Apple’s Middle Age – Stratechery by Ben Thompson


31 bookmarks. First posted by girma 19 days ago.


Most commentary has assumed that:

Customer wants HomePod
Therefore, customer subscribe to Apple Music
Apple profits
Again, this doesn’t make sense because Apple Music isn’t profitable!

Instead, I think the order goes like this:

Customer owns an iPhone
Customer subscribes to Apple Music because it is installed by default on their iPhone
As an Apple Music subscriber, customer only has one choice in smart speakers: HomePod (and to make the decision to spend more money palatable, Apple pushes sound quality),4 from which Apple makes a profit

Keep in mind, the swashbuckling Apple — the one led by Steve Jobs, not Tim Cook — that looms so large in everyone’s imaginations, couldn’t have had more different circumstance. Jobs was a product and execution genius, but in truth we have no idea how he would deal with the strategy questions facing Cook. Making iTunes for Windows was as correct strategically as is making HomePod exclusive to iOS devices; that the former fits ones’ mental model of how a company “should” operate is a matter of circumstance, not principle.
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12 days ago by elrob
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time for a while; given my personal history that is saying something. via Pocket
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12 days ago by driptray
iPad: Standalone, but thanks to Apple’s push for unified apps, is immediately rendered more valuable if a customer already owns an iPhone and has bought multiple apps
Apple TV: Standalone, but thanks to Apple’s push for unified apps and AirPlay protocol, is immediately rendered more valuable if a customer already owns an iPhone
Apple Watch: Only works with an iPhone, which means by definition it can only be sold to an existing Apple customer
AirPods: Work with all phones, but better on iPhone, which, conveniently enough, dropped the headphone jack the same time AirPods were announced
HomePod: Only works with an iOS device, which means by definition it can only be sold to an existing Apple customer (with Apple Music as a push)
Apple’s growth is almost entirely inwardly-focused when it comes to its user-base: higher prices, more services, and more devices.
apple  hardware  trends 
16 days ago by dancall
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17 days ago by sbmandal
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17 days ago by fugaz
Lock in. Then squeeze.
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17 days ago by jgordon
In this view, Apple Music serves as a “bridge” to translate iPhone market share into smart speaker share; services is a means, not an end, which is exactly what we should expect from a company with Apple’s vertical business model.
Apple  strategy  HomePod  launch  integration  AppleMusic  Stratechery  2018 
17 days ago by inspiral
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time for a while; given my personal history that is saying something. via Pocket
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18 days ago by archizoo
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time for a while; given my personal history that is saying something. via Pocket
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18 days ago by schmitz
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time…
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18 days ago by disnet
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time…
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19 days ago by joeybaker
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time for a while; given my personal history that is saying something. By my count this will be my 12th apartment since I graduated from college, and it never made much sense to invest in anything beyond Ikea. Sure, that number is a bit extreme, but from my perspective the optionality that comes from the willingness to move around was worth the packing pain; now that my kids are in school and my career die cast — at least for the time being — the prospect of staying put for more than a year or two comes as a relief. In other words, I’m hitting middle age, with the change in circumstances and priorities that entails. iPod on Windows Apple, at least in human terms, is officially over the hill: the company’s 40th birthday was last April. In truth, though, the first Apple died and was reborn in 1997 with the return of Steve Jobs, at a time when the company was weeks away from bankruptcy. The cover of the June, 1997 edition of Wired What happened next is certainly familiar to everyone reading this: after slashing products and re-focusing the company around a dramatically simplified product line, Jobs shepherded the introduction of the iMac and, three years after that, the iPod. Perhaps no decision looms larger, though, than releasing iTunes — the software yin to the iPod’s hardware yang — for Windows. Erstwhile Apple analyst Gene Munster told the San Francisco Chronicle: For Apple, the Windows version of iTunes is part of a “very slow but real shift” in strategy, said Gene Munster, senior research analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. “They’ve tried everything to get their installed base to grow, but it just doesn’t grow. What you’re going to see in the coming years is a different Apple.” Ironically, Munster said iTunes for Windows may ultimately help sell more iPods but fewer Macintoshes, because it works well enough with a PC. In fact, the opposite occurred — at least in the long run. The iPod took off like a rocket, dominating the portable music industry until it was killed by the smartphone, specifically the iPhone. And, over time, more and more satisfied iPod and iPhone customers began considering Macs; macOS devices have outgrown the overall market (which is shrinking) nearly every quarter for years. That’s a side story though: while the iPod and the first few editions of the iPhone need
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19 days ago by danielandrews
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time for a while; given my personal history that is saying something. via Pocket
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19 days ago by LaptopHeaven
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19 days ago by stinkingpig
Forgive the personal aside, but our family bought some furniture yesterday, and it wasn’t half bad. We’re moving house, and I’m hopeful it will be the last time…
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19 days ago by Shurs
Apple’s Middle Age

For Apple, hitting middle age means a strategy primarily focused on mo…
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19 days ago by girma