11 June 2015

Beyond Devices: “Expanding Apple services on non-Apple devices”

However, there are still several hundred million iPhone users who don’t own or use Macs on a daily basis, many of whom do use Windows PCs, either by choice or because work, cost constraints, or other reasons require them to. This Windows + iPhone group is actually substantially bigger than the Mac + iPhone group Apple has spent so much time serving, probably around three hundred million or more:

Windows plus iPhone diagram

In an ideal world, Apple would have these Windows + iPhone users become Mac + iPhone users over time, but that isn’t a realistic scenario for a variety of reasons, especially in the short term. So, how does Apple serve these users?

Jan Dawson

Being in this user group myself, I do appreciate the sentiment – in fact I expressed a similar dissatisfaction with Apple’s approach last year. But realistically I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon. And I don’t think I mind very much. The fact is, software is not that exciting, usable yes, even beautiful, competent in most cases, but no better than average. For each default app on iOS there are dozens of alternatives, pushing Apple’s solutions into the ‘Junk Drawer’. Should I expect Apple to build good Windows software when apps built for their own platform are lagging behind competitors or simplified versions of better, former products?

Also, if you look at product sales, there’s no real indication that the ‘software platform’ has sustained a synergy for hardware: while sales are continuing their upward trend, Macs have stagnated for years, and the iPad is falling after a sharp boom. Why would Apple invest resources into serving desktop users of a competing platform in the vague hope they will switch to Macs? Most of the projected growth will be in mobile and in emerging economies like China, where many have never owned a PC.

Nevertheless, the newly-announced Music will be cross-platform – because, seriously, who would pay for a streaming app that only works on Apple devices? (although Android users don’t get a free version). And there’s a surprise Android-to-iOS migration app:

Not mentioned at all in the keynote: there’s a whole new app for migrating from Android to iOS. (The second of Apple’s Android apps.) Download it onto your Android device and it wirelessly and securely moves “contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books.” It’ll even scan for apps you’ve installed on Android and suggest you download iOS counterparts for free apps, like Facebook or Twitter, and add paid apps to your Wish List. Shades of Migration Assistant. This will also, I imagine, be super helpful to Apple Store personnel helping new iPhone users set up their handsets.

Dan Moren

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