Where are Apple’s weaknesses? First, Apple is a hardware company. Competitors have other revenue streams of notoriety. Google has a search engine and YouTube. Samsung has televisions (and refrigerators). Amazon has cloud services. Microsoft has touchscreen notebook tablets, and cloud services.
What else can Apple do to compete?
Quick. Name the world’s largest video service? CNN? FOX? ABC, CBS, NBC, or BBC? Japan’s NHK? CNTV in China? Nope. None of the above. It’s Google’s YouTube, now with YouTube Red (for those of you with money to burn) and YouTube TV (think cable TV from 1999 but streaming). YouTube is a huge platform and churns out more video streams than anyone else. It has no real competition in the free world.
Quick. Name the world’s largest search engine? Again, Google. And, again, there isn’t much real competition in the free world, despite Microsoft’s desire to lose a few billion a year on Bing.
OK, here we go. What does Apple need?
First, how about private and secure search engine that could compete with Google. DuckDuckGo and a few billion dollars comes to mind. Integrate DuckDuckGo with Wikipedia, Twitter, even Yahoo! and Bing, Ask.com, and a few others of worthy consideration, to provide an iCloud customer search engine with more privacy and security options– like, no tracking across websites in Safari. Think StartPage but done Apple’s way.
Second, how about some Apple branded television. No, not televisions like the ones made by Samsung. That’s a brutal hardware business and the technology changes even faster than iPhones. No, the competition here is YouTube and streaming TV services like Sling and YouTube TV. Apple can do a streaming TV service, too, again aimed at customers, perhaps bundled with Apple Music and iCloud.
Third, Apple TV. No, not hardware, but just as YouTube and Vimeo are platforms for user generated content, Apple TV could do the same thing, but curated– channels with exclusive and user generated content, advertising supported, of course, but without all the tracking mechanisms built in that scare discreet viewers.
Apple is big enough and has enough customers to pull this off.
Amateur videographers and video bloggers (vloggers) need a platform, and while YouTube is cluttered and littered with, well, video litter, Apple could easily curate a clean, well-organized counterpart to the growing rubbish on YouTube– Vimeo-like, but bigger and better.
Where would the content come from, you ask? Apple customers. Apple could add upload options to Photos, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro (which would instantly be copied by other video tool app developers), and make available a wider variety of themes so even boring topics would look and sound good.
And, like the App Store, a little curation goes a long, long way.
Caveats? Problems? Yes.
Apple would have to compete against Google’s YouTube which is already entrenched as the video leader, so getting enough content to be worthwhile would be a major challenge. Buying Vimeo would be a start. Just call it Apple TV and not Apple Tube.