When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, it created an incredible surge in smartphone sales, causing a huge spike in mobile Internet usage that hasn't stopped growing yet. That moment in time created a big push for websites to be designed with mobile users in mind. It also gave a reason for business owners to create apps for their businesses. Seven years later, business owners are still discussing whether or not an app is right for their businesses, and how to design for mobile users.
Today, Apple announced some amazing products—three have significant potential to greatly affect your small business.
1. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
Apple announced two new variations of the popular iPhone, both with larger screens. The iPhone 6 will be 4.7 inches diagonally, and the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches diagonally. (The iPhone 5s is 4 inches.) More importantly, the new phones have higher pixel resolutions and contrast ratios on their retina HD displays. The new iPhones will make everything sharper, crisper and better looking.
How will this affect your business? Well, the trick to being able to take advantage of the retina displays is you have to have images on your site that are more pixel-dense. If your site hasn't been converted to handle retina images, it means that when people visit your site on a retina device, all your images will look fuzzy and not very sharp. (This problem magnifies with the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.) If you own glasses and forget to put them on for a day, then you know what browsing around a website without support for retina looks like.
Also, with bigger screens in their pockets, people will browse even more on mobile devices than on desktops. Ensuring your site accommodates mobile users will be key to attracting, and keeping, customers.
2. Apple Watch
Apple also released a smart watch to its product line: The Apple Watch. The watch is unlike any on the market right now; it uses some really interesting technologies to do things like look at maps, read or compose emails and send texts.
This can affect business owners in a few ways: First, if you're doing any sort of email marketing, email subject lines are going to be more important than ever. With room for about four to five words on the screen, you need to make sure you use those first words the best way you know how—or risk losing users, quick. Also, if you're trying to get someone to go to your website from the email, they'll have to open their phones to do it. It's one more step, one more barrier to getting people to your website. It's another hurdle for anyone trying to use email marketing as a tool to get eyeballs on their websites.
On the other hand, the new Apple Watch does allow you to control and listen to audio straight from the watch. If you've got a podcast, this is a very good thing. There's no barriers on the Apple Watch to listen to audio. Imagine going out for a run and, with the simple twist of your watch dial, you can listen to your favorite podcast.
3. Apple Pay
Maybe the biggest announcement for business owners that Apple made was the creation of Apple Pay. Apple Pay is essentially a way to use your iPhone or Apple Watch as a credit card. Think of Apple Pay as a digital wallet. Apple says that it's a "more secure, easy and private" way to purchase things both offline and online—all big wins for the consumer.
But will Apple Pay be beneficial for small businesses? Any time you can remove friction in the purchasing process, it's a very good thing. Also, people tend to spend more money when they use credit cards instead of cash. Spending with a credit card is more abstract than with cash; it's more seamless.
It's also very easy. A single touch of the Touch ID, and the transaction is over. Simple. Apps with in-app purchases already generate the most income, so it will be interesting to see how it affects the bottom line for app owners.
Looking at Apple Pay through a larger lens, we know that Apple isn't the only "digital wallet" in town. PayPal has one, as does Amazon and Google. It's a fragmented market, and Apple entering the fray only makes things more complicated for the business owner trying to keep up.
What's a small-business owner to do with this information? Keep your eye on trends surrounding these products, and watch how people are using them. If your customers are using these products, you need to accommodate them, and use them, too.
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