Apple is a tastemaker, a pioneering force of cool, and it’s no coincidence that the tech giant has earned a spot as the most valuable brand in the world. Apple’s sleek aesthetic and lifestyle branding have amassed the company a cult following; keynotes like last week’s special presentation attract over a million viewers. The company that made the mp3 player and the smartphone into cultural staples is accustomed to setting the pace for consumer trends (how else does a thousand-dollar price tag for a smartphone fly?). When Apple talks, those in marketing and tech — Apple hypebeasts and cynics alike — should pay attention.

1. Augmented Reality is the future.

Apple’s back-end, developer-focused ARKit is designed to position iOS as a leader in hosting AR functionality. Developers demoed an AR game that transformed a barren table into a 3-dimensional battlescape. The keynote also saw AR integrated into data visualization apps that permit users to hold up their phone to a baseball field to see player stats and positions, or to hold a camera to the night sky to see labeled constellations. Still no iVRheadset headset. Here at ISL, we actively cultivate our AR capabilities because today’s creative agencies must stay ahead of the curve on AR (and VR).


2. We see you, Face ID.

The advanced facial recognition capabilities of the iPhone X have practical applications not only for device security. Despite the creep factor of corporations mining private individuals’ facial information, advertisers could soon know more than ever about consumer attention and sentiment. Smile at an ad? That smile could soon be another data point, offering advertisers information about implicit attitudes and emotions. We’ll see. Face ID could also be extremely valuable for UX teams at the user testing phase in understanding, for instance, the way that a user’s eye moves across a page.


3. We are closer than ever to carrying photography studios in our pockets.

The “highest quality ever in a smartphone” promises increasingly professional photo quality and features like Portrait Lighting, all in the palm of iPhone-8+-and-above users. Apple’s and Google’s rat race toward the #1 smartphone camera means great things for user-generated content. Even professional production studios stand to benefit from the improvements, too— after all, entire movies have been shot on iPhone.

4. Wearable tech is on the rise.

For agencies like ISL that have the engineering capacity to create physical devices, Apple Watch’s success indicates that consumers are comfortable taking their tech on the go. The declaration that the Apple Watch has become the “number one watch in the world” indicates an uptick in Internet-connected wearables. Developers might consider optimization across a wider array of devices, and design applications meant to be used on the go.

5. The poop emoji talks.

Static is boring. With the equally preposterous and inevitable rise of Animoji, we see a movement towards dynamic forms. Customizable content is king, and Face ID sees another repurposing here. Emojis came to rise as a visual addendum to text messaging, and now even emojis won’t just be still imagery. Advertisers and creatives need to consider the trend toward animated elements across all digital platforms and adapt accordingly.


6. Teach a man to fish; he eats for a lifetime. Teach a machine to fish and it still doesn’t need to eat.

Apple keynote drinking game: take a sip every time a speaker says “machine learning.” Siri has new and improved translation abilities, which makes her more articulate in more countries across the globe than you are. Will Siri take over the world? Elon Musk thinks AI should be regulated, and he knows what’s going on ten years before the rest of the world does. Programmers should think about how to integrate machine learning to expedite and automate functionality for the user without compromising on quality of experience.

7. VUI (Voice UI) design is a growing field.

A redesign for Siri emphasizes the burgeoning importance of digital personal assistants’ aesthetic experience, not only the quality of content and response. Siri has both a male and a female voice, and learns how to pronounce the same word with multiple different intonations so that his/her/its voice sounds less flat. Digital voice engineers are hard at work designing more pleasant user experiences, especially as digital personal assistants gain more and more utility.


8. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Proprietary design… not so proprietary these days? We’ve already seen Instagram Stories replicate the Snapchat experience and quickly garner more users than the original Snapchat Stories. Instagram’s own Boomerang might be getting a taste of its own thieving medicine with the intro of iPhone’s in-camera Loop feature. An ApplePay feature native to iMessage looks suspiciously like Venmo. Bad artists copy, good artists steal.

9. The presentation itself is a study in pitching.

Steve Jobs was a master orator (it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane– it’s both! It’s an iPhone!), and it seems as though he’s inspired a bit of that magic in subsequent Apple chiefs. The team at Apple knows how to create suspense and excitement throughout a presentation, and has the timing to pull it off. Agencies can take note of the keynote’s pared-down text content. The presentation always involves demos, plenty of dynamic multimedia integration, and impeccable timing to keep things moving at a clip and driving wins for the brand.