Apple Excitement

I have been an Apple enthusiast for a little under a two decades and there has not been a keynote like the one given by Tim Cook yesterday at WWDC for several years. It was exciting and interesting with the right combination of experiential design and engineering that made Apple launch the original iPhone. The event was dominated by a high end desktop aimed at creative power users and seemed to still touch every key contact point in Apple’s product line. There was something for everyone.

I think Ben Thompson on Strachery said it best:

“I thought that sense of “going for it” that characterized the Mac Pro permeated the entire keynote: Apple seemed more sure of itself and, consequentially, more audacious than it has in several years.”

Back when Apple ran the innovative commercials (1984, here’s to the crazy ones) it reached for somthing new more regularly (Newton, iPod) and didn’t seem as hampered by the past. The iPhones success dampened their freebooter spirit and it is nice to see them get back a little bit of that feeling.

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Apple Services

AppAt the end of last week one of my favorite Apple tech writers/fans David Sparks wrote about Apple Music in response to the recent news that from the Wallstreet Journal that Apple Music surpassed the Spotify in user count in the US. He and his family subscribe to the Apple Music Family plan and get value from the streaming library and playlists sharing. I was wary about Apple’s move into services and as Apple Music is the companies first stand alone service product (I am putting iCloud in a companion product category) to see that the it is gaining market share is a good trend for the company.

Services are clearly important to Apple given the recent announcements around Apples news and video services and I suspect it will become an even larger focus in the future. As smartphones become more commoditized the company is going to look for other revenue streams (as it should) Though as with the news above and also the more recent service news I constantly wonder whether the adoption rate is due more to the fact that the services come by default on an iPhone rather than the service itself.

Apple’s traditional strength has no been services. They have excelled at hardware though their past service offerings (Mobile Me, Ping, iCloud 1.0) faltered. Other companies like Google or Microsoft had more experience with services though I would argue that iCloud now is a rock solid service that I use every day without incident. The question remains whether Apple will create services aimed at drawing (or keeping users) on their platforms like how they manage iMessage or if they are authoring services writ-large across multiple platforms (Apple does make an Apple Music android app though Apple News+, Apple Video and Apple Arcade all seems aimed at Apple devices only. Given Apple’s penchant for wanting to own the whole vertical (like how in manufacturing they are building their own chips) I definitely think that Apple Music is more of an exception than the rule in terms of cross-platform availability.