The Future Of Apple Is Playing Well With Others

As Apple expands its service offerings, the company’s attitude toward working with partners is shifting.

Apple is not known for being the most globally-minded company. For the majority of its existence, it has projected an aura of indifference, bordering on ignorance, toward what occurs outside its walls. Apple has always maintained a carefully cultivated image of being in a league of its own, eschewing the need to monitor the activities of its potential competitors.

Even when it has deigned to work with others, Apple generally presented an attitude of doing this as a favor to its partners, bestowing some small iota of the Apple brand and mojo upon them. (Remember its deals with Motorola and HP in the 2000s?) There is no better example than the porting of iTunes to Windows, which was arguably one of Apple’s best business decisions, as it brought the iPod to millions of PC users. Steve Jobs famously, if impolitely, described the move as “giving someone in hell a glass of ice water.”

However, there are indications that Apple’s attitude toward its business partners is changing, thanks to one word: services. The Apple of today is betting big on services for its future, and in many cases, those services mean relying on (or at least, taking advantage of) partnerships with other companies—even putative rivals.

The AirPlay’s the thing

The Consumer Electronics Show held last week is a prime example. Apple’s partnership with four prominent TV manufacturers will bring AirPlay 2 to a substantial portion of the TV market and, for the first time, enable access to iTunes video content from a non-Apple device, including Samsung’s smartphones.

Why would Cupertino act in this manner? Apple’s forthcoming video-streaming service is your best bet. If the future of Apple’s business relies heavily on services, then the company should make its services accessible on as many platforms as possible. Previously, Apple’s services were primarily used to drive its more profitable hardware sales, but the company has realized the benefits of recurring revenue.

Moreover, if the alternative is to tell consumers, “You can watch these great new shows on your Macs and iOS devices, but if you want it on your big screen, you’ll have to pay $180 for this specific set-top box, in addition to whatever you spent on your TV, which yes, has its streaming apps, just not ours,” it’s not hard to imagine that they may be hesitant to sign up for Apple’s TV service.

But if Apple’s video content could be easily viewed on an existing smart TV via an app or, failing that, via AirPlay to the TV, then many more people would become potential customers.

HomeKit is where it’s at

Until recently, smart home technology appeared to be primarily aimed at the nerdy among us. However, options such as smart bulbs, smart locks, and smart appliances have begun to make their way into the mainstream, albeit gradually.

With HomeKit, Apple has created a framework for the vast majority of smart home devices it does not manufacture. Apple TV and HomePod are the only Apple-made devices that appear in the Home app, but you can’t do much with them. For HomeKit to be successful, it requires partners that develop smart home devices. And with Amazon and Google offering viable alternative ecospheres, Apple had to work to make its system appealing to developers.

This has required some adjustment on Apple’s part, most notably the elimination of a cumbersome and costly hardware authentication requirement for devices. This made it much simpler and less expensive for other developers to create HomeKit-compatible devices, thereby significantly expanding the market. Many of the TVs that support AirPlay 2 will also support HomeKit to some degree, allowing you to at least control compatible devices with Siri.

Face the music

The announcement that Apple would bring Apple Music to Android came as a shock to most people. A few years later, it’s unclear exactly how many Apple Music users are on the competing platform; perhaps the best you can say is that there are more than if Apple hadn’t made the service available on Android.

In retrospect, this may be another glass of ice water in hell, but it was also the beginning of Apple’s forays outside of its ecosystem. Apple Music was recently added to the Amazon Echo, and support for other smart speakers is rumored to be forthcoming.

The guiding principle is a fundamental business tenet: you must go where the customers are. People who own smart speakers are likely in the market for a music streaming service, and if it also happens to be accessible on their other devices, so much the better. Ultimately, the greater number of platforms on which your services are accessible, the greater number of customers you can potentially attract. In the coming years, don’t be too surprised if Apple services begin to appear in a lot more places you might not have expected.

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The above article was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which consists of some of the most knowledgeable technical experts in the United States. Our team consists of highly regarded writers with vast experience in smartphones, computer components, technology apps, security, and photography, among other fields.

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