How Apple can take advantage of iPhone makeover mania

The people have spoken. Apps like Widgetsmith and Color Widgets sit at the top of the App Store charts. iOS 14 has provided users with the ability to customize the look of their devices like never before.

Apple’s not dumb. It has to be considering how it can take advantage of this trend. It’s got a bunch of options, and I have a few ideas.

Why should Apple care?

Now, you may be saying to yourself, why does it matter to Apple that people are using iOS 14 widgets and custom shortcuts to make over their iPhones? These are trivialities and Apple should be focused on matters of substance.

emojis Emojipedia

An emoji update may seem trivial, but a lot of people update iOS just to get them.

I’ve got news for you: What you consider a triviality, Apple considers an opportunity. Consider Apple’s annual release of new emojis, which generally happens in the fall as a part of the point-one release of the newest version of iOS. Apple unveils the emojis in the summer on World Emoji Day, and makes a big deal out of the eventual iOS release, because it knows that people will update their phones so they can use (and see) the new emojis. It’s a lever to drive adoption of the newest version of iOS, and that’s important to Apple.

And in recent years, Apple has added other fun features to iOS and used them as additional motivators. New Animoji characters and new Memoji styles can potentially drive people to update their devices, too.

Not everyone is motivated by the latest and greatest operating-system productivity features. Apple wants everyone to update. Offering emojis and animojis and memojis are a way to do it. It turns out that adding other customization features might be another powerful tool for Apple to use.

Give the users more control

What should Apple be focusing on in future software updates? To start, it needs to give users more power and control over the look and feel of devices.

Take custom app icons. Right now you can build custom icons to make your iPhone beautiful, but only via an ugly workaround—namely, creating a single-step Shortcut that launches an app, and saving that Shortcut to the home screen with a custom icon. (Then you hide the real app in App Library.)