Marketers will keep close watch on Apple’s Sept. 9 event when it is set to introduce the iPhone 6, the next evolution of its phone that dominates the U.S. and is central to mobile advertising.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant is expected to make wide-ranging and far-reaching changes to its flagship product, which has been updated annually since launching in 2007. Leaked images and multiple reports show there could be two iPhone 6 models—4.7 inches and 5.5 inches—that are larger than the previous version. This change—with vivid viewing—would come just as mobile ad leaders like Facebook and Twitter are selling more rich media, video and in-feed promos.
“Folks gravitate to the larger screen, and some think ‘banner ad,’ but that’s outdated thinking,” said Gian LaVecchia, managing partner at MEC. “We’re seeing programming delivered through mobile feeds. And there’s going to be a new richness to the canvas.”
Facebook wouldn’t discuss its strategy for larger iPhone screens, but what’s clear is that it’ll offer a different experience when compared to other platforms like Android. Just last week, Facebook launched Hyperlapse, an Instagram companion app that uses Apple technology.
Indeed, any changes to the iPhone will affect more than 40 percent of smartphone users in the U.S., per comScore. From screen adjustment to policy changes around location tracking, there could be profound impacts on how marketers attack mobile going forward. And the latest operating system is reportedly more powerful, giving increased flexibility to developers. For instance, new services will allow users to monitor health signs, which marketing experts said could push pharmaceutical brands to engage more on mobile.
And that may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to consumer utilities. Reports indicate the iPhone 6 may have innovative abilities to sync up with wearable devices.
What’s more, Alan Simkowski, vp of mobile solutions at GMR, remarked that the in-store marketing technology called iBeacon—an area that Apple dominates—is just starting to take off.
The iPhone 6 could help perfect the iBeacon, he said, by limiting the amount of battery it drains when it uses Bluetooth to communicate with shoppers’ phones.
“We know pilot programs are taking place, and there’s a lot of activity testing going on with brands and the iBeacon,” Simkowski explained. To his point, marketers for Faberge, Tribeca Film Festival and the Orlando Magic have recently trialed iBeacon campaigns.
And Apple’s latest iOS 8 software, always released before the company delivers a new device, will likely emphasize how notifications appear via its phone. Notifications are a key part of the iBeacon experience because it is what alerts consumers to offers and promotions when they walk the aisles.
One rumor is that the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone will light up when notifications arrive, which would represent a small-but-nostalgic change—a glowing logo is a classic look in past Apple products.
“With enhanced notifications, it’s even better for brands and retailers,” Simkowski said. “On the brand side, there are opportunities to engage people based on their location if they opt in. Then it’s clear sailing.”