the good, the bad and the debt

Apple services: the good, the bad and the debt

Nobody has an obligation to hurry anything, when you don’t owe. In the case of Apple, which dedicated an entire presentation in its sumptuous auditorium to talk about services, it is worth reflecting on how the company is addressing this issue – and others, as there is inevitably more business needing attention on our list.

Thanks to the devices that Mark Zuckerberg and company (to avoid controversies, I will mention only these by name …) have been doing in recent years, working with services has become a complex topic.

They are still a very effective way for internet companies to move long-term sustainable finance, deliver convenience with quick iteration, reach a wider audience with affordable plans (often free) and are fertile ground for the evolution of emerging technologies, being artificial intelligence the big ball this time. But the services we get used to dealing with daily are marked by their obscure details; in what I quote indirectly above, privacy and safety are two examples of fundamental aspects that have been beaten in a scandal truck, for example.

Which brings us to the proverbial English question: «What’s the catch?» Or, in the case of Apple, where do these bastards want to go with Apple News +, Apple Arcade, Apple Card and news in the TV business, with Apple TV +?

We could immediately conclude that it is nowhere. The Apple News + of now is partly a relaunch of Texture (in the process of closing) within an app that iOS has had for four years. The others don’t even have an exact release date. And Apple will not be funny with its history of use in the devices it sells; instead, it bets on privacy and security as two of its main attractions.

Despite this, when cleaning the oven to make a presentation outside the script like last month, focused on solutions that were more exposed as ideas than concrete, Apple showed haste to want to establish its portfolio in the market. And the most important question here is whether she gets it right now.

Apple Pay, Apple Music and Apple TV – in addition to Apple Arcade – are fine

Apple devices logged into Apple Music

And they are – at least, for this one who writes to you. I am a user of the first three and I like the experience I have. The Apple Arcade may not be ready, but since the company is going to launch it in more than 100 countries this year, chances are great that I will be able to evaluate it and amend this article with a final verdict – anyway, his proposal too it’s good.

To justify my point of view about them, it is worth remembering the seven-point approach used by Tim Cook to explain how the company’s services should work.

Regarding the title examples, there is nothing serious being ignored in any of them. Apple Pay is conceptually excellent for users (considering that your bank accepts it, of course) and Apple Music shows constant signs of progress where it needs to evolve, in addition to leaving behind aspects that were not good when it was launched in 2014. Both will be the company’s flagship services for a long time – the second, by the way, already has numbers that prove this thesis.

Apple TV

Let’s talk more about Apple TV, as it was the one who received attention at the last event. Apple has faced competition in its segment since its first launch, as both it and all its rivals come from a history of unsuccessful attempts to try to make a good offer of entertainment over the internet. So, there is no way that your box will one day be significantly superior to other offers on the market – there are zillions of brands of TVs and accessories for them, like the popular Google Chromecast, for example.

The price of the equipment, compared to the offerings of these manufacturers, is a limiting factor that Apple mitigates when distributing its content app to hardware partners. In addition, investing in original content, especially with high-caliber stars in the squad, requires as much distribution as possible; unfortunately, Apple TVs alone would not be enough for the expected audience for the new series.

Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K

in Apple

Cash price: from R $ 1,169.10Installed price: up to 12x R $ 108.25Launch: September 2017 (5th generation)

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These were decisions with consequences, as expected: the shudder of relations with Netflix has already been noticed. But in the long run, Apple’s original channels and series can work well. These are good increments for the company’s entertainment offer, now with the potential to grow and become more consistent around the world.

As for Apple TV itself (the box), there are good indications that its platform will have a revamped offering of games: in addition to the Apple Arcade being promised to the box of Apple, Google promises to take its recently launched offer of games per streaming (Stadia) to any place that serves YouTube – although I don’t bet my chips on Apple TV as one of the priorities, but we can wait.

iCloud, Apple Maps, Apple News and Siri are bad

Viewing files on Mac, iPhone and iPad

How bad? Well, it depends on who you ask.

Even though your file synchronization on iCloud Drive is perfect and Apple Maps does not send you to an atoll in the middle of the Atlantic when looking for an address in the next neighborhood, there are fundamental problems in these guys that Apple preferred not to prioritize at this time. I don’t know about you, but I see Apple’s problem with services at a level that precedes (and a lot) recent events. And that’s where it doesn’t show a good image.

About iCloud, it bothers the fact that it does not use two trams that are fundamental to the popularity of the apps it has: schools and companies. Last year, Apple even improved its offerings for the education sector, offering cheaper iPads and creating reference curriculum for educators; in the corporate sector, there are giant partnerships like SAP, Salesforce, IBM, Accenture and so on.

On the other hand, do you see someone in an office or classroom working on documents on iWork? It is not as if it were impossible: if you or your colleagues use Windows, you can access files made in Pages, Numbers or Keynote in the web browser of your choice. However, Apple does not directly attack the heavily consolidated Microsoft Office (which recently arrived at the Mac Ap Store) and G Suite, which offer cloud collaboration and storage plans with better options and file and folder-based workflows – which are what these markets really need.

Apple Teacher - teacher with student

While it is not an impacting scenario for Apple to be successful with its products, it is bad for Apple that it has differentiating factors for choice in companies and schools. It is past time for iCloud to make the leap in that direction. Why are new solutions, such as Classroom and Apple Teacher, better separate than bundled with a single family of cloud apps, allowing Apple to consistently explore them across diverse audiences?

Speaking of consistency, Maps, News and Siri are knocked out for lack of it. Just look at this page on the company’s website. As much as the three have their strengths, it bothers the fact that everyone is thought out carefully and carefully for the United States first and then (but long after) to the rest of the world – with cuts and leaving much to be desired.

And the worst: companies that start after Apple, big or small, tend to go far ahead of it with some competitors in less time. A Portuguese news outlet, for example, could already move to support a reasonable Apple news service at this point. Even though he didn’t have big newspapers and magazines 100% made for him – after all, in the USA, PDFs of many of them were accepted.

We can even take a quiet break to put aside the boring inconsistencies. Let’s say I can survive without subscribing to Apple News + magazines, or without virtually browsing São Paulo’s shopping malls on Maps (spoiler: I can). Currently, it is in the nature of online services to have a common denominator of functions that are minimally good for a large audience, something that Tim Cook and company have not done. Minimal things, like making sure you can speak to Siri in public without the fear that she will fail in simple questions, or being able to see information about a location on Apple Maps being corrected with your help, which he is not yet aware of. good.

Even in these matters, the company does little, very little, for those who want to present excellence in services. Events like the week before last, in which only one of the new ones was really ready for the day, would not have to show solutions to all problems at once; but even without meaning to, they compromise that message by adding more distractions to a portfolio that lacks consistency.

Where Apple owes

MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone X and Apple TV running beta systems

By definition, Apple is a platform company – all of which are already consolidated in the segments in which they operate. It is not bad that she is betting more on new services and wants to present them differently: after all, they form a fundamental pillar in what makes her products continue to be purchased. The moment, however, is to pay attention to two other pillars: hardware and software, which Cook himself highlighted to the public at the end of last month.

The truth is that Apple comes from errors, some of them crass, in dealing with its hardware and software, which used to be a reference in quality. I can quickly quote the fiasco involving the announcement and the death of the porter AirPower, the insistence with a format of keyboard for MacBooks which remains bound to fail after three generations in use, and exposure to the market for new products such as the iPad Pro and HomePod, with software features that have been postponed to iOS 13 or that still do not meet expectations, even with hardware tip.

Eventually, these stumbling blocks will be overcome – even if they are not filled with any equivalent solution, as is certainly the case with AirPower. But with so much to pay attention to, several areas and services that already exist with opportunities for improvement, it is questionable that Apple has chosen to open the year to the public with several new promises and few concrete and defined commitments. The motivation for this clearly came from recent conversations with investors, repercussions from revisions on sales growth and a slowdown in hardware sales.

Wall StreetWall Street | Image:

As others say, I believe that the financial market is driven by fear and greed. They are not the best values ​​to guide the choices to be made in a company – even more when it serves a community of people who were moved to care about the quality and the care about what is produced, these are certainly worthy of commitment, in first place.

Returning to the sentence that started this text: despite the regrets, Apple shouldn’t rush anything through Wall Street – growing or not, with a crisis or not. They may even be content with rushing ads or presenting business plans. But fear and greed can change everything any day and any time.

Meanwhile, there are people who deserve products with a better experience to … type words. For someone who makes computers, wouldn’t that be something to think about with a sense of urgency?

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