Apple and Generation Z

I received a mixture of feedback on Twitter when I tweeted Phil Baker’s column from yesterday. Most of the feedback was critical of Phil’s point that Apple may be losing the younger generation. They argued that, because so many of them prefer Apple hardware to everything else, others do as well. This is a solid point and is mostly true. But, there are a few points worth thinking about on the subject of Apple and Generation Z.

First, I have two daughters of this generation. Second, it is nearly impossible to study this generation quantitatively because they don’t take surveys. In fact, most of the primary research we do at Creative Strategies never goes lower than 18 years old. Through some of our partner research we access, it can go as low as 16. I’ve never seen large quantitative studies from young people below the age of 16, though. Which means, for those of us working as researchers, all we have are our observational skills and an ability to study behavior and map it to future outcomes. With this point in mind, I’m going to make some observations I think will help us frame the question of Apple and the next generation.

Technology Observations of K-8th Grade Students
As a part of several research projects specific to education, I have been talking to both educators/teachers and IT managers deploying thousands of devices — Windows PCs, Chromebooks, iPads, and Macs — in their school districts. One inescapable reality I continually encounter in this research is the dominance of Google’s Chromebooks in the lower grades. When I dig into the realities behind this (which is a lot more than simply the cost of the hardware), the real value for students, parents, and educators is that they live on the cloud. I frequently heard stories of how great it is they don’t have to worry about things like file management since all assignments, documents, homework lists, projects, etc., are always stored in one central location accessible from any device they choose. This is the deeper value proposition and daily workflow this generation is using as they grow up. While it’s true to say this generation is growing up with technology, the more profound point is this is the first generation growing up depending on the cloud.

Technology Observations of Higher Education
As these kids get older and move on to high school and college, a few things change. First, they stop preferring Chromebooks and begin desiring something more like a Mac, a Windows PC, or a tablet. While their hardware desires change, they are still relying on the cloud on a daily basis. As they move up, new avenues to the cloud emerge. It is no longer just for staying connected with their teacher, managing personal assignments, etc., but it evolves to also include collaboration. The value of the cloud moves from a singular experience, one mostly via teachers and students/parents, to one that broadens to include fellow students as they collaborate on projects.

While I’m making a few big picture observations, the image I’m trying to paint is one where the cloud has become central to generation Z’s workflow. Most of the software and apps they use regularly are much more cloud-centric rather than being specific to any one hardware platform. These conclusions lead us to a few outcomes worth mentioning.

First, this generation is growing up depending heavily on the cloud. However, it is largely not Apple’s cloud. Second, the vast majority of their day-to-day software experiences are not one Apple provides — with the exception of iMessage in a few markets like the US and Safari on iOS. Things like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Search, Google Docs, Gmail, Chrome, etc. all rank higher in daily usage than any of Apple’s first party apps on iOS for the majority of Millenials via a recent survey we just completed on 18-24 year olds.

My concern is that Apple, while still being a valued brand that makes high quality, desirable hardware for this generation, is simply becoming “just a hardware company” to them. At which point, their potential to switch to Android or something else entirely becomes more feasible when most of the main apps and services they use exist on other platforms. The reality of this, if it comes true, is Apple’s only sticky proposition to this demographic is the hardware. Which I fear runs the risk of Apple’s ecosystem lock-in wearing down over time.

If I was Apple, the first thing I would do is double-down on first-party software. I’d make sure I had a few must-have apps this generation can’t live without. Second, I’d go all-in on the cloud and try to create cloud services this generation “lives and dies on” — a phrase I have heard more than a few times from this demographic when it comes to Google Docs.

Fortunately, we have the ability and access to keep on eye on this and see what new developments take place with this younger generation of consumers. The big takeaway from me is just how cloud-centric this generation has become.

Unfortuately, while they may grow up with Apple hardware, they are not growing up in Apple’s services. Project out ten years from now, as more and more core computing experiences move to the cloud, and you can envision why that may be a problem for Apple.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

110 thoughts on “Apple and Generation Z”

  1. I would be very surprised if Apple’s services were ever a significant stickiness factor, preventing users switching to Android (with the exception of Messages maybe). Apple doesn’t generally seem to kind too much about competing productivity suites, browsers, cloud storage systems, etc., so they don’t seem too worried about it either. Recent enhancements to iOS make it significantly easier for 3rd parties to be useful, and thereby reduce stickiness of the OS.

    Maybe you are worrying too much.

    1. That raises a very interesting point. With an already large and established user base, with a large barrier to exit and total control, it easier to sell services internally.
      Selling to customers outside the ecosystem would require removal of barriers of entry. Either go cross platform on services, with hope it will draw in customers to take the “pill” or not. Either that, or services that are so good, and can’t be duplicated or something….

      1. The important thing to note here is that the “services” companies rarely actually “sell” the product. The give them away for free and make money by collecting users’ personal and private information.

        The basis of competition is totally different and it’s questionable whether Apple should actually be competing in the same arena, as you say.

        1. Though one can argue that cash payment to avoid all that would be an interesting option. That requires trust, and laws.

          Well, they can make money off the captive audience. But how big a deal is that? It’s certainly not interesting from a technology point of view.

          1. It shouldn’t be a big deal. But it’s always funny that “analysts” deride Apple’s services business and its limiting of it to largely its own platforms — when it is more profitable and sustainable than the business of others who extend themselves everywhere.

            Horace Dediu’s latest episode of the Critical Path podcast is interesting: #198, The Most Valuable Business.

            Perhaps a bigger deal is that Google, Amazon, MS can’t make money in hardware, no matter how hard they try, nor how many multi-billion dollar companies they buy between them.

          2. As you know, I only care about the user (mostly me). Who can make money is utterly boring, important, but boring.

            The reason I’m even commenting on this thread is because of the products, old or new, and services, old or new. In other words, my options.

            The biggest issue with Apple is walls. They not only keep you in, but also lock you out. One motivating option would be “pay for privacy”. Other things being equal I would pay for that, but not at the expense of being stuck.

            I’ve had this exchange with Ben Bajarin, analysts are the odds makers, the bookies of Wall Street. Dediu, from my very limited exposure, is Just another bookie. I don’t gamble, so I don’t care.

          3. Oh, I do know. But some of these things are interrelated, and that can’t be avoided.

            For example, you and Obart constantly go on about your options, and focus on being stuck or not stuck, how there is nothing to differentiate competing options from Apple, except Apple’s price and undeserved premium, etc. etc., ad infinitum.

            Well, the flip side, as you well know (a plethora of posters and posts advise you of this day in day out), is that some billion people do find a compelling reason to pay for the value they find Apple gives them. You can believe they are duped sheep, but the evidence for that is not really there.

            You say it isn’t a big deal that Apple can make money off a captive audience. I say it isn’t a big deal to have marketshare when competing for the bottom or giving stuff away free.

          4. Then we can agree that technologically neither is a big deal. Selling is selling.

            What matters to some users (me) is performance, latitude, price, and freedom. For that, Apple isn’t it! That for billions it’s valuable, well, to those who just might “Think Different!” it might not be all that. Some actually think very hard before choosing the blue pill (iOS) or the red pill (everything else). The blue pill holds you…

          5. Dediu, at the very least, attempts to explain what actually makes Apple different, when everyone else assumes as you do that its unparalleled success is merely down to nefariously trapping its users in an illusion or delusion.

          6. Trapping it’s users is fundamentally built in to what’s claimed as it’s main benefit. Integration. Apple controls the whole stack, blah, blah, blah…

            That’s trapping. The Walled Garden is real.

          7. Your very tired argument that Apple is somehow trapping users doesn’t hold up. When Apple only had a few million customers you could hide the flaws in your argument, but now that Apple has a billion customers with very high satisfaction levels and high levels of future buying intent, you can no longer hide.

            Saying Apple is trapping its customers is as dumb as saying BMW has trapped you as a customer. You’re not trapped, you chose a BMW because it met your needs and delivered value and benefit to you. Now that you own a BMW you can’t magically turn it into a pickup truck or an eight seater van. By choosing a BMW you’ve self-imposed limits on what you can do with your vehicle, you’ve reduced your freedom. But you did that rationally, knowing your own needs and knowing a BMW is a fine choice for your needs. What the BMW doesn’t do, you probably don’t need, so in that sense you haven’t imposed limits on your freedom. In a very real sense you are more free because you made a choice that met your needs. But from a purely technical perspective you have chosen to limit yourself and your freedom.

            I wonder if you see how silly your argument re: Apple is? It’s just as silly as me saying your choice to drive a BMW limits your capability and freedom. While those limits are real from a technical standpoint, in real life that argument doesn’t hold up.

          8. Apple doesn’t tell me where I can and cannot go. There are some limitations on the device capability, just as there are limitations on the capability of your BMW. Technically BMW is telling you that you cannot drive offroad on a mountain path or across a sand dune or through a swamp, simply because your BMW lacks the capability to do so. But you chose the BMW knowing you didn’t need those capabilities, so it is quite silly to view that as BMW telling you where you can and cannot go.

          9. Apple forbids applications and forces you to buy all application from them. Next you will tell me again that that’s a benefit, this contradicting what you just said. Not prejudging, I’ve seen this movie before.

          10. As I said, there are limitations on the device capability, just as your BMW has limitations on its capability. There’s no contradiction. Our choices involve compromises and limitations, this is natural.

            Just as Apple controls the experience they deliver in specific ways, so does BMW. You’re fine with one and not the other. What was that about a contradiction?

          11. You have not given a singular example on how my BMW limits me. If if does, artificially, pox on them. See how this works?

            Minimally I expect it to gi where my VW Beetle can go. It does, and then some.

          12. “You have not given a singular example on how my BMW limits me”

            I already gave you three examples of places you can’t drive your BMW, so your statement is not true. If we could please not lie that would be great. I can give you more examples if you like. You can’t put 26 inch tires on it. You can’t seat eight people. You can’t tow 10,000 pounds. You can’t use your BMW to pick rocks in a field. You can’t put a 352 cleveland motor in it. You can’t haul hay bales with it. You can’t pick up 2x4s at the lumber yard with it. And on and on and on. But you chose the BMW knowing you didn’t need those capabilities and you aren’t likely to run into those limitations (and many others) so it’s silly to say that BMW is placing limits on you.

          13. I missed it, I apologize.

            Those are technical problems, not artificially imposed ones, so your answer is disingenuous. It still does everything, and more, my Beetle does.

          14. Some limitations re: your BMW are technical and some are artificial (design choices BMW made for you). But they are all still limitations. That’s the point. Everything has limitations. We make choices knowing those limits and we choose what works for us, and in many cases delivers more freedom to us, even though for others the same choice would mean less freedom. See how this works?

            Of course now you’re qualifying the capability of your BMW by saying as long as it does everything and more when compared to your VW Beetle, then it’s all good. That’s another limitation which you’ve just chosen to impose on yourself. Which is fine. A vehicle which does everything (and more) that a VW Beetle can do is what you need. But that would be a terribly limiting choice for me, because we have different needs. Again, see how this works?

          15. I’m qualifying my expectations with a reference point. Of course.
            I’m also much more forgiving on technical obstacles than artificially imposed ones. The iPad’s obstacles to which I object are artificial. It’s like my Beetle costing the same as my BMW but doing more.

            And I will NEVER defend censorship. I do hold that against you.

          16. Now you’re talking about a specific device (iPad) as well as qualifying your expectations, and finally crying censorship. It’s pretty clear you know how weak your argument is, you’re casting about for anything that supports it even a little, but your argument simply does not work.

            Everything is limited and censored on some level. Apple has rules about what apps are allowed in the App Store. That is their right. Do you seek to take away that right? That’s censorship of a kind. But it’s as silly as your censorship argument. We can always find edge cases where Apple (or any company) makes mistakes. Wikipedia has a page listing all the incidents of censorship by Apple. There aren’t that many incidents. Wikipedia also has a page about censorship by Google which appears to be a much larger problem.

            Many of the issues with Apple have been resolved or fall into the category of Apple’s right to create an ecosystem free of objectionable and crude content (such as an app called Baby Shaker where you shook your iPhone until a baby on screen died). Technically banning that app is censorship, but if you want to get technical we are all censored in our daily lives by the rules and regulations we must live by. We can’t do anything we like anytime we want, and we can’t say anything we want anytime we want.

            BMW could build a car with more clearance and design the transmission and suspension in a way that allows the option of configuring the vehicle so I could take it offroad or through a swamp, or even tow heavy loads with it. But they don’t, because that doesn’t fit with the experience BMW is trying to create and the value and benefit they are trying to deliver to you. BMW made many choices for you, and those choices fit your needs well.

            Apple makes choices as well, but you happen to disagree with some of those choices and so you frame that as limiting freedom and censorship when in fact it is simply Apple making choices you don’t agree with. BMW makes choices you agree with, so you’re fine with that. You can’t have it both ways, either you’re against companies making choices for you or you’re not. This is where your argument falls apart of course, because all companies make choices for us and we decide what products and services fit our specific needs.

            Trying to argue that one specific company is bad because they make choices for their customers is a fool’s errand. You’re not arguing this because it is a logical argument, you’re arguing this because you don’t like Apple. It is an emotional argument, not a logical argument.

          17. There is nothing ambiguous about limiting what will run, and where I can get Apps. Nothing. You’re not arguing with me, you’re arguing with math. It’s censorship.

            I do not seek to take away their right on what to sell, I seek to be liberated from where I get to shop for programs on MY computer. When curation is bound to one store it gets elevated to censorship.

            When we are “censored” in our daily lives it’s through laws, and which elected representatives make them and must run through checks and balances under a Constitution. There is recourse. So stop, just stop.

            And yes, I’m perfectly fine that my BMW goes at least to where my Beetle goes.

          18. We are censored in our daily lives through much more than just laws. All retail is curated at some level, which you’ve defined as censorship so you can say Apple censors, rather than admit the truth that Apple is simply making choices you don’t agree with.

            You should read the policies for the Google Play Store, especially the part about Restricted Content. Very similar to Apple.


            Whether it’s one store or a dozen isn’t what matters. Companies trying to create a specific experience for their customers make choices for us and curate. The App Store does it, and so does the Google Play Store.

            At least you’ve admitted that your BMW does impose limits upon you, but you are fine with those limits. That’s progress.

          19. Now you talking about the meat of the matter. Yes! All retail is curated per store. Yes! It’s each stores right. But we also have latitude to visit any store not just one. I can get my pants ata Banana Republic and my shirt at Brooks Brothers (as intentionally ridiculous as that may be). Brooks Brothers doesn’t force me to buy their pants.

            “Whether it’s one store or a dozen isn’t what matters.”
            It’s the only thing that matters. It’s coice over who I do business with, at a minimum.

            Android.. Yes, the Google Play store has their own restrictions. Guess what? I can buy from alternate stores or even sideload like a PC.

            Oh, and I’m fine with the limits of my Beetle. It doesn’t tell me what store I can drive to or where I can get gas.

          20. So you can buy clothing from Brooks Brothers at Banana Republic? I imagine you can ask BMW to build you a Honda minivan as well?

            You’re only showing how silly your argument is. Look how narrowly you have to define censorship in order to cram it into your narrative about Apple. You’ve written a one note song, and it’s flat.

            Pants are actually smartphones, and you can buy many different types of pants from many different stores. But you can’t make one company manufacture another store’s pants. And once you buy your pants from one company you live with the choices that company made when they created your pants.

            Your VW Beetle does tell you where you can get gas, at a store that sells gas. Censorship!

          21. The Kool Aid is strong with you…

            TO the point of dishonesty. I can get gas at any store that sells gas…

          22. I think you do actually realize how weak your argument is, if this is your best reply.

          23. Meaning you admit how weak your argument is, I agree. I’m not the only one telling you this by the way. You might want to consider that when many other smart people tell you you’re wrong, you might be wrong.

          24. Don’t know if you saw my longer comment in reply to your matrix analogy below. Disqus or Techpinions seems to have misplaced it.

          25. I saw it in my email, but how to reply to an unposted comment. I will paste what you said….

            “Yes, sounds great, that “everything else”. But that’s also a bit of an illusion. In reality, no-one has “everything else”, they have one or two devices and services they they still have to invest time and effort into to make work the way they potentially could.
            Again, you always seem to aggregate all the promised potential and features of “everything else” into the one or two devices and services that any one person actually has at any given time.
            It sure sounds great, but I think the promise of that pill becomes a little bitter after time for a lot of people that really think about it, because it just might not be all that.
            The “freedom” to do anything any which way is just as much an illusion. Because you can still end up doing very little, and are still subject to the piece of hardware you actually have in your hand, or the services you have actually subscribed to, with all their foibles and rushed additions to their spec lists. Like you say, a phone is just a tool, not something to imbue with greater meaning, so why not have a solid tool that performs well for six years!
            Apple users never talk about “freedom” in terms of living without restrictions or rules. For us, it’s always more about peace of mind to just get on and do. And, generally, the work produced on Apple devices is far more varied and shows far greater freedom of creativity and expression, and is far more prolific (because it is easier to produce great stuff). There is a reason creatives choose Apple products.
            When it comes to it, more people are waking up to that reality, and moving toward Apple, than the other way around.” -Kizedek

            Okay, you’re referring to absolute freedoms. Yes, I’m highly restricted from leaving planet earth (Certain Gorillas don’t seem to have that problem, yet they linger here ;-)). So let’s downgrade to relative freedoms. Ease is a form of freedom, within the box. It’s easier to be easy, it’s easier for a designer to achieve ease, if the users are allowed to do less…

            Ease can be quite restricting in this context.

          26. “So let’s downgrade to relative freedoms. Ease is a form of freedom, within the box. It’s easier to be easy, it’s easier for a designer to achieve ease, if the users are allowed to do less. Ease can be quite restricting in this context.”

            I think I was talking about relative freedoms:

            Relatively speaking, most Apple users don’t seem to regularly butt up against restrictions that stop them from being productive or creative.

            And, in general, Android or MS users don’t seem to “exercise” the alleged infinite freedoms they all may supposedly enjoy “oh, so easily” in a way that looks any more productive or creative, relatively speaking.

            Certainly not to any degree that approaches the aggregate of the “everything” that you preach, because all those freedoms and advantages would would have to accrue to their individual circumstances in a way that was “easy” for them to invoke. Even in absolute terms, in some industries or use cases, Apple users seem to “do” more (produce more good stuff) despite Apple’s lower marketshare/user base.

            Perhaps, to some degree, you could even say that Apple users feel more free, relatively speaking, as they seem to go about their jobs-to-be done in a relatively more care-free manner due to their confidence in the tools and software (and things like privacy policies, etc.). Indeed, Apple users are often accused of extreme foolishness and naivety. Does that not translate to at least some “freedom” of action, to just “get on and do“?

          27. No sir ease and simplicity can go too far. It’s MUCH harder to do something complicated on iOS, if at all, than it need be.

          28. “That’s trapping. The Walled Garden is real.”

            “What matters to some users (me) is performance, latitude, price, and freedom. For that, Apple isn’t it! That for billions it’s valuable, well, to those who just might “Think Different!” it might not be all that. Some actually think very hard before choosing the blue pill (iOS) or the red pill (everything else). The blue pill holds you…”

            Hmmm. Perhaps the “everything else”, the apparent infinite choice and freedom of an “open” system, is the illusion here. You seem to think all its alleged advantages and features somehow accrue to every Android user at the swipe of a finger.

            The Matrix promised “everything else” — a life, jobs, pleasure, life above ground, blue sky…”

            You choose reality, and you live wth real-life restrictions, in a dirty hover-craft underground.

            Just something to think about.

          29. This is where we differ…
            It’s real life that has the fewer restrictions. The sunny blue sky’s are the illusionary subset the matrix has imposed.

          30. I don’t differ with you there.

            What I said is that your ideal of “everything else” is the blue-sky illusion, because it is not in fact directly experienced, nor can be, by everyone that “chooses” it.

            The promise of “complete freedom” is not real, in that everything is still very messy, and there are still real limitations due to actual device in hand, services subscribed to, their integration, the quality of the OEM software, etc.

            Apparently, you choose “Android” because… performance, latitude, price, choice, blah, blah. But, again, all the potential freedoms and possible features offered in that “world” do not accrue to the individual Android user, the moment he makes a choice to buy a particular device, or a particular set of apps and services instead of every app and service — just like when the Apple user makes his choice to not buy an Android device.

            For one who professes to be concerned about real-world practicalities, I don’t know how this passes by you.

          31. Wonderful, you have “freedom of price”. If you don’t like the price of 700 you can choose a different one! Ooh, let’s choose 200. Cool. Do you like that phone? Oh, not really, it’s not really the one I wanted; it doesn’t do everything I wanted, and the OEM writes crappy software.

            To misquote you: “Freedom can be quite restricting in this context.”

            Let’s agree that we both have the freedom to purchase a particular device, whether that is an Apple one or an Android one. Don’t pretend that your choice is somehow more “free”.

          32. Perhaps a more useful question is…why do I Care? But that would be a dissertation.

          33. No need to write a dissertation, I believe you have stated many times before why you care… basically, you don’t like Apple “acting like your IT department”.

            Also, you keep talking about that as an “artificial” limitation, vs a “technical” one. But, that is getting to be an artificial distinction these days, as everything gets silicon and software applied.

            Like Space Gorilla said, its still a design decision, just one you don’t like or agree with. Others don’t have that much of an issue with it, it’s really down to jobs to be done and expectations…

            For example, Espresso Machines:
            I love the ritual. I love grinding the beans by hand, steaming the milk myself, tamping down the grind, drawing the cup of coffee, etc. I like “getting my hands dirty”. It can take me 20 minutes to make a cup of coffee. Pure heaven to me…

            Now, I go over to my brother-in-laws, and he has this new-fangled machine that probably cost 1000 Euro. It has a couple of round buttons and a screen on the front (no toggles and gauges), and you just ask it to make what you want, like a Latte Macchiato, with milk percentage, coffee strength, etc. The screen even tells you when and how to clean each part (and they say it’s “bossy”)… and, I’m like, where’s the fun in that? That coffee machine company is acting like an IT company.

            I would never buy such an Espresso machine, and you would never by an Apple device. But some people pay to get the coffee they want instantly, and some people pay to get down to being instantly and consistently productive on their computing device.

          34. “its still a design decision, just one you don’t like or agree with. Others don’t have that much of an issue with it, it’s really down to jobs to be done and expectations…”

            Not of that invalidates or IMO excuses censorship. It’s still censorship.
            I too have a coffee machine and the coffee pods are DRM’ed. I hate that, and I have contempt for the company for doing that. But on the overall scale of things, coffee isn’t speech…. So my contempt is proportional to the importance. 🙂

          35. I suppose I might be a little worried, if your notions of censorship were any better than your notions of monopoly and privacy.

          36. The censorship is utterly unambiguous. I am an iOS user that cannot run any number of Apps forbidden in the App store. You would not be arguing with me on this one, your arguing with the very definition of what censorship is.

            Further I would be censored as a developer, because I’m forced to go though Apple to distribute my wares. Still censorship.

            However you cut it, it’s censorship.

            I am forced into ongoing business with Apple for applications as well. That this might be an anti-competitive situation for one billion users is another matter. I sya yes, you say no. Time will tell.

          37. Free speech is not the right to a particular outlet or platform. As a writer I can’t be stopped from writing. But a newspaper or other platform can sure as heck decide if, how and when I am published on their platform.

            Writing is writing, coding is coding; and their is no “technical” reason my words should not appear in the copy of the newspaper I bought and paid for, and thus appear in the one you bought and paid for. But there it is, I am “artificially” kept out.

            Go start your own platform.

          38. Whether I run a program on my property is my decision and mine alone. Whether someone can ask me to code for them to use on their property is theirs, and theirs alone. In either case the property belongs to someone other than the one that the device was purchased from.

            No single newspaper is required to print my article. No single publisher can forbid another from printing it. They. Don’t. Own. It.

            Anything less is censorship.

          39. The physical newspaper in your hand is owned by you. The physical newspaper in my hand is owned by me. Yet, neither you nor I can get our words into it — expect by going through the channel that the publisher set up.

          40. I really don’t know how you can always stretch the analogies so far and (and falsely) and keep a straight face!

            Newspapers are always looking for exclusives. They certainly don’t like to publish something as-is which was published on another platform. They will edit it, or work another angle.

            Apple doesn’t stop you from either writing apps for Android, or purchasing an Android phone. But the times will not willingly share its content with another newspaper — as a writer, you have to submit your content yourself to another newspaper with varying degrees of success, the Times won’t pass it along for you. You won’t always get your article into the publication you would like.

            You are therefore equally free to publish on (submit an article to) the Herald, AND free to publish an App on Android as well as iOS.

            But just as each newspaper has different Editorial guidelines and requirements, so do App stores.

            Indeed, I use tons of services, and just about every app I use has both iOS and Android versions.

            That there are a number of Android App Stores for more of a “one-size-fits-all” submission on the developer’s part, that is like syndication in Newspapers. Or some media mogul or conglomerate owns a number of newspapers.

          41. I don’t know how you can ignore the obvious so much with a straight face.

            Newspapers PAY for exclusives they don’t say you can only publish with us. They don’t have exclusive to the whole town…


            a) The user owns the device.
            b) The user is REQUIRED to get programs only from Apple.
            c) The user in bound by the singular store. There are no others. Compliance by the users AND the writers to that singular store’s guidelines is mandatory.

            But it’s not censorship! Riiiiight!

            I don’t expect a Christian book store to sell “50 Shades of Grey”. It’s their right not to sell it. For that, I need to go to another book store.
            What you say? This town of one billion people only has a single Christian book store, and if I don’t like it I have to move? BS!

          42. Huh? The newspaper IS the platform. The town is NOT the platform. This is your fundamental mis-conception. The device and ecosystem are like printed newspaper and publisher. You must make Apple into a town to make your point.

            As a writer, or app developer, the content/idea/IP is yours, and only yours. But, if you go through a process geared to a specific platform, with a newspaper or book publisher — their editorial process, their ghost writers, their editors, etc…

            Then, that particular output of your content is, in effect, theirs. You don’t put the platform-approved manuscript as-is, verbatim, on your own blog or shop it to another publisher. It probably isn’t “yours”, at that point.

            Particularly if the tools, process, reviewers, advertising mechanism, distribution mechanism, paper material, ink, compiler, api’s, etc., etc., belong to the platform’s owner. You are paid — out of the distribution of your work on that platform, using the system set up by the platform owner.

            You want to self-publish? Go use your own tools. You want to appear on other platforms? Go use their tools and submission process. The final output that gets delivered on the one particular platform is not re-usable by you. You weigh up the platform benefits and the distribution, and decide if you want to go with it. Get over it.

            And you still can’t “side-load” on most publishing platforms — you can’t get your own idea/content/IP into the newspaper, or published by a publisher, as a final, polished product for distribution by them without going through their editorial process and using their tools/resources/people.

          43. Just tell me how I can get the app equivalent of 50 shades of grey on my iPad. If I can’t through legitimate means, Show me how that’s not censorship over my iPad, and thus me as its owner.

          44. So, it’s not in the iBook Store? (I haven’t been in the market for it). So?… but, uh, I do have:
            A) Kindle and other apps on my iOS devices
            B) an amazon account from which I can purchase and add content in several formats (PDF, epub, etc.) to my iOS device.
            C) I can drag the above directly into my iBooks library (I have hundreds of such documents that I have dragged straight in).

            So, no, Apple does not stop me from reading 50 Shades of Grey. Try again.

          45. You know very well what the app equivalent of… is. It’s ANY forbidden app. I don’t expect Apple to carry it, I also disapprove them not allowing others to carrying it.
            It’s like the religious right forbidding things they don’t approve of in society. It’s the very definition of censorship

          46. No, it’s like the religious right forbidding things they don’t approve of in their church or private school. There you go again, conflating Apple’s platform with “society”. Flattering, I’m sure.

            Participation in the platform is voluntary for both users and developers, just as you are not required to set foot in a church. Moreover, there are other products and platforms available, just as you can buy different newspapers with different sets of Columnists and different political leanings.

            Similarly, like an editorial slant at a given newspaper, the Platform and App Store are part of the iOS product that Apple is selling; that is a “design decision”. In this case, it’s part of what makes the product work in the way its intended. It’s very much part of what most of its customers go to it for, just as many people tend to buy the same newspaper every week.

            Are these newspapers censorious of writers with different leanings, writers who don’t write for them, or who don’t meet their criteria? Apple doesn’t stop “*others* from carrying it” –– Apple doesn’t carry it. Apple. Apple Apple Apple.

            I guess everyone is a monopolist if the definition included your tautological notion of “having a monopoly on one’s own product”; but I am pretty sure “own” implies that by definition ;).

            You might have a leg to stand on if Apple licensed iOS to OEM’s as one supplier to a so-called “open” ecosystem. Apple could then be accused of “bundling” the App Store with it as a way to leverage compliance and consistency of its iOS; Apple could also require different degrees of compliance in exchange for exclusivity of certain products and levels of service; Apple might say an OEM can’t use certain services if they also make something that doesn’t quite comply; Apple might even charge OEMs for every device they made that didn’t use iOS; Apple might even act as a sensor by deciding to display the results of searches of universal content (thankfully not owned by it) in certain ways…

            Oh, wait a minute. This all sounds familiar somehow.

          47. It’s still censorship, all you are doing is trying to prove they have the right to do it. Their Church or Private school is a censored environment. They also own it. Apple does not own my iPad.

          48. All you are doing is trying to prove that “freedom” starts and stops where you want it to.

            You love freedom of speech, but you want to deny it to your neighbour because he is standing on the edge of his property and his breath is wafting over the property you own.

            Either ignore him, or realise that you don’t own and control every molecule that somehow impacts your comfort zone and your things. You’ll enjoy life more when you do.

          49. Freedom is retaining rights to what is not forbidden by law. Nothing more, I silence no one, that’s more your crowd.

            You have not shown that it’s not censorship, you keep using excuses for Apple having the right to censor. They do not, only their store, but you oppose other stores, so you too are a censor,

          50. No-one is opposing you using your iPad for a door stop or jailbreaking it, nor opposing your purchase of an Android device (in fact I recommend it for you).

            You are dictating that Apple sells a product they do not sell nor want to sell (or one configured differently).

            So you too are a censor. See how that works? One man’s license is another man’s censure. (hey, I silence no-one, just point out inconsistency.)

          51. Apple is actively preventing alternate stores. Not only anti-competitive, but censorous. I do not dictate that Apple not have a store. See how this works? Opposite of censorship.

          52. You are dictating that Apple meets your expectations by operating and delivering products in the mobile sphere as others do who have split OS/platform and hardware between a software/services company and multiple OEMs.

            “Naturally”, you believe your personal freedom trumps all other freedoms that you feel conflict with it in a way that is not directly addressed by a law.

            Instead, lots of other expectations of lots of other people are met in different, more effective ways than the product/services companies and their OEMs can ever hope to achieve.

            For example, Apple is determined to stand by their devices, and they do. People know the buck stops with Apple. On the other side, Google and MS don’t stand by hardware because they don’t do hardware effectively, they farm it out. And OEMs don’t stand by the software on their phones (if they even stand by their hardware).

            Apparently, someone else’s “right” or “freedom” to, for example, operate without fear of an infected phone is not as important as your “right” or “freedom” to side-load apps onto it. And there is no law to dictate who’s “freedom” wins out in this particular case, so you will blast on and on about it.

            Come on, are you surprised the world is so complex? Is it not odd that America “the land of freedom” is willing, for example, to curtail many personal “conveniences” in the name of security?

            Personally, I feel liberal societies tend to do a better job for the average individual, because when your eye is on society as a whole, and each individual is not constantly clamouring for personal preferences that conflict with the next person’s personal preferences, then often greater benefits can be implemented across the board for more people. Kind of a “live and let live” attitude.

            Personally, I feel “freedoms” are often more of a by-product of having some sense of your neighbours ideas of freedom. As soon as you strive for a personal freedom, it seems, there is a conflict with the next person, and no-one wins out. I think this is a large part of the bipolar-bipartisan-antagonistic atmosphere that has come to represent the USA these days (as you already alluded to with your distaste of the religious right.

            Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have personal passion and strive for something with enthusiasm. We need that. It’s great to have pioneers and advocates for different causes — BUT, as soon as everyone is a very forceful and willful advocate for their own causes and personal preferences, then you are inevitably at loggerheads and in conflict with just about everybody. It’s like, “pick your battles”.

          53. I am dictating that Apple stop an activity, not that they “do” anything. It’s censorship. See this is easy (and quite boring, if not for the outrage) because it fits the definition perfectly.

          54. They can offer a fully integrated product with a door…
            No one would force you to use the door, thus imposing on other’s rights. your neighbor. In fact, since this is policy and not hardware, the “door” is already there. There is no hardware change required to install a “door”, and doors work both ways.

          55. Of course it revolves around policy, who would ever think otherwise? It’s just your notion of “artificial” vs “technical” implies that policy isn’t a legitimate consideration.

            But, throughout, I have stated that it is more complicated than “artificial”/”technical”, “on”/”off”, or even, like a “door”, “open”/”closed”.

            Partly, for example, it revolves around signed code, and thus the terms by which Apple WILL in fact, always “stand by its phone”, when no-one else will stand by theirs, or their OS or software.

            With the “door” “closed, this way, they don’t for example, have to turn away every other person that comes to the genius bar, or emails them. They are happy to try and help every customer every time; moreover, this way, it is actually possible to do so quite effectively and efficaciously.

          56. Policy is an issue because ownership gets in the way. Ownership confers rights to the user over their own property.

            Does censorship make Apple’s job easier? Probably. Frankly, that’s their problem. Factory reset it and forget it.

            Meanwhile I will agree that at times, even for me, Apple support has been stellar, on several occasions it’s been abysmal. So a sweeping “stand by their phone” is an inadvertent falsehood on your part. I am a recipient (a couple of years later) of the class action payment of the bogus water sensors sham.

            Still, that strays from this censorship. All you’re doing is justifying it. Would you feel the same if they did it with the Mac?

          57. Good question. It wouldn’t be the Mac. I am good with what the Mac is, and good with iOS devices. They are different things for good reasons.

            But, no, I wouldn’t “feel the same if they did it with the Mac” — simply because that would be a move in a different direction. Despite what you seem to think, Apple is actually moving iOS in the direction of opening things up, from a “closed door” on iOS, toward opening it more and more:

            From the start, there was no app store, then there was. There was little or no developer access to some core features when they first came out, then there was more and more access (such as to fingerprint detection). Etc. And, they seem to be moving toward multi-user possibilities, too.

            I think Apple started cautiously, and took their time, so that they could open things up as they developed them in the best possible way. If you start open, you can’t put stuff back in the bottle — as Google seems to be trying to do.

            Apple simply applied some thought and foresight over time before entering the mobile space in order to get the core OS right, and as protected as possible, instead of being in the position of having to react to a paradigm shift by hurriedly buying a product and trying to adapt it to score marketshare as rapidly as possible.

            This is part of what gives me confidence that Apple will “get it right” (at least eventually).

          58. Such a thoughtful, and honest, answer. Thank you.

            Still, my rights as a user and owner (yours too) are not dependent on what Apple thinks at all. But it’s very interesting on how you describe the evolution of the platforms.

            iOS at the very beginning started mostly as a multifunctional mp3 player OS. Yes, no one could write for it (at least that’s equitable). There was no means to write for it outside of Apple’s walls.

            The moment APIs were made available, the censorship started. This, in stark contrast of what the Personal Computer stood for. I agree Apple is actually drifting to less closed under Cook. I wonder why? My best guess is that they don’t want a Microsoftian fate. Apple will only do what suits Apple, and if that in any way benefits the user, they will hype that slice.

          59. That latest Critical Path podcast was great. Good listening for anyone that wants to criticize Apple, since if you want to talk about how Apple should do X, Y, or Z differently, you must first understand why Apple has succeeded and why Apple continues to succeed. That understanding of Apple’s success is sorely lacking.

    2. Aren’t you just outling then that Apple is a HW, and to a small degree and operating system company? I’d much prefer their apps be on par with the best and their services/cloud. But I can’t get past how cloud centric this next generation is and I’d argue things like iTunes were very sticky in the past and may be coming less so now.

      1. You made no quality case against Apple’s software and services. Google Chromebooks can run Msft Office 365 and Apple’s iCloud office offerings. Google docs also runs on PC’s, Macs, and iOS. Therefore educational use of Google docs does not come with long term loyalty to Chromebooks.

        iMessage is superior to any Android messaging app. Google has made a mess of it’s many apps trying to compete.

        Facetime has no analogue for ease of use or ubiquity among iOS users. Skype is great, and there are many video-call apps. But Android has nothing like the strong default support among it’s users as FaceTime does among iOS.

        I like Google Docs. It’s great if you don’t have to print out the end result, or mail a proposal in it to a client. Office 365 and Apple’s iCloud Office (don’t know what they call Pages/Numbers/Keynote in the cloud) are just as good for collaborating and far better for creating attractive documents. Neither may be as popular as Google Docs, but it’s not a quality thing.

        Google Maps is better, but Apple Maps still captured and kept 2/3rd’s of the map business on iOS by virtue of being the default.

        Some google apps and services are better — some are not. Some of Microsoft’s are the best, some are not. Some of Apple’s are the best, some are not.

        If you buy a mac, iPhone or iPad — you have the most complete family of really nice first party apps: iMessage, FaceTime, iCloud, iPhotos, Garageband, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Find Friends, iTunes, Apple Music, Maps…and some nice pro offerings on top of all of these. And Continuity makes multi-device use a pleasure.

        Now you MAY choose to buy Apple hardware and mix and match the software and services among first party choices and best of breed offerings from the competition.

        If you buy a windows laptop, you don’t have as a default the same set of default apps. Microsoft wants to make money selling you office. And you can’t run any of the Apple apps and services (except iTunes, and iCloud web interface).

        If you buy an Android phone or laptop, you do not have nearly as nice a set of first party apps as Apple. But you have a fantastic set of Google cloud based apps and services. Those SAME services are available to iPhone users. But Android can’t run any of the first party Apple apps save Apple Music.

        Are you seeing the pattern? Apple has the one platform that has the best of everything. All of Apple’s exclusive apps (most free) and your choice of the competing apps and services.

        1. Again, the issue is to just be the hardware all the other great services run on. I’d like to see them have not just good enough apps and services but the best in key areas. That will help deepen the depency and loyalty with this generation.

          1. I’d say Apple does have the best software in some key areas. iMessages, FaceTime, Find Friends come to mind.

            But your theses is based on how well Chromebooks are doing in schools. That’s not happening because of how much better Google Docs is compared to iCloud apps (and Google Docs aren’t better at all). It’s because of the price and and form factor of the Chromebook which is really killing the PC and the Mac in that particular space.

            I don’t see any correlation to “internet apps” which run on any device and hardware loyalty. All of those Chromebook users could be running Office 365 or iCloud “Office” if they wanted too. I’d expect Msft to start marketing Office 365 for Chromebooks just like the market Office for iPad. Apple won’t bother because iWorks apps are one of Apple’s “why Macs/iPhones and iPads are so great” offerings. But in case you hadn’t looked, log into iCloud via your Chrome browser and see that you can cooperatively edit Pages/Numbers and Keynote files via the browser. And compare those to Google Docs and then tell me who’s got the better software. I believe it’s Apple….they just have a different business plan.


            We’ll see how badly this goes as I’ve set that document for anyone with a link can edit it. Check it out.

            While in “Beta”, the editing is already far superior to Google Docs.

            But while I contend that Msft, Google and others make great software that runs on Apple hardware – that in no way says “Apple is just a hardware maker now”. Apple has a comprehensive set of first party apps. It’s just a strength of Apple that they build such compelling platforms that even their competitors bring their best to Apple’s playground

          2. There are Windows machines priced the same as Chromebooks. The reason Chromebooks are successful is mainly security + ease of use + ease of admin. Price isn’t a distinctive advantage, at least vs Windows.

          3. Also, “best” is a vague definition.

            iMessage and Facetime fail at the basic job of messaging/videoing apps, which is to let me reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, because they’re iOS+Mac-only, which is about 10% of my contacts. If we put that major failing aside (by the way, Allo and Duo aren’t better on that score, between non-supported desktops and few users even on Android), I haven’t seen anything compelling about them, apart from them being the default and integrated into Apple’s Contacts. We’ve tried hard with my iBrother to move away from Skype (for the sake of it, I guess), but couldn’t find any other messaging apps that had a) all-platforms support (Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, ChromeOS) b) OK reliability (Hangout’s video chat kept failing or being ugly) c) persistent chat groups and d) free. Skype’s one missing feature is a picture viewer that’d let you navigate pics w/o having to go back to the conversation thread.

            I’m not sure what Find Friends is, and iBro is back to Canada (they’re loving the transition from +20°C to -20°C + back to school ;-p ), so that’ll have to wait till this summer.

            I’ve had a quick look at the iCloud document, nothing jumps at me as “a lot better than gDocs”, except the bigger formatting options on the right, which makes sense on a 19:9 screen. Care to be more specific ?

          4. Does Skype or Google whatever their version is, work without Skype or Google whatever their version is?


          5. No. But both Skype and Hangouts do work (=can be installed) on any modern (the traditional OS quintet, Skype even has Linux support) device. That’s better than all those newfangled mobile-only apps, and even better than that iOS-only app ^^

          6. I think that it maybe better to measure loyalty by the willingness to spend money, rather than usage alone. The same could be said for the definition of “best”.

            Keep in mind that the demographic group that you are studying will not have much money to spend and will generally be attracted to free stuff.

          7. ??? I can’t be loyal to, say, a TV show/director/actor, because those are ad-funded ?

          8. You can compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Just be careful when comparing apples to oranges.

            Comparing loyalty to free apps with loyalty to expensive phones is similarly hazardous.

          9. Aren’t we comparing ecosystem to ecosystem ? Is it more onerous to change from iOS to Android, or from iOffice to gDocs ? Is what matters money spent, or ecosystem stickiness/lock-in due to switching costs (monetary, time, skills, network effects…) ?

          10. I’m always wondering about that: do devices exists independently of their ecosystems ?

            I personally don’t care about devices. I’ve got 3 tablets and 4 phones under my nose right now, only one of them has a monetary value above anecdotal (and even that one, around $100 at resale, $200 new), yet all 7 devices see some daily use. Are devices relevant, except as handbags (or cameras) ?

            I used to think I didn’t even care about the OS devices run: an OS’s job was to launch apps, so OS wasn’t very relevant. Even back in the PC vs Mac heydays, I never saw something that could be done on one but not the other (I’m sure there are, at the margins).
            Now that OSes are more of a constrain of what apps can do and how they do it, and offer richer built-in functionality (alerts, payments, …) maybe that’s less true. But I still mostly don’t notice OEM variations on Android, nor which version of Windows a PC runs – as long as alt-tab works and there’s a list of apps somewhere.

            I’m sure I could use any mobile OS / device. What keeps me with Android is not the devices, nor the OS, but my investment in terms of knowledge, apps, media, documents, workflow… I’m sure Apple broadly agrees, or iMessage and the rest would be cross-platform ;-p

        2. The issue is that Apple is 3-4x more expensive than Midrange stuff that runs equivalent apps and services. I’m not against paying 3-4x more, but then I want something 3-4x better, not just the same but proprietary.

          And if iOS’s share keeps bombing, that proprietariness will run afoul of network effects: what good is a good-looking doc, or a messaging app, if 85% of users can’t access it ?

      2. Apple, in my opinion, is a hardware and OS company. It is a company that profits by enabling 3rd parties to create great apps upon its platform. Application software like iWork were initially developed to demonstrate how powerful the APIs and underlying OS was to 3rd parties (remember how graphically advances “Keynote” was, compared to Powerpoint), and to encourage them to develop apps specifically for the Mac (instead of heart-heartedly ported apps). Application software is not a priority for Apple, except where the apps can be considered to constitute part of the OS.

        Therefore, my understanding is that Apple’s priority is to ensure that the apps on iOS are better than their Android counterparts, and/or there are a significant number of great iOS-only apps. If the world is moving towards the Cloud, then Apple’s priority is to ensure that iOS is the best platform on which to develop Cloud apps. Apple does not need to be the best app developer or the best Cloud provider or have the best Services.

        The question then is, whether or not iOS is the best platform to develop Cloud apps. Is iOS the platform of choice for startups developing the next big Cloud service? Are iOS apps generally better than their Android counterparts? I would argue that Apple is doing quite a lot and being very successful.

    3. I think that was true when devices were showing rampant growth. Now that both the market in general and Apple’s share of it are weakening, the obvious strategy is to start milking existing users, ie sell them more services (and make sure devices obsolesce at some point)

      1. Yes, darn that Apple making devices obsolete so quickly. My youngest teenager is using an iPhone 4S (from 2011). That’s only six years of use! Terrible! Bad Apple! Bad! #sarcasm

      2. Yes, but milking existing users does not equal making first party apps and services. 3rd parties are going to pay you 30%!! Now that’s what I call a great business.

        1. It is, but margins on services are usually 50+%, so doing it first-party is probably better, when you can be successful. If it’s worthwhile for someone to give you a 30% cut, it means total profits for them are above that…

          1. You’re cheating, VC-sponsored money losers don’t count as businesses. That includes Uber ;-p

  2. There is nothing new in this analysis. Has the iPhone ever been driven by Apple’s first part apps? Ever? Did Apple ever have a competitive alternative to Facebook? (Ping anyone?)

    Basically, this is a rehash of “the web makes hardware unimportant, therefore Linux will rule on the desktop”. It’s the same argument.

    Apple is in the hardware business…at least, that’s where Apple chooses to monetize it’s platform (for the most part). Apple isn’t trying to live on Google’s ad sales. Apple isn’t trying to live on Microsoft’s Office sales. Apple (and Google with Android) stole Microsoft’s opportunity to make money selling mobile os licenses. Apple has taken Samsung’s opportunity to rule in the profitable mobile hardware market.

    So far, nobody is taking away Apple’s money making business: hardware. With the iPhone/iPad/Mac: Apple gets to make it’s money, and Msft makes it’s software money, and Google makes it’s ad money, and Facebook makes it’s ad money. Other than frustrating Msft and Google who wish to own and control the entire future of computing…all of the tech software companies are quite able to simultaneously win on Apple’s hardware. Too bad for Samsung, Sony, HTC and the like trying to make money on mobile hardware.

    Apple can’t possibly win in services because Apple doesn’t monetize it’s services. Apple has Pages/Numbers/Keynote in the cloud and it’s nicer than Google docs (as is Msft Office 365). But Apple offerings will never have broad acceptance because they are tied to Apple hardware (which is in Apple’s best interest). So of COURSE Google Docs and Office 365 will be more compelling.

    But – Apple is fairly keen on finding a few things that are important and unique to Apple and drive a compelling use case…without needing to dominate EVERY software use case. To wit: iMessage, Facetime, Find Friends and iCloud. All of these make it very hard for an iPhone use to switch. On the other hand, Google Docs works on Windows PC’s, Macs, iPads, iPhones…removing them as a point of loyalty.

    Google Maps is a powerful case study for who has the power. Google withheld turn by turn voice navigation from iOS prompting Apple to create Apple Maps. Doesn’t matter that at first Apple maps was a disaster, it forced Google’s hand to full support the iPhone. Ever since, Google has provided a first rate experience for all of it’s apps and services….those that aren’t hampered by some iOS rule or architecture.

    Likewise, Msft tried to use Office as an inducement for Surface sales. Fast forward – and it’s Apple running iPad Pro ads touting their great Msft Office experience.

    The exception is Apple Music on Android which is the analogue to iTunes on Windows. The exception that proves the rule….and prove’s Apple’s pragmatism. If you exist to sell content (iTunes downloads, Apple music streaming), you have to be on the big competitor platform. Other than that, Apple’s apps and services are all about making Apple hardware worth the premium Apple charges.

    Chromebooks do not change this in anyway. They are a disruptive force among education pc/mac status quo. The price of the iPad has limited it’s opportunity in that role.

  3. Great observations, and a good explanation to my post that was primarily observational and not meant to be some great prognostication. It would be really interesting to try to gather opinions from grade and middle schoolers, as many of them have such different attitudes towards technology than us grownups. I remember when I worked at Polaroid, we’d hand new cameras to grade schoolers and use their experiences to refine the product and instructions. They were much more helpful than using adults to test.

    I think you hit it on the head with the cloud services that accompany the Chromebook, which add so much value to the education process.

  4. Ok, a second stab. If I understand your thesis: Chromebooks are doing very well in school and these kids are growing up with the wonders of web apps, particularly Google Docs. This experience will lead to these kids preferring, if not Chromebooks, then at least web apps relegating Apple to a hardware company.

    If I’ve misstated your thesis, please correct me.

    Web apps/services predate the iPhone. Google Docs came out the same year as the iPhone. In a world where all computer users had long switched to the web app model years before – the iPhone was released. The original iPhone was thought to be a web app platform by Jobs (or so we are told).

    And yet, a year later we have the app store and the sdk and apps came to rule mobile and have never given that up. I somehow doubt that the generation of <13yr old school children are going to grow up any more attached to web apps than the entire computing community knowing nothing BUT web apps (and a FEW exceptions like Office and Photoshop).

    I'd say we already have great historical evidence that web apps don't drive loyalty to any particular platform.

    But wait, there has been a great improvement in the "docs in the web" since Google launchd it's Google Docs revolution in 2007. Msft and Apple both have merged their respective office suites with local apps and web apps that can be used interchangeably. Their online office apps are much nicer than google's and their on-device apps are orders of magnitude better than Google's.

    As such, I doubt that web apps in general, or google docs in particular are going to take children from Chromebooks to android phones to…well, I guess back to Chromebooks, but now running Android apps (badly).

    1. Part of the problem is that Cook, et. al., have expressed that services are to be a more important addition and growth driver for the bottom line. If Apple doesn’t drastically improve those areas, that is problematic for that goal.


      1. Yes, Tim Cook has said that services are important for their bottom line. However, this already implies a difference from Google. Google’s services do not contribute directly to their bottom line at all, because virtually all the money that they make comes from advertising.

        By “service revenue”, Tim Cook is talking about Music/Video revenue, App Store revenue (which will include iMessage apps and importantly 3rd party subscriptions), iCloud Drive extra storage revenue (driven by online backups, photos and “Documents & Desktop in the cloud”), Apple Pay, etc. He is not talking about iCloud email or iWork per se.

        Also note that “stickiness” will not show up directly on Apple’s bottom line.

        For most other “service” players like Google, Dropbox, Facebook, etc., growing their business means getting more people to use their 1st party software/services (even when revenue comes from ads). For Apple however, growing service revenue means being the preferred platform on which 3rd parties build their businesses upon.

        Spotify, although a competitor to Apple Music, pays 30% of their revenue to the App Store. If Spotify gains new users by creating a vastly better streaming service that Apple Music cannot match, then Apple’s service revenue will increase.

        When Tim Cook says they want to increase service revenue, it means something totally different from wanting to be like Facebook or Google.

        1. So, Apple should depend on third parties to generate revenue, not their own ability to create appealing services. Okay.


          1. It’s kind of a balancing act. Apple’s ability to compete in non-system apps and cloud services is iffy at best, so they do need 3rd parties to fill the void. Until some Appler decides it’s a priority and partners get shafted.

            A lot of ink is being spilled about Google’s stuff being ad-supported. Most of Apple’s apps are plain free, and even then they utterly fail to get any kind of traction outside of Apple’s walled garden, and sometimes even within it. Safari/Windows has been killed (never was any good); nobody uses iTunes on Windows who doesn’t have to because iPhone; ditto Apple cloud apps.

            Within the walled garden, gMaps’ share is way higher than 3rd-party mapping apps on Android. Ditto mail, Office, … even Safari is struggling, even though Chrome’s core is barred from iOS so Chrome/iOS is just Chrome’s UI tacked on Safari’s engine (or not even that but a special hobbled version for 3rd parties, I’m not sure if they undid that trick or not).
            All those are really basic core apps. Not sweeping the field on your home turf is a red flag.

            There’s a potential upside there for Apple, but they’ve been mostly failing to grab it for the last decade. Since they don’t seem to have any plans to increase management bandwidth, things are probably going to stay the same. And it’s probably wise, Apple’s forte is designing and selling devices, focusing on something else might result in dropping that ball. Let’s classify content as services to spruce up that pig and leave it at that ;-p

          2. If Apple goes and creates great apps, then they’ll inevitably compete with a 3rd party developer. The term used to be “Sherlocked”.

            Unless they really want to provide it as part of the hardware/OS, or they need to showcase an OS feature, I really think Apple is better off not doing these things.

            And yes, from a profit generating perspective, it’s better too.

      2. Meh, they can also make it harder for 3rd parties to compete, and extract more money for services from their users.
        It’s very telling that Apple never talks about getting service revenue outside of iOS users. That would signal an aggressive Services business. Their current stance is to just milk more money out of users reeled in via devices and ecosystem, services are just an add-on to that.

    2. I would simply say that Google Docs appeals to Generation Z because it is free-of-charge. Once they start working, chances are that their company will be paying for Office 365.

      If you are in a University dormitory, skimping for your tuition, writing documents to share with your friends, then you’ll go for the cheapest option (unless the option affects your chances of going out with a date). If you’re really serious about your choice of office suite, and your company’s business depends on it, then paying a few $100 per year does not seem outrageous any more.

      1. It is also the millennials (and tech companies, BTW), and likely to continue with GenZ, who are driving Google Drive, Open Office, and other non-Apple services usage in the workplace, no matter the companies’ propensity to purchase Office or Office 365. They don’t magically stop using Google Drive, et al, just because they graduate. They will continue to use what works best for them. Instead of BYOD, it is quickly becoming (and in many cases has been) BYOS. You can’t BYOS with Apple services of ANY kind unless _everyone_ is on Apple devices. Even if that is only a perception, Apple has to fight it to expand services from simply music. I don’t think they are prepared for that, never mind capable.


        1. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my current job, I could potentially be fired for sharing documents with Google Docs instead of using our corporate sharepoint or shared drives. For companies that work with sensitive client information, I would expect that to be the norm.

      2. But then, when you graduate to a Real Job, MS Office is no longer the only possible option. There’s a reason why MS has such huge discounts for edu; and MS Office is not better for everything. I find I can do 80% of my stuff in gDocs just fine, and more importantly, I find that most people can do 100% of theirs, much more simply, with easier sharing and collaboration. (*)

        Plus MS Office doesn’t quite mesh with our increasingly mobile-centric IT. Opening MS Office docs on a phone is a lot more painful than opening gDocs: most people don’t have the app, the whole gestalt is about desktop, the docs usually don’t reflow nicely…

        (*) I tried gDocs macros and couldn’t get a hang of it though, javascript is brainf*ck to me ( )

        1. Recent statistic show that Google Docs is already losing out to Office 365. For larger companies, Google Docs market share growth is trending in the wrong direction.

          1. I’m sure it is, since Office Online/Mobile is fairly recent and still catching up.
            What about the other way around: is the usage of gDocs in companies progressing ? Especially in companies that support or just allow it ?
            I found 2 articles:

            I seems MS is catching up where “old” Office rules (large corps), but Google is progressing where it doesn’t.

    3. You actually demonstrate why Chromebooks use in school is relevant: you talk of web apps as if they were different and inferior, which hasn’t been true for a while thanks to extensions to JavaScript & HTML such as local storage, jit compilation, APIs to hardware and OS features… The old canard that Chromebooks only work online and for simple stuff is still around though not as much as before.
      Kids who have been using Chromebooks, and parents who have paid attention, probably know what Chromebooks can do now.

      As for running Android apps badly, give it a bit if time on the OS and apps side. And keep in mind that the alternatives are not running iOS apps on Macs, or running nonexistent Metro apps on Windows 🙂

    4. All of this is client/server and goes back to the mainframe. Nothing really new here. In my opinion it has it’s place, but it’s also an abdication of the personal control that put the letter P in PC. There were very real reasons for the PC, they have not gone away.

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