Thursday, August 6, 2015

Apple Is Making Apps for Android - Why Now and What Apps or Services We Like To See from Apple

When asked about iTunes on Windows, Steve Jobs said it was like giving someone in hell a glass of cold water or something to that effect.  Well, it does look like the Apple under Tim Cook realizes that Android with such a large market share globally is too much a market to ignore. 

We'll talk why Apple is doing this now and what apps we like to see migrate from iOS to Android.  First, why now?

Well, as well as Apple is doing financially, it does want to do better and the low hanging fruits are fewer and harder to find.  It's why Apple has moved into new markets like the wearable with the Apple Watch and the rumored look into the auto industry.  Still, as far as the mobile market is concerned, we are not even at half time yet.  So, Tim Cook is looking towards Android.

When Apple introduced the iPod, it did well but it did not really take off until Apple made iTunes available on Windows, allowing Windows users to enjoy using the most popular MP3 player in the world.  And while Apple made billions from the iPod family, the halo effect on other Apple products and services were not to be ignored.  We'll come back to services.

So, let's focus on the halo effect first.  The iPhone became such a financial success largely on the back of the iPod - the good will generated from the iPod allowed mobile warriors to consider the iPhone.  If the iPhone is as good as the iPod in their pockets, then they should give it a look. And now, hundreds of millions of iPhone users agree.  And on top of that, this good will that was transferred to the iPhone is now being transferred to the Apple Watch.  And who knows what other future Apple products will benefit simply because it's from Apple.  Had the iPod been a flop for whatever reason, well, then it's likely the iPhone would have met the market with a greater deal if suspicion and skepticism. 

By sell affluent and middle-class Android users on Apple apps and services, that could generate enough halo effect that when it comes time to upgrade their devices, they might consider the iPhone or iPad now that they have had a taste of Apple's ecosystem.  We are probably talking about iTunes stores and Apple Music to start.  Perhaps, even iCloud apps and services as well.  And if these Android users become iPhone converts, maybe they'll move deeper into Apple's open arms and embrace the Macs and Apple Watch or the iCar.

Now we come to services.  Apple has been making a bigger hay about its services sector.  And with the 11 million possible Apple Music subscribers along with a growing app revenue, Apple is looking at making a serious chunk of cash from content only.  This is all before the Apple TV service that is looking less and less like an unicorn and more of a real deal.  Perhap by Christmas, Apple's services revenue could be leaps and bounds beyond what anyone on Wall Street is expecting. 

Now, if you can add a few million of the global Android market to pay for Apple services, that is a serious chunk of cash. 

The only argument is to what degree is Apple willing to offer Android users its apps and services and what its motives are.  The motives are laid out above - halo and to generate paying customers for services. But Apple's model to balance between giving Android users just enough to get a taste of the iOS side of things or whether it is happy with just Android users paying for services is debatable. 

The thing is that switching from one ecosystem to another can be an expensive proposition.  For some, its a no-brainer.  After investing a lot of money on content and buying apps, forget about it.  For others just starting out or have yet to buy too much into the Android system (or iOS), making a switch involves very little to no sacrifice.  Apple maybe just be planting the seed for that. 

Looking great for Apple, right?  In a great position to steal users from Google? Not necessarily.  Google has offered apps for the iOS for years, locking tens of millions of iPhone and iPad users into its services.  For iOS users who are heavily reliant on Google services and are considering a move to Android, it's an easier decision to make.  In fact, with Android apps more natively integrated Google services than on iOS, it would benefit them immensely.  In light of this, some might consider Apple creating apps for Android users a defensive move.

Whatever the reasons are for Apple, one thing is clear.  Competition is great on any platform especially with a deep-pocketed player like Apple.  

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