Way back when Apple was more social than it is today. Can you say AppleLink? Can you say eWorld? Both are footnotes in history and good examples of what happens when hardware companies stray a little too far off the successfully beaten path. Well, here we are in 2016, a few years removed from iTunes Ping, and Apple might be getting ready to go social again.
Late To The Party
I’m not sure if it’s because Apple prefers to be fashionably late or has some kind of social anxiety, but the company sure has a record of being late to the party. Apple eventually attends nearly every technology party you can think of and either becomes the Prom Queen or the wallflower no one remembers.
iPod and iTunes? Lots of competition back then, but Apple was elected Prom Queen and ruled for a decade. Years later, Apple’s Ping was heralded as a mashup of Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes but the definition didn’t matter because nobody used wallflower Ping. Instead, Apple relegated basic social network apps like Facebook and Twitter to built-in status, but still seems to have social aspirations that match the company’s social anxiety syndrome.
Word on the streets tells me that someone at Apple did a count and there are a billion users out there with iPhone and iPad cameras, and all those numbers might add up to some kind of Snapchat-cum-Instagram social media service that encompasses video sharing. Uh huh. Sure. OK. Yawn.
How many ways do people need to share videos online to friends, family, co-workers, gawkers, and stalkers? From Instagram to Snapchat to Facebook and a few dozen more, the world now has more online videos than it has humans (unofficial survey mixed in with some napkin math and exactly two too many cocktails at Rickhouse down the street from the office), yet Apple’s executives want to go all Zuckerberg on the customer base with Ping for video because one-billion iPhone cameras.
Give it up, Apple. This is not what you do.
First, there’s hardware. Then, there’s software. Combining the two into a wonderfully usable user experience is Apple’s raison d’etre. So, Apple, build hardware, and build the software than runs on the hardware, but leave the social stuff to those who care about such things, and remember– outside of Facebook, who else makes any money? Remember, Apple. You’re all about making money.
Alright, that said, I can see you creating an addition to the iPhone’s camera app that makes it easier to share videos; think Meerkat and Periscope meet FaceTime. The problem is the math. Yes, Apple, you have a billion customers that use the iPhone camera, but each one of those customers already has twenty-eleven places to share videos and photos and one more just adds to the clutter. What problem are you solving?
If you think you can do video editing and sharing better than everyone else, Apple, then go for it. But if whatever you do comes out like iMovie on iPhone and isn’t easier to use than YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram, then what’s the point?