Apple is on top of the world, just as it has been for years now. While many pundits and analysts have declared that the company is “doomed” for a multitude of reasons, Apple has continued to post record sales and profit numbers and is still far and away the most valuable tech company in the world. With this in mind, it’s difficult to find an area where Apple is really vulnerable, although BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel thinks he’s found one: Namely, Apple’s own apps and services that it pre-loads onto the iPhone still aren’t very good.
This is a complaint about Apple that’s been around for a long time, of course, and it hasn’t hurt the company’s bottom line. After all, the Apple Maps debacle didn’t send the masses fleeing to Android since Apple’s App Store has so many fine alternative map applications to choose from.
So what’s the issue here? Warzel doesn’t see any problems for Apple right now but that could change in the future.
“For now, Apple’s ability to produce sexier hardware with superior branding make this less of a problem,” he writes. “But in time, it could lead to various threats to Apple’s ecosystem. The company’s often-confusing iCloud lags behind Google’s, and makes seemingly easy photo and music backups feel wonky and arduous. And services like Google’s new — and truly superior — Photos app look as if they’re going to relegate even more Apple apps to the junk drawer.”
One interesting question this raises is whether Apple needs to develop its own mobile apps at all. Apple may want its users to remain locked into its ecosystem but one of the big advantages iOS has over Android is simply the quality of third-party apps it has. Not only does iOS tend to get the best apps before Android does, but those apps are more often up to date than the ones we see on Android’s more fragmented platform.
And as long as iOS keeps its developers happy with initiatives like its Swift programming language that makes app development easier than ever before, it will probably keep its overall app advantage without having to make killer apps of its own.
All that said, Warzel’s take is well argued. Check it out for yourself here.