference with Apple's offering is that a customer's music downloads, the streaming music service and an Internet radio service can all be found inside the Apple Music app."
Social media elements have been integrated into Apple Music that allow artists to publish posts about their albums and concerts, and allow customers to post comments.
Apple Music will be available June 30.
Software Systems for iPhones, iPads & Macs
The new versions of the software systems for iPhones will be more stable and extend performance and battery life. They also offer new features like public transit directions added to mapping software. As well, Siri, Apple's voice controlled assistant, is getting smarter. Now, she can respond to commands like "Show me photos from last August." When a phone call comes in from an unknown number, Siri can search your emails for that number.
Apple is trying to make iPhones smarter and more aware of users' habits and needs. In doing this, Apple is copying features that Google's Android has been able to do for a while.
There are also changes coming for the iPad. "The company introduced a split-screen mode that allows multiple apps to run side-by-side, a big change from the current interface, which loads one app that takes up the entire screen," writes Brian X. Chen.
The new Mac system is called El Capitan, and it emphasizes improved performance. "Apple said apps would start about one and a half times as fast as in the previous version of OS X, and switching between apps would also be much snappier," writes Brian X. Chen.
These free upgrades will be available in the fall.
Of Special Interest to Marketers
Apple Pay, Apple's mobile payments service, will soon include loyalty and rewards programs. "For example, users paying with Apple Pay at Walgreens and Dunkin' Donuts can redeem points they have accrued through the retailer's rewards program," writes Brian X. Chen.