We were pretty excited when we found out that iOS 8 is introducing app suggestions based on a persons exact location. With over 1.2 million apps in the iTunes App Store alone, getting your app found and downloaded is becoming more and more challenging. Enter Apple’s location-based app suggestions. The new iOS 8 feature presents app suggestions on your locked iPhone screen based on your location. The suggestions include apps that you already have installed on your phone as well as popular apps in the App Store.
The new feature is essentially an extension of Apple’s “Popular Near Me” feature in iOS 7, which brings up a list of popular apps based on your location. However, the success of the Popular Near Me feature is questionable, given users are required to have the App Store app open to view the list (which is unlikely if for example you’re shopping in a store). The new iOS 8 feature takes it one step further by presenting an icon on the phone’s lock screen.
Some MacRumors readers have seen location-based app icons presented on screen while at popular location such as Starbucks and the Apple Store. A Twitter user who did not have the Costco app installed had the app icon pop up when at local Costco, which took him directly to the App Store where he could download the app. It seems as though the feature isn’t limited to major retailers either, with another Twitter user reporting that they’ve also seen an app for a nearby train station on their lock screen.
This latest feature is a big win for the iBeacon community given having an app with wide distribution is required to run a successful iBeacon program. Without a decent app user base, you’ll likely to collect only a small sample of data and reach a small audience with your proximity based experiences. This latest feature opens up a new way to reach your potential app users at the right time and place.
Imagine arriving at a museum, being prompted to download the app on your lock screen, choosing a self guided tour, receiving step by step directions and being presented with augmented content about each piece along the way. Or perhaps you’ve just pulled up to an airport and are prompted to download the Emirates app. After downloading, you are automatically asked to check-in and as you enter the boarding lounge area your boarding pass is automatically presented on screen.
There’s no doubt this new feature presents an amazing opportunity for locations or stores with apps to drive downloads. For now Apples hasn’t release many details but as we get closer to the public release of iOS 8 we’re expecting to hear more from Apple on this exciting new location-based feature. In the meantime, we suggest checking whether your app already features in the “Popular Near Me” section of the App Store. If it’s not, start promoting your app and driving downloads. We expect popular apps to be the ones that benefit most from this feature.