I was thinking, “You know what we need? Another social network!” You know who doesn’t see the sarcasm there? Apple. According to Bloomberg, the Cupertino company known mostly for revolutionary products like the Lisa and the Newton, is working actively on their own social sharing platform that will allow users to take photos and videos for their friends and families to see.
The whole thing is very un-Apple, but that could be a good thing. For starters, Apple is known as a hardware company, but as sales level off, they have been steadily looking into additional revenue via services and service extensions. Apple Music for example has found some legs and their entire service revenue is up 19% year over year with $23.1 billion earned over the last 12 months. Next year should see even more growth. The next issue is privacy. Apple execs have stood on numerous stages proclaiming that they care about their customer’s privacy, and take more care to protect than the other guys. The need to maintain this
illusion reputation is reportedly taking serious time to figure out. How do you let people post intimate details and images of their life while making them feel like it is all safe and kept out of the wrong hands?
If Bloomberg is right, the app will mimic Instagram and Snapchat in functionality and looks. One prototype supposedly had an Instagram-like square interface for photo taking. App development is in the hands of the same group that made Final Cut Pro and iMovie software. Joe Weil, the former president of a New York-based video production company, and co-developer of a video blogging app called KnowMe is leading the project. Taking on the established apps will be a challenge though as iPhone users spend A LOT of time inside apps they have not only become familiar with, but their friends and family are using as well.
Facebook’s mobile users are on its News Feed, Instagram and Messenger an average of 50 minutes a day, while Snapchat’s 150 million daily active users spend an average of 30 minutes per day with the photo- and video-sharing app. Of the top 10 free third-party iPhone apps in the App Store, Facebook owns three, while Snapchat owns two. -Bloomberg
The other question is whether or not this social network will be cross-platform or an iOS exclusive. Millions of people are currently using iPhones but many, many more are carrying Androids in their pockets. Locking out those users while attempting to compete with giants like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat Instagram and even Google+ seems completely irrational. Apple has already shown signs of social-focus with a significant update to their Messenger app launching as part of iOS10 this fall. The addition of more playful and fun features is all part of that focus.
Of course one cannot mention social and Apple in the same breath without also mentioning Ping and Connect: Two complete failures launched as integrations to Apple’s music and iTunes strategy. Ping lived for two years, completely ignored during the span of that cycle. Connect is still around but no one would blame you for not knowing that. Apple will be keeping a close look at how this new effort performs.
As with most things Apple, details are scarce and the project is still in very early stages. More information will undoubtedly trickle out in the next few months as the work ramps up and a clearer vision of the project develops. The importance of getting into the social sharing space is very important to Apple and after years of heralding the quality of their iPhone cameras there is no doubt they will leverage that into a network that relies heavily on just that.
For now though, here is an exclusive sneak peak into Apple labs as they work hard on their new On-The-Line social network:
What do you think about a potential Apple social network? Let us know in the comment section below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.Source: Bloomberg
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