Will the iPhone X mark the spot where mobile marketing changes?

The upcoming launch of Apple’s AirPower wireless chargers is one of several opportunities to create unique value-driven experiences as banner blindness persists.

At the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, smartphone makers from Samsung to Huawei, LG and HTC tried to get consumers excited about the next generation of devices, and some, such as Asus, clearly received inspiration from Apple’s iPhone X. Despite reports that sales for the high-end phone are missing the mark so far, this hasn’t kept forward-thinking mobile marketers from talking about a name that wasn’t in Barcelona — Apple — and how the iPhone X may be paving the way for new mobile engagements.

With Apple’s AirPower wireless charger rumored to be shipping this month, one sometimes overlooked detail in the iPhone X launch was Apple’s decision to support Qi, a standard that allows devices to be charged wirelessly. Marketers could harness wireless charging to create unique value in segments like quick-service restaurants (QSRs), according to Ben Phillips, global head of mobile at MediaCom in London, U.K.

“Imagine if you go into a McDonald’s and all of the benches have low-frequency charging underneath. That can be the driving factor of choosing one QSR versus the other,” Phillips told Mobile Marketer.

Much like consumers’s need to sign into a portal to use a coffee shop or retailer’s Wi-Fi, Phillips said brands might be able to similarly request information in exchange for offering them free wireless charging. Apps could also be created to push notifications to iPhone X users when their device has reached 5% battery life and suggest the nearest place to recharge, among other helpful experiences. With ad blocking and banner blindness continuing to undermine mobile ad strategies, unique engagements like these should be a focus for marketers.

More than an AR device

Released last fall, the iPhone X introduced a vertical 12-megapixel dual-camera and a feature called “portrait lighting,” which suppresses lighting to the subject’s face. It also gives consumers the opportunity create 4K video at 24, 30 or 60 frames per second (fps) and the option to shoot in 1080p at 60 or 30 fps.

From a marketing standpoint, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller has suggested these features mean the iPhone X is “specially tuned” for experiences involving augmented reality (AR), from seeing how a piece of furniture might look in the home to more creative selfie videos with its Clips editing app.

“Imagine if you go into a McDonald’s and all of the benches have low-frequency charging underneath. That can be the driving factor of choosing one QSR versus the other.”

Ben Phillips

Global head of mobile, MediaCom

However, industry experts argue that AR might only be the low-hanging fruit as they look at some of the other potential capabilities the iPhone X can offer brands. For example, a viral short film by Apple in China shot entirely on the iPhone X underscores the phone’s storytelling capabilities. The robust experiences possible on the smartphone could also prove to be a boon to anyone hoping to drive mobile conversions, as research shows that iPhone X owners spent 2x more than other mobile holiday shoppers.