A few weeks ago, Apple caused a stir with its announcements of its new AirTags trackers as well as updates to the iPad Pro and iMac, but it also announced significant changes to one of its most popular “services” – podcasts. Apple doesn’t own podcasting in itself, but it deserves a ton of credit for the way it has nurtured and popularized the platform for millions of users around the world over the past decade and a half.
At the Spring Loaded event, Apple unveiled a new design for its Podcasts application to accompany its new Apple Podcast Subscriptions service. Apple Podcast subscriptions are rolling out to Apple customers on iOS and macOS this month, and no one is quite sure how creators or consumers will receive them. Personally, I expect it to be a great success. Still, I think Apple should bring both its Podcasts app and Podcast subscriptions to Android as early as possible if he really wants to maximize the potential of the service.
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Apple and cross-platform services
At first glance, it might seem strange to think that Apple is bringing its Podcasts platform to Android. We all suspected that he preferred to keep his best services to himself, a notion that was publicly reinforced thanks to testimony from the Epic Games vs Apple lawsuit last week. And yet, while Apple is often blasted for luring customers into its beautiful walled garden and locking them up, it actually has a somewhat surprising track record of bringing its services to different platforms, operating systems and hardware suppliers.
Believe it or not, Apple actually has a habit of offering its apps and services on different platforms.
You can go back to the ’80s and early’ 90s with Apple software running on Mac clones, or even the early 2000s when iTunes first appeared on a phone – not the original iPhone. , but on the Moto ROKR. In 2014, Apple bought Beats Music, which was already available on Android, and turned it into the successful Apple Music platform. It could have killed the Android app at that point, but he wisely chose not only to leave it on Android, but it felt like a nice combination of Apple’s UI merged with the Android aesthetic. For years, you have been able to access many Apple apps like Pages, Notes, and Mail in iCloud through any web browser. And more recently, Apple has partnered with smart TV makers of all stripes, including Amazon, Roku, and even Samsung, to bring its Apple TV + app and subscription service to more users on more platforms. -forms (I even use it on my Fire TV Stick 4K!).
So maybe Apple podcasts and podcast subscriptions on Android is not such a strange idea after all. I am certainly not the only one who thinks so.
It’s not a question of if, but when
For many, Apple is synonymous with podcasts. Its podcast repertoire is the largest of its kind and the company has been the de facto steward of the media for over 15 years. Damn, even the name podcast is partly derived from the iPod. But as dominant as Apple is and has been, times are changing.
âApple has kind of been this guardian of podcasting for a long time,â said Stephen hackett, co-founder of the tech podcast network and Apple Relay FM. “Apple had all this power but didn’t really do much with it that has been fine by those of us in the industry. “
Despite Apple’s history with podcasting, Hackett and others see the tea leaves Apple reads and understand why it is taking the steps it is now taking with podcast subscriptions. While there are already a ton of great podcast apps out there, bigger players like Spotify and Amazon have been doing all they can to solidify their grip on the medium and monetize it through subscription services and ads. This has included creating more tools for creators to create, distribute, and monetize their podcasts, as well as acquiring content producers like Wondery and Gimlet Media.
Apple cannot afford to lose more ground in podcasting to Spotify.
âI think Apple’s position is suddenly not as concrete as it could have been,â Hackett said. “Analyst research shows that Spotify will be bigger than the Apple Podcast platform in terms of audience in the next few years. I don’t think Apple wants to sell the podcast to companies like Spotify.”
Hacket also said he expects Apple to bring its podcasting platform to Android for two reasons. âOne – to fight Spotify, and Two – to open the door to Apple Podcast subscriptions on this whole other ecosystem that they’re not currently in. I think both reasons are valid individually, but I think when you put both together it just makes a lot of sense for them to do that. â
As Hackett mentions, bringing Apple podcasts and podcast subscriptions to Android (and other platforms) isn’t just about making more money through recurring subscription revenue. It’s about preserving Apple’s position as the guardian of podcasting. For these reasons, I expect Apple to take steps in this direction sooner rather than later, and other analysts agree.
“I don’t see what Apple has to lose by doing this, given that there aren’t any unique experiences you get with iOS devices and opening up to Android will give them a wider audience.” , said Caroline Milanesi, President and Senior Analyst at Creative Strategies.
How will it be?
While the insiders I spoke to agreed that Apple would likely (or at least should) bring podcasts and podcast subscriptions to Android, there was no consensus on what form this could take.
Some think it makes more sense for Apple to separate Podcast and Music apps on Android, while others think it wiser to combine the two like Spotify and Amazon do.
Some strongly believe that Apple will keep podcasts separate from the Apple Music app. âI think Apple sees podcasts and music as separate things,â Hackett said. “We can see proof of this in the fact that they have re-made the Podcasts app in iOS 14.5 … on the Podcasts app.” More than the redesign, however, Hackett says the combination of the two apps on Android scrambles Apple’s services. âFrom a services standpoint, it’s a mixed message if you can pay for Apple Music, but then you have podcasts in the same app. I think keeping them separate makes the business model a bit clearer in it. minds of consumers. “
Others like Milanesi disagree, believing that incorporating podcasts into Apple Music on Android makes more sense to better bolster both services. She says she believes that if Apple brings podcasts to Android, it won’t be in a “dedicated podcast app but rather as part of Apple Music to more directly compete with Spotify’s current offering.” Milanesi says that “it will reduce the amount of work for Apple and add value to Apple Music” on Android.
Either way, if Apple is to push competitors like Spotify and Amazon back into the podcast space, it has to be where the majority of mobile users are, and that’s on Android. As Hackett told me, “Content from Apple Podcast subscriptions is only available in the Apple Podcast Player. You cannot purchase content through Apple Podcasts and listen to it in something like PockeCasts.” This is a potentially huge revenue stream for Apple, and there doesn’t appear to be any real competitive disadvantages or proprietary features that would bring the business to a halt. So let’s go – bring Apple podcasts and podcast subscriptions to Android!
What do you think? Do you expect Apple podcasts to come to Android? Would you pay to support your favorite creators or shows through this specific app? Let us know!
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