Content, technologies, ecosystems, design, security and privacy: the magic ingredients of the giant’s new strategy.
This week, Apple announced to the world a host of new services, in live streaming: Apple Arcade (the world’s first gaming subscription service), Apple Card (credit card), Apple TV+ (movies, series & documentaries), Apple News+ (over 300 magazines). This hyper-aggressive offensive, and obviously very well oiled, lays the foundations for the next Apple. Apple, which is seeing hardware sales stagnate and even decline, is turning massively to content and related services :
Whether through magazines (with trophies like the Wall Street Journal or the LA Times), TV streaming (stars, and more stars: Oprah Winfrey, Kumail Nanjiani, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg, etc.), gaming (Where Cards Fall, The Pathless, Hot Lava), they went after the most qualitative content possible; and they went to great lengths to produce original programming, with expenditures of more than $1 billion since October 2017.. in order to kick in the network effect… New programs are being announced, created especially for the occasion, on hot topics such as diversity, gender equality, disability, stress and harassment at work. Content is now a highly strategic economic stake, and Apple intends to claim its share of the cake.
At the cutting edge of technology
Machine learning, mentioned several times, allows highly sophisticated recommendation algorithms on all platforms; augmented reality technologies give depth and movement to magazines for a unique experience. Using flow dynamics, 3D dioramas, offer an amazing gaming experience. And then of course AI, for example to clearly and visually identify your credit card transactions (replace the incomprehensible lines of your bank statement with the logo of the brands where the purchases were made, and all of a sudden, your statements become clear); cyber security, encryption, a pinch of blockchain, mix it all together for an explosive mix. And all this is supported by an Edge Computing decentralized architecture. To say that Apple ticks almost all the boxes of future technological trends is a euphemism.
Platforms & ecosystems
Here we are, faced with a new example of a business model pivot towards platform models. From a linear supply chain model, we move onto a complex model of content aggregation ecosystems: and the one that orchestrates the ecosystem, which is at the heart of the business and technological platform, captures most of the value; Apple has made no mistake about it; they are taking heads-on the orchestration of 4 new ecosystems: magazines, gaming, TV and payments. Of course, they had been pioneers on this model with iTunes, but since then, technology has drastically evolved, so have market models, as well as consumer habits; and Apple has the power to reach those new el dorados. Platform against platform, they take on the existing ecosystems of Netflix or Amazon for example. As for payments, GoldmanSachs and Mastercard, which have joined this new Apple ecosystem, have played their cards right.
And again, design; but this is not a surprise, coming from the Apple brand. Platform design, application design, credit card design… Honestly, the card is so beautiful that you’d like to open an account just to get it… Banks are already rising up to explain that this card is nothing new, and this may be true from a pure transaction point of view, but from a design point of view, we are quite far from what exists on the market. From there to ditching my Samsung for an iPhone just to get the card? Who knows…. In short, on this point, Apple is where we expect it.
Privacy & security
“Apple does not collect your data” ; “Apple doesn’t know what you’re looking at, what you’re playing at, or what you’re buying.” The message is hammered. A clear desire to stand out from the GFAM crowd, and they are the first to use this as a sales argument; they explain that by keeping the algorithms close to the device (iPad, iPhone, appletv…) the data is not coming back to Apple, who therefore has no visibility on your preferences and consumption. This attention to security and privacy is a sign of times, and Edge Computing allows this from a technical point of view. That being said, I would be surprised if Apple saw absolutely nothing of what is happening on the periphery of its IT architecture: how will they target the content that consumers expect, if they don’t know what is being watched. In addition, there is nothing to prevent Apple’s partners from collecting your data: for example, Goldman Sachs and Mastercard are legally obliged to collect them anyway. Now let’s wait for Amazon and Netflix, for banks, for Comcast, and all the other major players in these ecosystems to react … Ah, and we will still have to wait to get all this in Europe. The first services will only be available in England in the fall of 2019. And so much for Brexit, there is still no date for the rest of the old continent. Any comments? Any questions? Debate will help progress! #prospective #technology #ecosystems #newmodels #content