Apple’s various additions to iOS 8 mean we’re going to see a big shift come September, in terms of what’s available to both consumers and developers, but the group that should be most excited might be marketers and others trying to get users buying things on and with their devices. A few of the new features in iOS 8 make it much easier to shop on and with your iPhone, and since Apple already has a mobile user base that’s shown its willingness to spend, that’s very big news.
One such feature was uncovered through the beta late last week: with iOS 8, the iPhone’s camera can snap pics of credit cards to automatically populate credit card information fields in Safari. That means no more arduous copying out of your card number, cardholder name and expiration date every time you want to complete a transaction online – instead it’s a single-click thanks to optical character recognition, and it works automatically with existing web forms, so there’s no work required on the part of web devs.
That’s only one of the new features that could lead to increased ecommerce activity on iOS 8-powered devices; previously, we saw how iOS 8 can use indoor positioning systems to direct shoppers within a large retail environment. And Continuity can play a big role in helping purchases take place online, too – Handoff lets a user move from doing something on their phone to completing it on the desktop, and vice versa, and that includes a browsing session. You can easily imagine how that might work with shopping online, as a user browses on their device and then moves to the web to do more in-depth research, or shifts back to the iPhone to take advantage of credit card scanning to complete the check-out.
Apple has a lot more going on in iOS 8 besides these changes, but they make it just that much easier for those trying to use mobile devices to encourage sales and commerce activity. It’s still unclear what, if any kind of mobile commerce push Apple will make itself – we’ve heard rumors about iTunes becoming a platform for much broader types of payments for a while now – but in the meantime, it’s clear it still wants to be the best mobile platform for those looking to drive pay-based engagement.