Steven C. Wyer | Forthcoming Apple iOS Updates Benefit Developers and Users

The Apple developer community is celebrating the recent announcement that iOS 10.3 will allow product owners to respond to customer reviews through the app store. This, according to Steven C. Wyer of Nashville’s Third Coast Interactive, Inc., an online marketing and digital branding firm.

Through Google Play, Android developers have long been able to respond to both positive and negative customer feedback. iOS 10.3, which is currently in beta, also allows developers to solicit reviews in new, albeit limited, ways, says Steven C. Wyer.

Steven C. Wyer notes common complaints regarding Apple’s ratings and review system describe the app store platform as antiquated compared to Android’s user-friendly digital store. The current iOS bars developers from responding to negative reviews, which are frequently unwarranted, explains Steven C. Wyer. Customers often misunderstand certain features or voice complaints about a known bug that is then addressed in later releases. Previously, once these reviews were posted, developers had no way of refuting information or providing helpful tips to frustrated customers. This missing ability, says Steven C. Wyer, may have discouraged app developers from releasing new products.

According to Steven C. Wyer, having a way to quickly and publicly respond to criticism within the app store may encourage other customers to download the app. Steven C. Wyer notes that public comments in response to customer queries are helpful to other customers reading reviews to see if others have had similar issues. This is a win-win for all, working to a developer’s benefit by demonstrating they are listening and willing to react and resolve issues. Steven C. Wyer says this is important in an era where apps are often created and subsequently abandoned. Customers appreciate communication, which lets them know the app remains supported.

Another big change specific to review solicitation is coming in iOS 10.3, reports Steven C. Wyer. As the new API is introduced, developers will have the option to request reviews via an in-app rating system. Currently, and to the annoyance of many users, reviewers are directed to the app store, meaning the user has to exit the application, log into the app store, then leave a review before returning to the app. Steven C. Wyer posits that a less intrusive review system is likely to result in more positive reviews.

With the API, app developers can now specify when users are prompted to review the app. Steven C. Wyer notes that Apple has also now limited developers to asking for a review to three times per year. Once the consumer leaves feedback, they can’t be asked again. For users who simply don’t want to be bothered, Steven C. Wyer says iOS settings may allow for app review notifications to be disabled.

A number of other changes in 10.3, such as advanced Siri integration within the most popular apps, make this one of the most anticipated software update for developers in Apple history, says Wyer.

Steven C. Wyer expects that 10.3 will remain in beta for up to two months before being released publicly via a downloadable update.

Posted on February 10th, 2017
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