How Apple’s WWDC Announcements Affect Public Libraries

Apple has kicked off its 2017 World Wide Developers Conference. As the announcements roll in, let’s look at how they affect public libraries.

iOS 11 Coming this Fall

As in the past, a new operating system will result in some number of library patrons needing help navigating the change. If your library offers book-a-librarian, tech help, or some form of by-appointment reference assistance, expect an uptick in use. Among even the stablest of releases, there tends to be bugs that appear once large-scale downloading of a new operating system begins. When these bugs arise among your patrons, you can rely on the Apple Support Community for both documentation and solutions.

In addition to by-appointment help, plan on offering iPad/iPhone classes in a classroom setting. Sample offerings could include:

  • iPad/iPhone Basics: ensure that registrants have updated their device to iOS 11 as a prior to the class.
  • Navigating the App Store: iOS 11 features a redesign of the App Store which can be jarring for the non-techie.
  • Taking Photos/Videos: iOS 11 has a number of added features, including improved compression (allowing for more photos & longer videos), the ability to create live photo loops, new photo editing tools and long exposure effects.

As a final consideration, examine your handouts, website, and other help materials involving your digital collection. A redesign of the App Store will mean the visual guides you provide on how to get your library’s app, eBook app, etc. may require updating.

Augmented Reality for iPhone & iPad

Apple is introducing the ARKit, which will become the largest augmented reality platform in the world. With native support for augmented reality, expect a massive increase in AR app development and an improved experience overall. What does this mean for libraries? Certainly a resurgence in Pokémon GO, as its AR experience is central to its popularity. Augmented reality picture books could find more of a home in your collection. For the adventurous librarian, local history experiences stand to benefit from an AR makeover!

WatchOS 4:

As with the iPad/iPhone, the Apple Watch will also be seeing a new operating system. With WatchOS 4, wearable tech will continue the movement towards the “internet of the body,” where the watch will function as a hub of connected tech with health/fitness applications, including gym equipment. With these new features, your patrons may find they own a device that they are under-utilizing–offer a program that shows them what they’re missing!

As always, new technologies will excite many and frustrate some. Let’s resolve to blaze new trails while helping those who find themselves falling behind!

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