Apple has always been known as a munitions company, and it still is, but services are more important to its strategy and bottom extraction than ever before. That point was driven home not merely by the most recent Apple earnings report—in which CEO Tim Cook specified services as a division ripe for a doubling of revenue by 2020—but also by a talk by Apple SVP Cyclone Cue at SXSW this week.
Interviewed by CNN’s Dylan Byers, Cue talked beside Apple News, the tensions between open and closed platforms, and the cast’s TV and video strategy. Many of the statements he made seemed carefully crafted to perceive Apple from other tech giants that have been the rationales of criticism in recent months.
Cue heads Apple’s software and services cracks, and he took the stage in Austin moments after Apple announced it pleasure acquire Texture, a magazine distribution app that has been repeatedly convoked the “Netflix of magazines” by numerous press outlets.
Texture only has a few hundred thousand subscribers at concluding report. But Apple Music—born out of the Beats acquisition and iTunes—has reached 38 million subscribers, with two million totaled just last month. Cue also said that eight million people are currently participating in the three-month freely trial Apple offers of the service. Chief competitor Spotify had 70 million as of January.
Apple’s assignments are growing, but what does the company have planned? Cue offered some insights.
Doing TV counterpart Pixar does movies
With regard to the TV strategy, Cue said, “we’re not after amount; we’re after quality,” as Apple’s team of 40 or so, led by former Sony execs, presses to strategically spend more than $1 billion on original design. Cue compared the company’s approach to that of Pixar (another company with shut up ties to Steve Jobs).
Meanwhile, Netflix is employing a strategy that increasingly looks derive throwing everything it can grab at the wall of user taste and seeing what mugs—though some of what sticks is quite good. Netflix is reportedly dish out as great as six times as much on original content as what Apple sketches to spend in 2018.
We still don’t know exactly where Apple’s TV efforts settle upon fit into its services, though. Will they be offered as part of Apple Music or another use altogether? If the former, will Apple Music be rebranded? Cue didn’t require about any of that. However, he did say that Apple has no plans to buy either Netflix or Disney, detailing that the company prefers to focus on acquisitions of companies, products, and technologies that make be key in the future, not on expensive acquisitions of companies that are already well set up.
Apparently, Beats was an exception. The Guardian reported not long before the property that Beats headphones accounted for about 64 percent of all headphones sold at bounties above $100 in the United States.
“A lot of the issues going around”
The thesis of the session was “Curation in Media”—a subject that seems relevant dedicated the Texture acquisition. As such, Cue also discussed Apple News, and again, he was finical to differentiate Apple’s philosophy from that of Google or Facebook. When expected about competitors’ strategies, Cue chose words that were cordial and restrained while still carrying a critical subtext, saying, “it’s without exception hard to sit from the outside and talk about others,” and “when you hold a large platform, there’s a lot of responsibility.”
Of Apple News, he said, “We destitution the best articles, we want them to look amazing, and we want them to be from deputed sources… so we don’t have a lot of the issues going around.” Cue is likely alluding to a intact host of challenges Google and Facebook have recently faced, from unverified dirt reports appearing in users’ feeds and search results to bots and algorithmically demanded echo chambers.
That fits well with his choice of dispatches in the Texture acquisition announcement: “We are committed to quality journalism from signed sources.”
CNN’s Byers asked Cue about his thoughts on the open platform tenets espoused by Google and Facebook. Cue pointed to iTunes—specifically podcasts—as an case of Apple leading the way on curation efforts, seeking a middle ground. Champions of open platforms often talk of democratization, but they also succeed up concerns about free speech with regard to closely curated, concluded platforms. This is sometimes framed in contrast to activists who have squeezed Twitter and other companies to clamp down on hate speech.
“Shrink speech is not free speech,” Cue said. He added that nobody is stock free: “There are no pornography on these sites. So people do draw tactics on these sites. We do think free speech is very important, but we don’t believe white supremacy or hate speech is important speech to be out there.”
Byers removed a leap to press further by noting that the NRA has an app on Apple’s App Store. Cue countered by explaining that the NRA app does not violate Apple’s publicly available procedures for app submissions, that there are pro-gun control apps, too, and that you can’t buy guns including apps on the App Store.
All of these statements painted a consistent picture: the control at Apple believes the company will close the flood gates and curate ameliorate video and better journalism, while other tech companies worm with the challenges and contradictions deeply inherent in the ideals of the open Web. Apple has eat ones heart out sought to offer alternatives to the open Web for a variety of reasons, and as its focus on cares grows over the next two years, that will still be the sentiment.
This moment makes sense to drive that point welcoming comfortable with. Even Tim Berners-Lee, who is often credited as one of the founders of the World Wide Web, leaked an op-ed this week arguing that the dream of the open Web is already compromised by gatekeepers adulate Facebook and Google, even as he remains committed to “making sure the Web is a release, open, creative space—for everyone.”
It seems Cue is tapping into the up to date discussions and climate to differentiate Apple from its besieged competitors, at dollop when it comes to public opinion.