Apple Launches Evil Plan to Steal Carriers' Customers

Since the launch of the original Macintosh in 1984, Apple has historically been hip with the Baby Boom and Generation X (demographics that include people who once used the word "hip" unironically). Those groups are nearing middle and old age now -- the oldest Boomers are nearing 70, and the youngest Gen Xers are turning 30. Older people need more healthcare, so it makes sense for Apple to get into that market. Monday, Apple introduced a new health app and HealthKit API.

HealthKit isn't just about connecting your iPhone to your Fitbit, Jawbone, or Nike Fuelband (Apple announced Nike as a partner). The prestigious Mayo Clinic is a partner. Most important of all, HealthKit can also connect to medical apps, and Apple has partnered with Epic Systems, the largest provider of electronic health records in the US. So if your fitness or medical device detects an anomaly, it can automatically send a message to your healthcare provider.

In addition to the big strategic stuff, Apple introduced an abundance of new features and capabilities for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac. But I want to draw your attention to this article, which contains plenty of tasty tidbits for Apple enthusiasts like me: "20+ iOS 8 features Apple didn't talk about." Highlights:

  • Voice activation for Siri -- just say "Hey Siri!" How's that going to work? Is the iPhone just going to be listening all the time? Isn't that going to kill battery life and raise privacy issues?
  • "Siri will recognize and transcribe words as you speak, rather than waiting for you to complete your command." Nice! Android voice recognition works that way; it's much nicer than the current way Siri works, which is to wait until it thinks you're finished or until its buffer fills up before it starts to transcribe.
  • DuckDuckGo support in Mobile Safari. Apple is really sticking it to Google. DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine that's a darling of privacy advocates.
  • Battery usage by app. I love this. My iPhone 5 has pathetic battery life. If the iPhone can tell me what app is the culprit, I'll be happy (particuarly if it turns out to be an app I don't really care about).
  • An in-case-of-emergency card for the HealthKit app.
  • WiFi calling. My colleague Dan Jones nailed this one; I'm giving myself a dopeslap for having missed it. This is huge, and it fits into an overall trend of carriers offloading traffic onto WiFi. I want to take a deeper look into how this works. (See T-Mobile Jazzed With WiFi Calling on New Apple iOS, Comcast Whips Up More WiFi, Cablevision Plots WiFi Market Disruption, and TWC & Charter Embrace Next-Gen WiFi.)
  • Camera enhancements. Burst mode for the camera in older iPhones, panorama photos in iPad, timelapse video mode (sounds like some kind of automatic GIF creator -- one of the best features of Google+), and camera timer.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.

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mhhf1ve 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 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 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 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 6/3/2014 | 4:58:24 PM
Overthrowing Carriers Called it.

DOShea 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,
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