iOS 8: Connecting Business, Customers

Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 8 -- set to be released on September 17 -- has a number of features that are grabbing the attention of consumers. But beyond consumers, businesses are intrigued by the new update as well -- especially retailers and marketers who are trying to reach more customers.

For consumers, the free, software update for iPhones and iPads includes advanced messaging flexibility, ways to call up frequent text recipients with a series of taps, and newly automated photo editing and sharing features.

But businesses are excited about iOS 8 because it's built around the concept of integration. ItEUs compatible with Mac and iPhone, allowing easy switching between devices. It also has a Swype-like QuickType onscreen keyboard, support for third-party keyboards, and an iCloud Drive service that allows users to save files and automatically synch them across devices.

Versatility Leads the Way

That versatility means brands can implement their products and services into even more devices. As U.K. marketing executive George Gabriel noted in The Guardian, the new operating system should make it easier than ever for successful brands to connect with their customers on a personal level. Part of that connection will come via the Apple Watch, which has two health apps (Activity and Workout) that track measurements of usersEU daily fitness activity.

iOS 8 in some ways seems custom-built for mobile customer engagement, according to Gabriel. One developer platform, WatchKit will also let brands make their own apps for the Apple Watch. A BMW app will help drivers locate and check the charge status of their i3 cars. An app from Honeywell will allow users to control the temperatures inside their homes. Another app, from American Airlines, downloads a boarding pass into the Apple Watch.

"Products have never been closer to customers, and as the development of Apple...

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