The Calm Before the Storm; Thoughts on and hopes for Music Before its Launch

Music is launching tomorrow! Are you excited? I am. I already offered my initial impressions immediately after it was announced at WWDC 2015 and those impressions have remained unchanged. But before it launches, I want to get some additional thoughts out there.

The Beats 1 Launch

Tomorrow, June 30th, 2015, Apple Music will launch and Beats 1 Radio will broadcast live to the world for the very first time. This will mark a unique period in the history of Apple’s company and brand. Never before has there been a time in which there was a direct, constant, dynamic, multifaceted, and globally – and publicly – accessible voice representing its brand. That all changes tomorrow.

A Most Momentous Occasion

As you may know, Beats 1 will be a 24/7 global radio station produced and hosted by Apple employees Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga. Do you know of any other time when Apple employees did something like this? Never before has the public had access to the voices of Apple employees in this way. The only similar outlet I can think of is either Apple’s website or the Twitter accounts or personal blogs of its employees. The differences here are obvious and significant. Beats 1 will eventually be baked into every iPhone, making it more easily accessible; it will constantly be changing, and it will quite literally be composed of real human voices. When thought of in this way, its announcement does deserve the “One More Thing…”*

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Apple Killed The Ad Star; Thoughts On Safari & the News App

Apple is the greatest chess player on Earth. They make the best and most calculated moves, offensive and defensive. Sometimes they release a new product or feature and most people are confused, unsatisfied, or disgruntled, failing to see the long term play. Then the following year or so, Apple releases another product or feature and it all makes sense. Their master plan is revealed.

In the context of the default News app that’s shipping with iOS 9, Apple is finally putting the last pieces in place for a circle of products, features, and developer technologies that could put a solid dent in the bottom line of companies built on web based advertising business models.

Apple is building on chess moves they’ve made since the release of the iPhone. The iPhone, like all of Apple, is a walled garden. Apple controls the default web browser, Safari, in addition to the entire user experience. Features like “Limit Ad Tracking” and others have been a part of iOS for a bit, but with iOS 9, Apple is releasing a new feature called Content Blocking that will ship with Safari and that is accessible by developers in the new Safari View Controller.

The big idea behind Content Blocking is that it’s possible to add something to the experience of viewing a webpage by taking something away.

– Classic Apple marketing. Ricky Mondello from Introducing Safari View Controller, Session 504, WWDC 2015.

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Is Apple a Hypocrite? Thoughts on News, i-Ad, and Privacy

After Apple’s announcement of its default news reader app, “News” that’s shipping with iOS 9, I learned that publishers will be able to monetize their News content using iAd.

Monetization is made simple with iAd, Apple’s advertising platform. Earn 100% of the revenue from ads you sell, and 70% when iAd sells ads for you. iAd provides campaign management, targeting and reporting capabilities that help drive your business.

– https://developer.apple.com/news-publisher/

Just one week prior to WWDC 2015 and the announcement of News, Tim Cook gave what Matthew Panzarino of Tech Crunch called a “Blistering Speech” on encryption and privacy. In that speech, Cook implicitly attacked companies like Google and Facebook when he stated:

I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” said Cook. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.

– Tim Cook; Source: TechCrunch

On the one hand, Apple is taking on the role of the defender of Privacy, publicly saying that it does not sell its user’s data. On the other hand, Apple has simultaneously created a new platform that will allow publishers to monetize using targeted ads from Apple’s iAd platform. At first, this made Apple seem hypocritical, but after further thought, research, and analysis, I’ve come to realize that my initial feelings were mostly wrong.

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