Apple needs to prove that it can still wow us – even the average Apple user will tell you this. But tomorrow’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote will be about much more than software or hardware – it’s about a philosophy. With the long-awaited iOS 7 redesign and iRadio looming, there will still likely be one important feature missing within these products: making them available for everyone. Apple’s closed philosophy has served it well over the years, but other competitors such as Google, have made their apps available on iOS. Google knows that it can’t win the mobile war by ignoring iOS – the same is especially true of Apple regarding Android’s more than 70 percent market share. Android is just too big to ignore and Apple needs to embrace it.
Google is still growing services such as Google Play Music, Books, Movies & TV, and Magazines, as well as their new messaging app Hangouts. Many of these apps would have never gotten off the ground if iTunes was available on Android two years ago – and Hangouts would have a tougher time chewing into iMessages if the latter was available on both platforms. Of course, it’s hard to imagine a world where core “exclusive” iOS apps make their way to Android, but it’s what needs to happen to protect Apple’s mobile future.
It’s rumored that Apple may be announcing a more competitively priced iPhone tomorrow, and I’m one who actually thinks it’s a good idea. Emerging markets will be where the mobile industry continues to grow, and currently, Android has the better position. But if Apple fails to deliver less expensive hardware, their next best solution is opening up their software – especially apps. Once again, it’s hard to see Apple doing this, but it’s much easier for iTunes to be on Android than Google Play on iOS.
Apple has an opportunity to squelch competition – for better or worse – by just changing their philosophy slightly. Also, in the background are stalled announcements from Google we didn’t get at I/O – Android 4.3, Hangouts SMS integration, Nexus 7 update, and potentially others that could bolster competition. So perhaps the most important thing introduced tomorrow at WWDC will not be the variety of updates and additions to Apple’s services, but how it distributes them.