The WWDC Keynote is closing fast now, and its time to bring this series toward a conclusion. In this next to last segment, it’s time to talk about one of the fastest-growing sources of revenue for Apple- Services. Just a few years ago, this segment was nothing but a trickle of profit from iCloud and the App Store. Now, thanks to the increased usage of iCloud from Drive and Photo Library and Apple Music, this trickle has become a rising tide.
With so much focus on Apple’s Services, you can bet they will feature prominently in the Keynote next week. Here are a few things I hope we will see on Monday:
Increased iCloud Storage
I’m not even going to ask for more free storage, although that would be nice. I understand that Apple is making that money with Services right now, but they could stand to be a little more generous with how much storage you get for the price. They need to adjust the pricing plans from time to time, and their recent gesture of giving users a free month for signing up for higher storage tiers fell very flat with the tech press. Bumping the limits to keep pace with the competition will go over much better.
More Control Over iCloud Storage
While I have the iCloud app for Windows installed on my laptop, I don’t use it much at all. One of the big reasons is that I have a TON of pictures stored in my iCloud Photo Library, and there is currently no way to limit how much of the contents of your account syncs over to a computer. This is something that Dropbox, Box and cloud storage services already handle without issue, and it’s an area where Apple could stand to catch up. If they want iOS users, especially those of us who use Windows on the desktop, to use iCloud more for file storage and synchronization, this would be a great feature to add.
More iWork Improvements
Apple gave Pages a rare but needed facelift and feature bump at their Education Event earlier this year. Now the app is more capable as a design tool that works with the Apple Pencil, which is a welcome feature. However, the iWork apps still need work to keep pace with the competition, and the cloud-based versions are even further off the mark. A better iWork in the Cloud suite is a solid incentive to get users to do more with iCloud.
Texture and Apple News Announcement
Apple’s acquisition of magazine app Texture earlier this year made big news, and WWDC is the perfect stage (pun intended) for Apple to tell us more about their plans. The most likely result will be yet another subscription service that will integrate all of Texture’s magazine content and features directly into the Apple News app.
While an announcement regarding Texture is a no-brainer, what is unknown is how Apple plans to handle the integration of News and Texture, how much the subscription will cost, and whether the original app and cross-platform service will remain available. While Apple Music is cross-platform, Apple News conspicuously isn’t. Will Apple lock Texture down to its own ecosystem, or will they go as far as opening up Apple News to be cross-platform? The truth will very likely be somewhere in between, but who knows.
Make it Easier to Post to Apple News
I mentioned this in my iOS 12 article, but it is worth mentioning here, as well. If Apple wants more content posted in Apple News, they could stand to make it a little easier to do so. A good start would be to revamp and improve the bare-bones web-based publishing interface available from iCloud’s News Publisher. This would be a great way to encourage more original content from independent outlets and individuals to the service. Even if that content is segregated into a separate section of Apple News, it would still add additional value. Just look at the success of Medium. Curated content from independent sources could play a valuable secondary role for Apple News.
Apple is Getting Into Music Publishing. Are They Going Further?
The world just learned that Apple is dipping a toe deeper into the music business pool. Will they go further than just publishing? A more appropriate question is probably when will they go further?
Getting into publishing seems like the perfect first move for Apple before starting their own label and going direct to the public with music. Will that actually happen, and if so, when? I expect this new publishing venture to be mentioned on stage, but it will be worth noting how the discussion is framed. That should tell us a lot about Apple’s future plans.
Add Real, Honest to Goodness, Easy to Use EQ to Apple Music
This NEEDS TO HAPPEN. It is so overdue that 99% of Apple fans have given up, moved on, and completely forgotten about this topic. However, the growth of Apple Music and the release of the AirPods and more recently, the awesome sounding HomePod, underlines the need for some user-facing music controls. Not all music is ripped, recorded, or created equally, so the ability to tune that sound right from the player is key. All of the processing and acoustic smarts of the HomePod can’t completely replace EQ. And this isn’t just important for iOS, either. I mention this in talking about Services, because this feature needs to be rolled out across all of Apple Music.
Apple Video Service Preview
Most projections have the majority of Apple’s video content arriving next year. However, the news is out there. We know about the deals and the name involved. As such, I wonder if Apple will make some kind of announcement about what’s coming now. I don’t expect a high level of detail, but I wouldn’t be surprised with a small preview that speaks to their overall ambitions for original video content, gives a detailed overview of the free content that is coming this year, and also sets the stage for next year.
An Apple Unified Services Announcement
This has GOT to be in the works. As with the video prediction above, I may be a year early here, but Apple would be wise to figure out a way to bundle all of its services for its fans who want it all. Speaking for myself, there is no way I would add both a news and video subscription to the iCloud and Apple Music subs that I already have. However, if Apple rolled out a compelling unified Services subscription, I would be all over it. Make it simple, Apple.
The second part of this is far less likely, but boy would I love to see Apple expand the iPhone Upgrade Program to cover more of their hardware. Even if it just covered iOS and watchOS, a single plan that offered a new iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch per year with AppleCare+ (all of which I already buy yearly), would hook me and MANY other Apple fans immediately. Again, I think this is unlikely, but I would LOVE to be surprised on Monday.
It’s almost here. The WWDC Keynote is so close we Apple fans can almost taste it. Rest assured that you will be hearing a lot about Apple’s Services during the event, and expect to hear about plenty of new features, as well. What do you think? WIll we get any of the items listed above this year? Do you have any others you expect Apple to unveil? Give me a shout and let me know what you think.