Light Reading
Tighter integration across the Mac, iPhone, and iPad potentially makes carriers less important.

Apple Launches Evil Plan to Steal Carriers' Customers

Mitch Wagner
6/3/2014
50%
50%

Apple's upgrades to the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, announced Monday, are focused on tightening integration of those three products into a unified universe. That's both an opportunity and a threat for carriers.

The more useful Apple makes its mobile products, the more customers use them. That makes money for carriers.

The threat is that customers are loyal to Apple, rather than the carriers. Customers think of themselves as Apple customers, and the carrier is just a provider of the dumb pipe that connects their Apple devices to each other and the world.

It's kind of like the way customers think of cars. You have strong feelings about the car you drive. Even if you're not a car buff -- even if you just think of your car as a box to take you place to place -- you know whether it's comfortable, whether it runs well, whether it needs much repair.

You probably don't care what kind of tires are on the car.

In this metaphor, Apple is the carmaker. The carrier is the tire manufacturer.

This strategy is nothing new. Apple has been following this plan since at least 2001, when it introduced the iPod and started calling the Mac the hub of a digital world, rather than just a PC.

The turning point was 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone. Until then, mobile consumers bought whatever phones their carrier was selling. Beginning in 2007, millions of customers wanted an iPhone. And they'd do business with whatever company would sell it to them.

Apple stepped up that game Monday. Now, the Mac, iPhone, and iPad are peers on a digital network that includes cars, health devices, and the home. It's a network that carriers can play on -- with Apple's permission. (See Apple Launches Biggest Changes Since iPhone and Apple Joins Home Automation Wars.)

Says Re/Code's Walt Mossberg:

    The biggest new features were about making iPhones, iPads and Macs work seamlessly together, so that people on Planet Apple have no reason to leave, and those toting other brands might be tempted to fully join the Apple tribe.

He adds:

    The overwhelming purpose of Apple’s latest software is to make it irresistibly attractive to use all of its devices and services as a unified digital ecosystem, not to mix and match.

A big part of that strategy is to make the Mac work better with the iPhone and iPad. With a new feature called Continuity, you can start a task like composing a mail on your Mac, and then pick up where you left off on the iPhone. AirDrop is extended to share items across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac -- to let you clip content to the Mac clipboard and throw it to your iPhone or iPad. You can answer or place calls on your iPhone with your Mac.

Apple is primarily fending off Android, of course. Apple is fine if you want to buy an Android phone and use it with your Mac, but Apple is trying to entice you to use an iPhone with your Mac. (The same applies to Windows on the desktop, though Apple is increasingly seeing Windows as irrelevant rather than a threat.)

Indeed, Nilay Patel, writing at Vox.com, detects a new tone to Apple:

    What Apple was really announcing was the next version of itself -- a playful, relaxed, hyper-competitive giant that wants the next generation of products and services to be built on its platforms. That's the game now, after all -- the mobile revolution is over, and the war is now between Apple and the Google / Samsung alliance for the hearts of developers.

    That's why Apple spent fully one-third of its presentation today on new developer features, including an entirely new programming language called Swift. That's why iOS is opening up in entirely new ways, including previously forbidden things like letting apps talk to each other and even share interface elements with the system. That's why Apple is building out the foundations of both health-tracking and home-monitoring platforms that big companies like Nike and Honeywell can tap into alongside smaller players like the smart lock maker August and speaker companyiHome. And that's why Apple is adding all sorts of little features to its systems that only power users really want, like widgets in the notification shade and replacement software keyboards. Make the developers happy, and they'll stick around to write great apps that rely on the iPhone as the center of the universe.

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Page 1 / 2 Next >
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/4/2014 | 6:08:40 PM
Carrier customers will always be there?
Everyone still has to pay for their internet connection... but maybe Apple can pick up on customers who are willing to pay more for services delivered over those pipes.

I wonder if the health apps that Apple is working on is a step towards another way to identify users -- so that Apple can start pushing apps to targeted individuals, not just iTunes accounts... Apple needs to go beyond iTunes accounts and be able to sell apps to every member of a family connected to a single iTunes account.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/4/2014 | 6:03:01 PM
Re: Threat
Apple doesn't control the last mile, either.  It can provide a good interface, but I don't think AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/etc will go down without a fight. 

The instant messenger wars of the 90s didn't seem to kill off any carriers. And WhatsApp's acquisition was more about gaining more international users for Facebook than it was about getting any leverage over carriers.

Will phone calls over WiFi really be any different...? 
DanJones
100%
0%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
6/4/2014 | 1:12:36 AM
Re: Threat

At this point, carriers must be getting used to future visions that suggest they will be nothing more than dumb pipes. Hasn't quite happened yet though.

There's a reason for that:

"He who controls the spectrum controls the universe."


 

Apple doesn't control the spectrum. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/3/2014 | 8:25:53 PM
Re: Overthrowing Carriers
@Joe, exactly, it is a "friendly", but "fatal" competition for the carriers.

I love Mitch's focus on the real competition with platforms.  Apple is definitely focused on the heart of competition.  They stand to come out strong.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/3/2014 | 4:58:24 PM
Overthrowing Carriers
Called it.

DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
6/3/2014 | 3:58:40 PM
Threat
I agree this is the same sort of threat Apple has posed to carriers over the years, though not sure it is becoming more of a threat now than it seemed in 2007, unless Apple wants to revert to working with just one carrier. At this point, carriers must be getting used to future visions that suggest they will be nothing more than dumb pipes. Hasn't quite happened yet though,
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed