Have you ever opened up the standalone Apple Music app on an Android device and asked yourself, “I wish we could get something like this on iOS!” Oh, you haven’t? It must be because you’ve only ever experienced Apple Music on an iOS platform (or don’t use Apple Music). Well, let me be the first to tell you that the experience on Android is, in my opinion, better than it is on iOS.
This got me thinking — Apple should be considering bombarding Apple services onto Android.
Yes, Apple did sell less iPhones than they had year over year but was able to make more money because of the rising cost of iPhones. That’s not always going to happen nor is it the point. The point is that they could be making more money. That money could be made in bringing a few Apple apps (and a piece of hardware) over to the Android ecosystem… for a price.
Yes, there are a number of applications out there that you could use for cross-platform messaging. WhatsApp, Hangouts, Kik and Snapchat are obvious cross-platform applications. However, what many Apple enthusiasts would love to see is a way to continue iMessaging with their friends that happen to use a non-Apple phones or be able to utilize the built in messaging application on their laptop despite owning an Android phone. There are plenty of other use cases, like being able to allow people whose workplace strictly use iOS devices to continue conversations on their personal devices or enabling cross-platform message syncing on iOS, macOS and Android devices.
Apple could also expand it’s iMessage App Store to the Android version of iMessage to create an entirely new market of consumers that didn’t already have access to stickers and experiences. with having to have an additional app, as it could all be accomplished in-app.
What would be the sweet spot for Apple to charge for a service like this? I’ve thought about this for some time, as the price would have to be small enough where people would just pay for it and forget about the fee almost instantaneously but be enough to be part of a portfolio of Android experiences that would be their next billion dollar business. Two bucks a month would be the sweet spot for this. It’s just enough for people not to care that it’s a thing they’re paying for and adds enough value to where no one really would bawk at that price point.
FaceTime is just a fancy video chat app, albeit one that has been deeply ingrained into the iOS, macOS and iCloud DNA. While I would like to sit here and say that it is better than Hangouts, WhatsApp or Skype, the experience that I have had with FaceTime is that isn’t really isn’t any better than those other apps. Ultimately the connection to the service makes the biggest difference in how nat video chat application functions.
The beauty of FaceTime is that it is simple. Open the app, select your contact and off you’re going. Hangouts isn’t that simple and Skype (in my experience) always disconnects calls unexpectedly. It is that very simple workflow that has allowed adoption of the technology to blossom.
However, that simplicity is something that is a hard sell to make it a paid app. If anything, it should be built into an iMessage bundle that, if an iMessage subscription is active on the Google Play account should just work. FaceTime as a stand alone product would be a hard sell but I could see people spending a couple bucks for access to it if they didn’t want any other iCloud feature.
iCloud Mail and Calendar
Have you ever searched the Google Play for iCloud? You should head over to the Google Play store and do this search. There is a fledging market of third party applications that are trying to fill this void. We talk all the time about how credential security is so important and yet I don’t think anyone could tell you how the applications that you see on the Google Play store are using your credentials to provide iCloud services to Android devices. My guess is that they are just using an IMAP connection, which is the only “approved” way to make that connection outside of Apple’s ecosystem.
iCloud Mail and Calendar is the only email and calendar service that I can think of in these modern times that has a hardware restriction on usability. IMAP is a poor excuse when writing an Android application for native use isn’t hard, nor unmaintainable. I get that Android is your main competitor, however access to email and calendar services can be done through any desktop web browser. Native applications for Android would be a welcomed change of heart for those who can’t ditch their iCloud accounts despite being on Android or that have other Apple hardware in their life that they use iCloud services on.
Creating these applications, iMessage, FaceTime and iCloud Mail and Calendar, also has an added benefit of being able to also function as Chromebook applications. While I completely understand their hesitation to provide applications for Chromebooks, it also underscores that Apple doesn’t exactly have an “education” option anymore. Opening up a revenue stream to lower-end consumers who may happen to have an iPhone but not a macOS device would be extremely beneficial for their cloud operations.
This begs the question: Why not take all those iCloud services (Mail, Calendar, iMessage and FaceTime) and create iCloud Suite for Android. Not only does that brand all of the services into a nice, complete package, it would also make billing for these services easy. Put a monthly and Annual fee for all four applications and you’ve got something that would make Android users able to have access to rich Apple services and use that as a gateway for people to eventually switch to iOS for “native” use. It could even come in a bundle with Apple Music (or included with Apple Music if so inclined) so people could stay in their all Apple environments with the exception of an Android phone. $5 per month or $50 per year for this alone would be well worth the cost of admission.
The only reason that I can think of as to why this hasn’t already happened, besides the obvious “because Android isn’t iOS,”is because Apple isn’t hosting their own cloud on their own platform. Contracting out to Azure, Amazon S3 and Google Cloud services means they aren’t hosting any of that infrastructure on a wholly owned Apple platform. This could increase the cost of providing these services to their existing customer base by allowing more people to have access to these cloud applications.
Apple Watch + Watch + Health
Apple Watch, despite what people think about it, is one of Apple’s newer successes. Apple Watch users can opt into being part of medical studies, some insurance providers are starting to give them out at incentives for being more healthy and you can find people wearing them everywhere.
Have you heard the latest news about Android Wear? It’s kind of a mess right now and the 2.0 edition of Wear that came out late last year is just as disappointing at it’s 1.x counterpart. I should know — I waited for ages for Hauwei to release their build for their Watch only to find out it really didn’t make the experience better. Why wouldn’t Apple want to capitalize on Google’s OEMs problems and bring the most successful smart watch in the market to Android, opening them up to an entirely new market? It almost makes too much sense.
If Apple really wanted to make this on part with it’s iOS counterpart, the would want to bring over the Health app along side the Watch app for watch management. Apple would then be able to add more people to their health initiatives overnight. More datapoints for their studies makes this worth the investment time. Add in all the revenue from more Apple Watches flying off the shelf and Apple may be able to become the smartwatch vendor.
Are there any other Apple products that you think should make the jump to Android?