"[T]his interactivity is not just limited to system apps," he writes in a recent blogpost. "Third-party developers can take advantage of this new capability as well, so you could comment on something on Facebook, respond to a tweet, or even check in on Foursquare. But others are going to be radical, stuff we haven't imagined yet."
Of course, if it can't be imagined yet, it's hard to be certain that it will actually be radical. More importantly, the real radicalism may lie in Apple's major improvements in iOS 8 (and OS X Yosemite) to its inter-process communications (XPC) APIs, which let developers create fine-grained services that handle specific tasks for an application, including interactions with other apps. [Daring Fireball's John Gruber has a short post about the XPC improvements.]
But in any case, iOS interactive notifications do create a new vector for interrelating users and apps and data. And businesses are already getting their own notifications about how important this change can be.
"There is an incredible amount of potential for businesses to improve their app's stickiness and drive continued engagement, even without having their end-users directly in the app," writes Kelly O'Regan, in a blogpost at Solstice Mobile, on "How iOS 8 Interactive Notifications Will Change Your Business." Solstice Mobile focuses on helping enterprises use mobile technology to "optimize engagements with their employees, customers, and partners."
O'Regan identifies several ways in which interactive notifications can create new interactions: enroll bank customers in a new cash-back bonus program, validate fraudulent activity, reload a Starbucks cash card, ask for simple direct feedback (about last night's dinner at a restaurant), or tell you that an item on your wish-list item just came back into stock and let you add it directly to your shopping cart without leaving your current app.
"Now is the time to start thinking about your business strategy for using interactive notifications," she encourages her prospects [emphasis in original].
That's true for any given company with a mobile app and a desire to cement its relationship to customers. But it raises the prospect of every company with a mobile app and desire to cement their relationship with their customers doing exactly the same thing.
Urban Airship's Hieggelke warns that companies have to not just think about using the new notifications but to think about them very carefully. "The penalties for 'bad push' are extreme," he says, referring to notifications that are irrelevant, badly timed, intrusive or all of the above. "Users can ignore you, shut you out, or delete your app. And deleting your app is the most likely reaction: it's real easy to delete the app compared to [the multiple steps of] going into the app and adjusting the settings."
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