Following Google’s I/O Conference two weeks ago, it was Apple’s turn to reveal their latest products, apps and updates at the annual WWDC in San Francisco this week. Included in a number of high profile announcements were the unveiling of IOS 9, the news that Apple Pay will arrive in the UK in July and word of a big software update for the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch software update is quite interesting. We discussed the current, scaled-back software in a previous blog, talking about how the hardware itself was capable of much, much more. A list of the most important announcements at WWDC15 can be found on The Verge.
The reveal of new services such as Apple Music and the updated Notes app also gave us a glimpse into Apple’s intentions. Apple Music is the company’s long awaited music streaming service, which will be released in direct competition to Spotify, Pandora and Tidal. The tweaks and added features in Notes will also go up against the hugely successful Evernote. But what makes Apple think that they can take on such established and widely used services and win?
This isn’t just a scenario being played out by Apple either. Microsoft, Google and other tech giants are constantly expanding into uncharted territories in an attempt to cash in on latest software (and hardware) trends. The trick isn’t to make their products as-good-as the products they are trying to overthrow, the hard part is making them unique and offering something different. That is what makes them "better".
Going Against the Grain
With the Notes updates though, Apple aren’t actually trying to offer anything different to Evernote. They have simply updated the app to offer the features that Evernote currently do and Apple Music doesn’t appear to offer anything too ground-breaking. Perhaps then, Apple aren’t trying to force their way into the marketplace by offering something different, rather something more convenient.
For new kids on the block like Tidal, it will be almost impossible to come out on top in the music streaming turf war (although some are predicting it will “hang on” due to its star studded backing). New services are always fighting for users, but the advantage Apple has is that they can include their software natively on their devices. This means that anyone using Apple products will automatically have the software installed, and will be more easily persuaded into using it than a 3rd party app.
All Under One Roof
The problem for established companies like Spotify and Evernote is not a mass migration of users over to Apple’s new offerings, but the potential new users that they will miss out on. Let’s say someone buys a new iPhone. Why would they go to the trouble of downloading a 3rd party app (like Spotify or Evernote), creating an account and setting up payments when all this can be done “in-house” at the touch of a button with Apple's own service. There are plenty of blogs circulating at the moment talking about how Apple are trying to kill off their competition and how companies like Spotify and Evernote are “toast”, but the truth is, they aren’t.
People who use Spotify will most likely stay with Spotify, and people who use Evernote aren’t going to suddenly drop it to use Notes. This isn’t to do with brand loyalty, it’s to do with convenience and ease; the precise reason why Apple’s products will be a success. People will go to (or stick with) the service they are most comfortable with and which is the easiest to use. It’s hard to see where apps like Tidal fit into this, and Apple will certainly muscle the newer, smaller companies out of the way. But instead of taking on the bigger competition, Apple will be happy to sit alongside them and soak up new users that would have otherwise gone elsewhere.