Apple Music on iOS 10, with Senior VP Eddy Cue.
Apple has all the time been often known as a firm, and it nonetheless is, however companies are extra necessary to its technique and backside line than ever earlier than. That time was pushed residence not simply by the newest Apple earnings report—wherein CEO Tim Prepare dinner recognized companies as a division ripe for a doubling of income by 2020—but additionally by a chat by Apple SVP Eddy Cue at SXSW this week.
Interviewed by CNN’s Dylan Byers, Cue talked about Apple Information, the tensions between open and closed platforms, and the corporate’s TV and video technique. Most of the statements he made appeared fastidiously crafted to differentiate Apple from different tech giants which were the themes of criticism in current months.
Cue heads Apple’s software program and companies efforts, and he took the stage in Austin moments after Apple introduced it could purchase Texture, distribution app that has been repeatedly known as the “Netflix of magazines” by quite a few press shops.
Texture solely has a couple of hundred thousand subscribers ultimately report. However Apple Music—born out of the Beats acquisition and iTunes—has reached 38 million subscribers, with two million added simply final month. Cue additionally stated that eight million individuals are at present collaborating within the three-month free trial Apple gives of the service. Chief competitor Spotify had 70 million as of January.
Apple’s companies are rising, however what does the corporate have deliberate? Cue supplied some insights.
Doing TV like Pixar does motion pictures
Almost about the TV technique, Cue stated “we’re not after amount; we’re after high quality,” as Apple’s staff of 40 or so, led by former Sony execs, works to strategically spend greater than $1 billion on authentic programming. Cue in contrast the corporate’s method to that of Pixar (one other firm with shut ties to Steve Jobs).
In the meantime, Netflix is using a technique that more and more seems to be like throwing every thing it might seize on the wall of consumer style and seeing what sticks—although a few of what sticks is kind of good. Netflix is reportedly spending as nice as six instances as a lot on authentic content material as what Apple plans to spend in 2018.
We nonetheless do not know precisely the place Apple’s TV efforts will match into its companies, although. Will they be supplied as a part of Apple Music or one other service altogether? If the previous, will Apple Music be rebranded? Cue did not talk about any of that. Nonetheless, he did say that Apple has no plans to purchase both Netflix or Disney, specifying that the corporate prefers to concentrate on acquisitions of firms, merchandise, and applied sciences that will probably be key sooner or later, not on costly acquisitions of firms which might be already nicely established.
Apparently, Beats was an exception. The Guardian reported not lengthy earlier than the acquisition that Beats headphones accounted for about 64 % of all headphones bought at costs above $100 in the US.
“Quite a lot of the problems going round”
The subject of the session was “Curation in Media”—a topic that appears related given the Texture acquisition. As such, Cue additionally mentioned Apple Information, and once more, he was cautious to distinguish Apple’s philosophy from these of Google or Fb. When requested about rivals’ methods, Cue selected phrases that had been well mannered and restrained whereas nonetheless carrying a essential subtext, saying, “it is all the time exhausting to sit down from the skin and discuss others” and “when you might have a big platform, there’s quite a lot of accountability.”
Of Apple Information, he stated, “We wish the very best articles, we would like them to look superb, and we would like them to be from trusted sources… so we do not have quite a lot of the problems going round.” Cue is probably going alluding to an entire host of challenges Google and Fb have lately confronted, from unverified information reviews showing in customers’ feeds and search outcomes to bots and algorithmically-driven echo chambers.
That matches nicely along with his alternative of phrases within the Texture acquisition announcement: “We’re dedicated to high quality journalism from trusted sources.”
CNN’s Byers requested Cue about his ideas on the open platform philosophy espoused by Google and Fb. Cue pointed to iTunes—particularly podcasts—for instance of Apple main the way in which on curation efforts, searching for a center floor. Advocates of open platforms typically discuss of democratization, however additionally they deliver up considerations about free speech as regards to carefully curated, closed platforms. That is typically framed in distinction to activists who’ve pressed Twitter and different firms to clamp down on hate speech.
“Hate speech will not be free speech,” Cue stated. He added that no person is totally free: “There aren’t any pornography on these websites. So folks do draw strains on these websites. We do assume free speech is essential, however we do not assume white supremacy or hate speech is necessary speech to be on the market.”
Byers took a leap to press additional by noting that the NRA has an app on Apple’s App Retailer. Cue responded by explaining that the NRA app doesn’t violate Apple’s publicly accessible insurance policies for app submissions, that there are pro-gun management apps, too, and that you would be able to’t purchase weapons by apps on the App Retailer.
All of those statements painted a constant image: the management at Apple believes the corporate will shut the flood gates and curate higher video and higher journalism, whereas different tech firms battle with the challenges and contradictions deeply inherent within the beliefs of the open Net. Apple has lengthy sought to supply alternate options to the open Net for quite a lot of causes, and as its concentrate on companies grows over the subsequent two years, that can nonetheless be the philosophy.
This second is sensible to drive that time residence. Even Tim Berners-Lee, who is usually credited as one of many founders of the World Huge Net, printed an op-ed this week arguing that the dream of the open Net is already compromised by gatekeepers like Fb and Google, whilst he stays dedicated to “ensuring the Net is a free, open, artistic house—for everybody.”
It appears Cue is tapping into the present discussions and local weather to distinguish Apple from its besieged rivals, at the least in the case of public opinion.