This week marks 10 years since Apple first put the iPhone on sale, a decade in which the device has wrought tremendous change in every sector from retail to banking. Derided on its launch, the device sold over 270,000 units in its first 30 hours on sale, and continues to sell at a rate of nearly 400 devices per minute.
The growing ubiquity of the iOS operating system – as the iPhone now tops 1 billion devices worldwide – means that businesses ignore the next decade’s possibilities of iOS at their peril, according to Apple mobility partner WWT Asynchrony Labs. In retail especially, personalisation, made possible by linking individual devices to a brand’s offering, is an entirely new innovation. By offering the chance to get closer to customers and potential customers, mobile applications are part and parcel of a modern retail strategy.
Bob Elfanbaum, co-head of WWT Asynchrony Labs, comments: “At the time of release, Apple’s slogan for the product was ‘This is only the beginning’. These words have turned out prophetic as whole industries now rely on the iOS platform to provide products, services and information – there are in fact more than 2 million apps, on which customers spent around £23 billion last year. It is hard to think of another platform that has had such an impact in terms of changing consumer behaviour and providing new possibilities for businesses to change the way they interact with customers.”
Bob continued: “It’s amazing how the iPhone has come full circle in retail. Originally a top-selling product, Apple’s device is now a tool that retailers leverage to drive sales of a plethora of different goods from homeware to high-tech gadgets. The ubiquity of mobile apps has completely changed many business models. Take, Uber and Airbnb – two businesses which have shot to success through their clever positioning of app-based services. Older firms have also experience rejuvenation as their products now find completely new markets as a result of mobile services.”
Kelly White, London General Manager of WWT Asynchrony Labs UK, comments: “The strength of the iOS ecosystem makes it impossible to ignore for firms who want to put their services in the palms of customers.
A well designed mobile strategy links all aspects of the business. With the arrival of big data analytics, an iOS application can now supply data that percolates all aspects of the supply chain. For example, a potential customer is browsing for a product in a specific geography – the data from this interaction can now find its way back to the start of the supply chain and stores in that area can be stocked intuitively. This is just one process that has appeared as smart devices have become part of the furniture of everyday life.”
The comments from WWT Asynchrony Labs come as the mobile development wing of $9bn systems integrator World Wide Technology prepare to launch their first lab in the UK at the beginning of July. The company, which helps enterprises take hold of the opportunities of mobility, is part of Apple’s Mobility Partner Programme.