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June 13, 2016, 2:58 p.m.
Mobile & Apps

Video notifications, Apple News subscriptions, and more for publishers from WWDC 2016

Get ready for more interactive notifications, Siri in other apps, richer Messages, and more.

Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote on Monday wasn’t particularly momentous as these things go, but the company offered a peek at upcoming changes to its mobile, desktop, TV, and watch software. Here are a few developments that might be of particular interest to news orgs:

More interactive notifications

Notifications will offer more context straight from the lockscreen in iOS 10: You’ll be able to watch short video and other “graphical updates” in your lockscreen, for instance, and users can tap on notifications to see additional information (like an Uber driver’s live updated status). Publishers could offer live news or sports clips in notifications, perhaps, or provide short story summaries there.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of internet software and services, noted that it’s easy to miss your notifications when you open your phone’s lockscreen. A “raise to wake” feature will let users see all their notifications without pressing a button, which could give news updates a bit more visibility for those who’ve been skipping them.

apple newsIf you’re already sick of news notifications on your lockscreen, too bad: Apple News is now jumping into the breaking news notifications game, with “the most important stories delivered right to your lockscreen.” (Receiving these will be optional, maybe?)

Paid subscriptions in Apple News

As previously reported, paid subscriptions are coming to Apple News, which Apple says now has 60 million subscribers. (It’s also getting a redesign.)

While Cue didn’t elaborate on how the subscriptions will work, he mentioned being able to read “every article from magazines like National Geographic and newspapers like The Wall Street Journal right inside Apple News.” It’s likely that Apple Pay will be integrated here, and speaking of that…

Apple Pay comes to the web

Online retailers will be able to include a “Pay with Apple Pay” button on their websites; when shoppers select it, a sheet pops down and prompts them to authenticate the purchase from their iPhone or Apple Watch. A slide of participating publishers in Apple Pay for web included The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair.

Beefed-up Messages

Apple is trying to prevent Messages (the most frequently used iOS app) from falling too far behind other messaging apps like WeChat and Snapchat. So it’s getting new animations, stickers, the ability to send payments, personalized GIFs, and more.

Links shared in Messages will now appear as “rich” content: If someone shares a news story, for example, Messages will pull the headline and art; you’ll be able to watch shared videos straight from the Messages screen.

A new “emojify” option in Messages suggests emoji substitutes for words.

Finally, Messages is now open to developers. Get ready for more bots.

Single sign-on for Apple TV

There wasn’t much elaboration on this, but one of the keynote announcements that seemed to attract the most excitement on Twitter was the news that video services on Apple TV and iOS will allow a single sign-on, allowing users to circumvent pesky cable app authentication and a zillion passwords.

From Apple’s release:

For the first time, customers in the US will have a simplified way of enjoying pay-TV video channels by using single sign-on. Starting this fall, users only have to sign in once on Apple TV to enjoy immediate access to their favorite video channels that are included as part of their pay-TV subscription.

— Once a user is signed into one network app, any other app on Apple TV from participating pay-TV providers will automatically log the user into all other supported apps requiring authentication.
— During the single sign-on process, customers can view a page of all the authenticated apps that a pay-TV provider offers to more easily discover, download and enjoy all of their favorite video channels.
— Any network-TV app can take advantage of this technology to enable single sign-on and simplify the process for their viewers.
— Single sign-on will be available on both Apple TV and iOS.

Siri comes to desktop

Siri will be available on desktop in the new version of OS X — which Apple will heretofore refer to as “MacOS.” Siri will also be open to third-party developers, meaning app users will be able to do a lot more with voice commands (ask the Times for updates on a particular story, maybe?)

Developer previews of the new operating systems are available today, public betas opens in July, and iOS 10 will be available to everybody this fall.

POSTED     June 13, 2016, 2:58 p.m.
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