16 minutes News

16 Minutes on the News #35: Apple App Clips, Program the World!

Dan Frommer, Connie Chan, and Sonal Chokshi

Posted June 28, 2020

A number of features were announced at Apple’s WWDC/ Worldwide Developers Conference this week, but this episode of 16 Minutes on the News focuses on just one: Apple’s “App Clips” coming to iOS14. Because App Clips — small, lightweight, fast, parts of a full app that can quickly execute just one specific action for users in context, when and where they need them — and App Clip Codes — stickers that encode a URL and incorporate an NFC tag so the code can be scanned by camera, much like QR codes — are part of a growing trend. Other examples include Snap Minis, announced at Snap’s recent Partner Summit (and which we discussed on 16 Minutes last week in the context of messaging/ HTML5 games); Google’s Instant Apps (2018); and We Chat’s Mini Programs in China (2017).

Such mini-apps are sort of like bookmarks or shortcuts to digital destinations dropped all over our physical world, connecting online to offline through smartphone. But what are they, really? What are the use cases for businesses and brands big and small; where do (and don’t) the parallels to WeChat apply; and what are the broader implications for discovery, super apps, and the future of context-aware computing… especially when more mainstream AR glasses arrive to, er, augment smartphones?

But: people have also been talking about this kind of thing for decades… is this time really different? We discuss in this week’s episode with with a16z general partner Connie Chan and special guest Dan Frommer — former editor in chief at Recode and founder and publisher of The New Consumer — in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi.

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