Apple Unveils iOS 7 and Challenges Its Competitors

    By Patrick Himes | Small Business

    Apple Unveils iOS 7 and Challenges Its Competitors image apple ios7 300x225apple ios7Amidst quite a bit of fanfare and press coverage, the day has come when Apple finally releases something big. After being relatively silent and watching its stock drop lower and lower (from a high around $700 this year to a low of $390) Apple has released a brand new operating system for its mobile devices, iOS 7, as well as a variety of other improvements designed to compete with its largest competitors like Google, Samsung, and anyone else involved in mobile and cloud storage.

    Apple Impresses at WWDC 2013

    Some businesses and agencies might not consider paying attention to developments from a company like Apple, but the fact of the matter is, mobile is and will be an important part of reaching consumers. At the very least, we can all learn a lot about marketing, branding, and innovation from Apple, as they have gone through quite a variety of changes over their history. Not many businesses can hold up to the branding skills of Apple and the consumer-fans it creates.

    With that in mind, let’s take a look at what Apple has done with iOS 7 and the other announcements it made yesterday.

    iOS 7

    The most attention-grabbing part of Apple’s show yesterday was all of the information concerning iOS 7. As Rosa Golijan for NBC News writes, Apple has brought together “the best of Apple design with good ideas from its competitors” and this move “is exactly what Apple needed to fend off the competition – and bring the cool factor back.” I have to admit I was starting to wonder when Apple was going to do something to liven things up. The iPhone 5 was interesting, for a day or two. It really didn’t push the envelope the way consumers expect from Apple.

    It even looks like Apple has responded to NFC technology in major competitors’ phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S4. As Julianne Pepitone reports for CNN Money, “a new feature called AirDrop provides one-tap access to share items with other iOS 7 users.” Apple is once again showing the importance of learning from their competitors and not being too proud to find a way to mimic them. That’s a lesson any company can benefit from.

    Another interesting part of iOS 7 is the fact that, as Liz Gannes and John Paczkowski write on All Things D, “Apple said on Tuesday that Bing would be the default search engine in the upcoming iOS 7.” That means unless mobile users tell Siri to specifically use Google, they will be relying on Bing when the personal assistant needs to look up information. This is a direct result of increasing competition in many areas from Google. I have a feeling this should work a bit better than when Apple switched to their own Maps app and ditched Google, only to approve a Google Maps app a few weeks later.

    Apple has gone with a clean, futuristic looking design this time around. They’ve taken the hint from Android’s success in letting users quickly and easily access settings and other options. Ultimately, it looks to me like iOS 7 will be easier to use for everyone and it will make the entire mobile experience for Apple owners much better and continue to push the consumer towards mobile.

    iTunes Radio and iWork

    Apple announced a lot more than iOS 7 at WWDC yesterday. It looks like Apple wants to take on music giants like Pandora and Spotify. Julie Strickland writes for Inc that iTunes Radio “will feature an iTunes buy button” and “will come pre-loaded with stations and track what’s trending on Twitter.” An interesting inclusion of social media to take advantage of music’s close relationship with those platforms. I don’t think this is hugely important for Apple, but it’s clearly a piece of the online market it believes it shouldn’t be left out of.

    Another announcement is a direct response to competition from Google. As Amy Gahran reports on Entrepreneur, Apple is pushing changes to iWork and the iCloud (finally accessible from any device with an Apple login) and turning it into a cloud solutions platform. Google Docs might have some more competition when it comes to cloud computing.

    A Final Note

    Apple has made some interesting choices in this latest round of announcements and new products. The company is still primarily about its gadgets and products, but it’s getting involved in more now. It looks to me that Apple is hesitantly trying to become more of an all-in-one service provider to its fans and consumers. Google has been pursuing this strategy aggressively and openly for years. Apple is picking and choosing what it offers to consumers in an effort to keep within their brand ecosystem as much as possible.

    At the very least, Apple has shown that it’s paying attention to the competition and responding strongly. As the world of mobile continues to become more and more prominent in consumers’ lives, how businesses and agencies interact with them will change as well. Finally, it’s nice to see some action from Apple. Hopefully this elicits more development and improvements from their competitors.

    What do you think of Apple’s latest announcements? Is it what the company needs to bring its stock price and performance back to where it was a year ago?

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