We are now only 2 weeks away from a new dawn for Apple, and they have the cards stacked in their favour
In it to win it
At the time of writing, we are just eighteen days out from laying eyes on Apple’s Mixed Reality headset for the first time. WWDC 5th June really is a date for your diary!
As with artificial intelligence, Apple is not the first past the post when it comes to AR headsets – it’s just not their style. Better to best than first is often their motto it appears. But, make no mistake, when it does finally come to market, Apple has one huge advantage already up their sleeves, and that is the ready-built services division of the company.
Expectations are super-charged and you just know that no matter what, there are bound to be some who have nothing positive to say when it is unveiled, but Apple has certainly put themselves in a prime position for a successful launch.
All under one roof
Although we are expecting an eye-wateringly high price for this high-end headset they have a huge advantage in place with the services which in essence means they can release hardware and software built and developed for purpose. They will not need to rely upon or be let down by any third-party suppliers. It will be their vision through and through.
Quietly in the background as other divisions of the company may have ebbed and flowed, Apple’s services have grown from strength to strength and it now sits very healthily on their end-of-year balance sheet.
Putting some numbers on it, last year their services sector which includes the App Store, Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+ and Apple Music generated $79.4 billion! That kind of revenue put them ahead of Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing, Intel and Nike – and this is just services don’t forget!
Indeed, it’s only the iPhone that earns the company more and services are a reliable stream of passive income. Whilst not bullet-proof, it’s pretty damned resilient. And long before all these smaller divisions were brought together under one banner they had already started to play a huge part in the tech companies success. Their ecosystem was built on these apps and services.
The headset will be Apple’s first entirely new category since 2104 and Apple Watch. And with each new division – iPhone, iPad or the Watch, Apple then goes about building an infrastructure around it. But the beauty is, they never, or rarely need to reinvent the wheel but re-purpose existing technologies. Apps migrating from iPhone to iPad to Apple Watch – you get the idea.
And by showcasing the headset at this summer’s developers’ conference Apple will position itself perfectly as they start to build the next ecosystem. They will give as many developers as much time as possible at WWDC to get their hands or heads around how the headset works and functions. In this way when the mixed reality headset goes on sale later this year, the apps and services will be built ready and waiting to go along with it.
And because of it yet more revenue will stream to the already profitable services section of the business.
Focus on the goal
When you think of or look at the AR/VR space in general, where does your mind immediately go? Media consumption – games, fitness and movies.
What does Apple already have ready and waiting? Apple Arcade, Music, TV+ and Fitness+. It’s a match made in heaven! Where other companies would need to build from the ground up, outsource or licence content, they have it all lined up – and don’t underplay what a massive advantage that will be.
I have written about it before but rarely anything that Apple does ends up having happened by mistake. What are the chances that when Apple TV+ was launched in 2018 that the seed was already being sown for its future integration with the headset that was already in development?
And the same would be true of Apple Fitness+. Assuming the headset is ergonomically efficient enough to be worn during workouts, the idea of working out in the Santa Monica studios with your trainer, or jogging in a lovely, sunny woodland whilst we are in the depths of winter – your workout future looks pretty bright, although the same cannot be said for the outlook for bricks and mortar gyms though.
Now it comes into focus why Apple has been so busy buying up rights to live sports too. Major League Soccer and Baseball are already on Apple’s TV schedule and it’s easy to understand why. I have made videos explaining how it will be easy enough to be transported to the sports stadium itself pitch or court-side as if watching the game in person. That is the reality we will soon be living via the headset and Apple already has two prime sports in place to showcase the Apple Vision to its best advantage.
We can carry on too – with movies and Apple TV+ content. Not only will you be able to watch content on a massive screen or in another location, but via SharePlay you’ll be able to extend that experience with friends and family as well. And who’s to say that Apple won’t put on large concerts or music festivals where you can be front and centre with the best seats in the house – possibly even with backstage access too? Headset users will be on Apple’s VIP ‘AAA’ list for certain.
None of what I have written is too far-fetched. They have the hardware with the headset, abundant services and an almost bottomless pit of money to make this thing work.
A massive part of Apple’s services arm is iCloud which has been in the making forever and is now a pretty slick and well-oiled machine.
With the blink of an eye, you’ll have access to all your stored files and data. Rolling news is a distinct possibility with Apple News – a 24/7 ticker tape rolling along the bottom of your screen being a real possibility.
The venerable old App Store will get a new lease of interactive life thanks to the headset. It will be a case of walk-in and try before buying. The limits seem boundless.
And you know there is one other service which might just get your tick at checkout as well – the one we all deliberate over whether we should or shouldn’t – Apple Care. I tell you what at around $3000 I think I’d be tempted to safeguard my purchase!
Services was made for the headset and vice-versa. The headset will be an experience-driven device and Apple is in a prime position to strike.
Of course, it’s not built just yet, but they will be able to build the support network this headset craves faster, quicker and more efficiently than anyone.
Not only will it earn the company more passive recurring income but it will smoothly pave the road to make the headset an almost overnight sensation. Where others have faltered, Apple can fly.
With the headsets price point being so high it’s tough to bandy around the word value but with the almost ready-and-waiting ecosystem ready to explode it sure adds value to it – and what are the odds that the take-up on an Apple One bundle doesn’t go through the roof too when the headset is out among us? All the headset-perfect services for around $30 a month – now that is value!
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