It’s interesting how many commentators are looking at services as Apple’s next big thing in light of recent announcements. The fact that Apple Music works on Alexa is an indicator as is iTunes coming to Samsung and other TVs which suggests that hardware may not be the main financial driver in certain areas going forward.
The problem is, however, that Apple has a lot of catching up to do because the current offerings do not offer enough to make people move over, and in some cases they just don’t work. Let’s take a look at each in turn-
You don’t me to tell you how flaky Siri is and how much catching up it has to do. The argument that privacy limits its reach is valid, but in my experience it isn’t improving much at all and never has. The likes of Google and Amazon are way ahead, but maybe Siri isn’t a huge financial driver though.
I still use Dropbox and only pay for extra iCloud for backups for myself and my family. The limitations in iCloud, and for some the lack of obvious features, is holding it back. This in theory could be changed quite easily.
Apple Music is an example of a service that easily competes with the likes of Google and Spotify. It is the one offering that stands up and is level on features, performance and price.
Film / TV
iTunes is dead to anyone who is not embedded deeply into Apple. Netflix offers streaming of a huge amount of content, Amazon Prime offers streaming and the purchasing / rentals of iTunes for a highly competitive price, and the likes of Hulu etc also compete very well. Apple is paying a lot for future content, but it is ‘late’ in a big way to something it effectively started.
So, Apple’s services arguably do not sell the hardware in every way the company wants them to. A new iPhone user will likely already be using Netflix or Amazon for film, Spotify for music and Dropbox if they have file management needs.
It is hard to see how Apple moves forward here because if the company aims to add its services to every platform the hooks are gone to the Apple hardware. And if the hooks are gone will people pay the extra just for nice hardware and a smoother operating system? It’s a catch 22 and one that Apple will have to think very carefully about, but it needs to do it now.