It’s a smart pivot for Apple: If people aren’t buying as many iPhones, just squeeze them monthly with recurring payments from add-on content services.
Some of these services look great — I’ll happily pay for Apple News+ and Apple Arcade — so long as you already live within the walls of Apple’s ecosystem. But why no love for Android or Windows users?
They may not have shiny Apple logos on the back of their phones or laptops, but they’re people too. They deserve access to high-quality journalism and original video programming, even if they don’t use Apple devices.
There are an infinite number of motivations for Apple to treat non-Apple users as second-class citizens. None of the reasons are new of course.
If you know Apple, you’ll understand that the company believes in integrated systems. Unlike open platforms such as Android and Windows, Apple’s strength is its control of both hardware and software. And now it’s adding services in as a third core pillar.
But content services like news and TV programming are different. Written word and moving pictures are universal. It’s not about choosing one platform over another, it’s about access. Everyone should be able to access news and video no matter what platform or device they choose. Access is important for public discourse and culture-building.
It’s really no different than music. Sure, Apple Music works better with Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and HomePod. But the specific content – the songs — are accessible via an Android app or iTunes on Windows, available for you to enjoy on whatever device you want.
A service should be platform agnostic and services like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime Video have proven that access is crucial to success and scaling.
Everyone should be able to access news and video no matter what platform or device they choose.
Imagine if today you could only watch Netflix on Netflix-made phones or computers or tablets. It’d never fly. Netflix wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it is if that were the case. And yet Apple’s trying to do the reverse of what every other service is doing, which is to make content available on as many platforms as possible.
Want to read Apple News+ and the thousands of magazines, Wall Street Journal, and curated content from digital publishers? You’ll need an iOS or Mac first.
Are you interested in checking out Kumail Nanjiani’s Little America because everyone’s gonna be talking about it? Better pray you have an Apple device or supported Roku, Fire TV, or smart TV.
Yes, there are over a billion active devices worldwide to serve, but Apple’s leaving a lot of Android (over 2 billion active devices) and Windows users (700 million active devices) on the table. I can guarantee you a fraction of these install bases would be willing to pay for high-quality content like News+ or TV+ even if they don’t own Apple devices.
With such massive install bases (translation: revenue), it’s odd to me that Apple didn’t announce a TV+ or News+ apps for Android and Windows users. Apple’s new subscription services live in the cloud and merely needs to be pushed to a screen. It’s not like there’s any reason that’s preventing Android or Windows devices from display text, images, and video besides the fact that Apple doesn’t want to do it.
It’s even odder when you consider Apple has an Apple Music app on Android, which just reached 40 million downloads.
If not an app for Android or Windows, maybe Apple could provide access via a web browser. Services such as Netflix and the Wall Street Journal can already be accessed through Chrome or Firefox. Apple should offer News and TV via a user’s web browser of choice as well.
Not now, but also maybe not never
All hope isn’t completely lost, though. As I said, there’s an Apple Music app on Android and iTunes on Windows so it’s not like Apple content doesn’t already exist on competing platforms. The TV app for Roku and Fire TV also suggests Apple’s at least open to the idea of streaming its video to other media boxes.
It could just be that Apple hasn’t announced Android or Windows support and not that it will never do so. It’s entirely possible Apple might be saving the news for WWDC in June or closer towards Apple TV+’s launch. That said, no Apple News+ (which is available now) for Android or Window still blows.
“I believe that Apple will ultimately release an Android app and will leverage its iTunes app and the web to serve Windows consumers and platforms,” Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told Mashable. “Most iPhone users have Windows PCs and it would be a lost opportunity if Apple didn’t serve them.”
Carolina Milanesi, a consumer tech analyst at Creative Strategies, echoed the same thought. “Apple might eventually expand support for Apple TV+ to Android, but if I look at a priority list for the service I would put Windows before Android simply because of the high number of iPhone users with a Windows PC.”
Bottom line is: Apple wants to own you. Apple doesn’t want you to only pay it for your iPhone or iPad or Mac. Apple now wants you to pay it for all of the content you consume on your device — not as a one-time payment, but as a recurring one that’ll offset declining iPhone sales.
But if services is supposed to be the next big source of revenue for Apple, why stop at its own customers, especially if they’re willing to pay?
Apple can ignore Android and Windows users and pretend as if they don’t exist (for now) — it’s not like they’re starving for content options — but doing so will only make it harder to convert them into Apple device users later. Supporting non-Apple platforms would also send a message to Wall Street it’s really committed to services as a revenue stream in the long term and you know how much traders love to hear buzzwords like growth, scale, and revenue.
Putting its new services on Android and Windows would be a win-win for all users and Apple. Really, what’s not to like?