No Matter How Many Services Apple Releases, It's Still About The iPhone
Dhir Acharya - Mar 30, 2019, 6:00 am IST
“Video streaming is not going to save shares of [Apple] if the iPhone market declines.”
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After all, Apple can’t give up on its iPhone.
During its Show Time event held on Monday, the tech giant constantly emphasized that its devices work wonderfully on its flagship phone.
Regarding Apple News+, the company has designed the magazines to take advantage of the iPad or iPhone, featuring animated covers as well as automatic content download for more convenience.
Meanwhile, Apple Arcade will offer users of Apple devices unlimited access to over 100 new, exclusive games. “You won't find these games on any other mobile platform or any other subscription service,” said App Store’s senior product manager Ann Thai.
Then we have the Apple Card for which users have to pay no fees. About the virtual-physical credit card, Apple Pay’s head Jennifer Bailey said, “It can do all sorts of things no other credit card can do.”
Furthermore, the TV app will come to iPads, Macs, and iPhone, for sure. The app is announced to house a lot of streaming services, excluding Netflix, and offer suggestions for what to watch next. “Everything you saw is amazing on iPhone”, said Apple’s VP of services Peter Stern. According to the Cupertino-based company, the app will feature on smart TVs of LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio as well as Amazon and Roku’s streaming boxes.
Although the company didn’t reveal where to roll out its Apple TV+ service, it may be similar to the TV app which features on smart TVs, MacOS, and iOS.
But launching services doesn’t hide a truth that Apple is, forever, the iPhone company.
The whole event was about unveiling short details only. Except for Apple News+, none of the others is available right away. What to note here is that, while Apple claims its goal to become a service powerhouse, it remains the iPhone company at heart.
In fact, over 60 percent of its revenues are from the iPhone, which has also helped push it to become the first trillion-dollar firm in the US. However, relying on iPhones to make profits has shown downside since users are taking longer to upgrade their handset devices. Hence, the tech giant lost its place and didn’t even meet its goal for quarterly iPhone sales.
The company has since discovered an opportunity in offering services to attract those who prefer to watch TV shows, play games, or read the news on their mobile devices. While the company hardly has to spend any effort to convince current Apple users into using its services, its Windows and Android users that it’s aiming at.
However, the tech giant didn’t mention Windows or Android devices when introducing its services nor did it say whether its TV content is accessible via a desktop web browser or not. A spokesperson of the company said there was no further to share than what happened on the stage.
Regarding this, Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at Technalysis Research, said that consumers have got used to watching the content of whatever devices they are using, and it’s not Apple all the time.
Tiptoeing outside the walled garden
There are clues telling us that the iPhone maker may not remain a completely walled garden for a long time. Apple has developed an iTunes version for Windows computers, which has proved to be a smart move, showing jumps in downloads since the launch in late 2003, around half a year after the launch on Macs.
Nevertheless, apart from Apple Music, the other services from the company have stayed in its closed ecosystem. Apple released its Apple Music app to Android users with a beta version before the official broad launch. In December, it brought its Apple Music to Amazon Echo speakers, which means users can tell Alexa to play songs via Apple’s music streaming service.
Unfortunately, the Android version of the app appears to work worse than the iOS version and Android devices new features much later than iOS users, like months or year behind.
At CES 2019, Apple partnered with Samsung to offer its TV streaming service iTunes TV. Meanwhile, other firms such as Sony, LG, and Vizio will let users access the streaming content via iPads, iPhones, and Macs to watch on their TVs.
At the Show Time event, the tech giant went further by landing its redesigned TV app on Samsung smart TVs first, then on LG, Vizio, Sony, Roku, and Amazon. However, that seems all of it so far, no expansion to Android or Windows for now.
Around 85 percent of global smartphones run Android, and missing this huge user base may shut Apple off from catching the big fish. Also, over 50 percent of tablets around the world run Android while more than 85 percent of laptops and desktop computers run Windows.
If the company is serious about pursuing this strategy, it’d better expand its services to rival devices.
However, no matter how much Apple does with the services, it’s core is still in the iPhone and it’ll go on for another while.
“Apple remains the iPhone company,” noted Colin Gillis, an analyst at Chatham Road Partners, “Video streaming is not going to save shares of [Apple] if the iPhone market declines.”