Everything Marketers Need to Know About Apple’s New iPhones and Watch

Don't annoy users with notifications, and other tips

Marketers already are coming up with ways to use Apple's large-screen phones and small-screen watches, which were unveiled today in San Francisco. Apple's annual device launch featured the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both larger than any Apple phone before them, and the long anticipated Apple Watch.

The devices represent new opportunities for brands and their agencies to develop campaigns. On the new iPhone 6 models, there is a promise of larger ad formats and richer video. The watch is sparking creative ways for brands to interject themselves into the small screen without being intrusive, marketing experts said.

The new iPhones, the thinnest and most powerful yet, will hit stores Sept. 19 and start at $200 for the iPhone 6 and $300 for the Plus model. The watch will cost $350 and is expected in stores next year.

"We're excited to expand beyond the phone to larger ad formats on larger screens as well as wrists," said Jeff Malmad, Mindshare's mobile director in North America.

Mindshare already has a division called Life+, which launched this summer and works with brands to develop consumer experiences on wearable devices. "It's all about how we can tell better stories with additive experiences," Malmad said.

Along with the devices, Apple highlighted a number of services and features that will impact marketers.

Larger Phones

It might seem like a simple adjustment, but Apple has been slow to answer the demand for devices with bigger screens. Many consumers prefer the big screen for browsing the Web, watching videos and playing games. Marketers said the larger screens are a better fit for digital video advertising, which is an increasingly important segment. Also, social media is better when it's bigger, according to some.

The announcement of Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus "means significantly bigger screens for iPhone enthusiasts and, as a result, potentially a significant increase of mobile social media engagement—particularly via Vine and Instagram's visual photo-video platforms," said Eric Dahan, CEO of InstaBrand.com. He said brands could direct more dollars to campaigns on those video-sharing apps.

Apple's Watch Enters the Wearable Market

Many people say Apple's entrance into the wearable market gives legitimacy to the whole endeavor pioneered by Samsung, Motorola and Sony, whose smartwatches were met with limited success. 

"The watch is another screen where we anticipate a number of opportunities," Malmad said. "How can we tell better stories with additive experiences there as opposed to intrusive disruptions?"

Fitness and health conscious consumers are the first segment many brands are thinking of serving with the device. Much of its capabilities include tracking one's movement throughout the day. Mindshare partnered with Map My Fitness to understand health data and “how to utilize wearables to improve everyday life,” Malmad said.

Enhanced Notifications

The next mobile software from Apple, iOS 8, has an upgraded notifications system, where apps can alert users of new content and the like. The notifications will be richer and more dynamic, and give users the ability to take some action like retweeting right away.

Ben Rubenstein, president of Possible Mobile, said enhanced notifications are a blessing and a curse, especially when they sync with the Apple Watch. Developers and brands risk interrupting users.

"With notification messaging instantly available on a user's wrist, marketers need to take that into account," Rubenstein said. "Now that it's on the watch, they will see it way more often."

Apple Pay

Apple has finally launched its new phone with NFC—the ability to wirelessly connect to other systems that have the same chip. This will open up mobile payments through the new Apple Pay service, which will store credit card information and allow consumer's to pay with the swipe of their phones. Already retailers are set up for the capability. Notably, Starbucks and Walgreens were mentioned at today's event.

Eye on iAds

While Apple doesn’t often mention its iAds mobile ad business, advertisers expect that it will eventually support iWatch marketing, expanding the ability to serve ads across platforms from iPhones to iPads to Apple TV to iTunes Radio and now the watch. Malmad also expects Apple's iAds to start accommodating larger screens on the iPhones, allowing for those richer video and display ads.

"The bigger screens are a more powerful way for brands to tell stories," he said.

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