The market for mobile apps has grown exponentially ever since the first iPhone was launched nearly two decades ago. Today, hundreds of millions of people across the planet rely on apps to solve their most basic problems, inquire about topics, and automate certain aspects of their day-day life. 

The foundation of the app eco-system lies on the way it is delivered to the consumer. Apple, arguably the most innovative company of the century, continuously upgrades its infrastructure. Moreover, the last several years saw Apple release an amazing array of product features that aim to eliminate any friction and negative user experiences with respect to mobile app downloads from their App Store. Features such as Apple Pay and Sign Up with Apple are hinting at the beginning of a whole new generation of the app eco-system. 

Let us think back to when the Apple Store first came to fruition. Mobile Apps were slowly making their way onto the newly released iPod Touch and the first few iPhones. non-cloud infrastructure and low cell phone memory capacity gave users a restraint on how many apps they can download at once. As we are approaching the new age of 5G internet speed, the gap between the experience and time on Apple platforms will be bridged with speed. 

Steve Jobs introducing the App Store in 2008

How does Apple plan to bridge the gap between experiencing an app and the time it takes to download an app?

Welcome App Clips

App clips are an amazing way for users to quickly access and experience what your app has to offer… without downloading it! Essentially, app clips will act as a free trial to an app before downloading it. The concept of app clips is a game changer for mobile apps because they are a phenomenal way for businesses to acquire more users, fast!

App Clips Are … Clips (Trailers)!

Scene clip from Starwars #TheForceAwakens

App clips are like a movie trailer. For example, when you scroll around on your Netflix app and try to find that one movie of the night you will watch, simply putting your mouse over the title will generate an automatic trailer. Moreover, Netflix will now stream the movie for you automatically if your mouse is kept over the title long enough.

Similarly, an app clip provides users the ability to experience the app without downloading it. It acts as a warm introduction to the contents of the app, the user interface design (UI) and user experience design (UX), its features, and their respective functionalities, and much more!

How Apps Will Benefit from App Clips?

1. App Clips Accelerate User Acquisition

An app clip however is not to be confused with the entirety of an app; it is a small part of an app developed in the same Xcode as the full app. It is made small for one simple reason: make it extremely fast for users to open the app, no matter if they previously downloaded the app before or not.

It removes any friction and negative experiences associated with malfunctioning app downloads. In other words, it gives app developers, businesses, and platforms the opportunity to acquire more users, fast and cost-efficiently. 

2. Promote Your App’s Value, Seamlessly

App clips will provide an opportunity for businesses, social networks, and app tools to showcase their value immediately. Thus, it is essential that your user interface is appealing, interactive, and has a clear Call to Action (CTA) to download the app at the appropriate time!

According to Apple, an “ideal app clip experience allows users to open and complete a task in seconds”. Moreover, throughout the clip experience, you can require that the user input certain information and seamlessly transition that information when they download the full app! That way, the user avoids any redundancies related to user information, consent, etc. Good for business, good for users!

3. App Clips are Easily Discoverable

App clips are also ingenious in the way you will be able to discover them! App clips will contain codes, like a bar scan but with an aesthetically pleasing interface. That way, you will know when an app clip is available and you can simply discover your app without downloading it. Each app clip contains a URL and incorporates an NFC tag, so the code can be scanned by your camera. 

6 Distinct App Clip Discovery Methods: 

Apple revealed 6 different types of discovery methods you would be able to discover your app with:

  1. NFC Tags: Users will simply have to press their iPhone on NFC tags that you place at specific locations to launch an app clip, even from the lock screen.
  1. QR Codes: Place QR codes at specific locations to let users launch an app clip by scanning the code with the Camera app. 
  1. Safari App Banner: When your webpage is configured with a Smart App Banner for app clips, users can just tap to open it from there. 
  1. Links in Messages: You can share with friends app clips via iMessage, and your friends can open the app clip right from their message.
  1. Place Cards in Maps: You can associate your app clip with a specific location, that way users can access the clip in the Maps app.
  2. Recently Used App Clips: App Clips don’t clutter the Home Screen, but recently used App Clips can be found and launched from the Recents category of the new App Library.

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