Taking a look at why Beats is a good idea, what shape the iWatch will be, the connected home, the unconnected hackers, a rising share price, more content for iTunes Radio, the best pipeline in 25 years, and a profile of Apple’s head of acquisitions. Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many things that have happened around Apple over the last seven days.
The $3 Billion Beats Purchase Is Less About Music And More About What Else Music Can Sell
Let’s start this week’s Apple Loop with the acquisition of Beats. It’s rare that Apple makes such a big purchase, and to have the final steps happen in such a public manner, but the $3 billion purchase is certainly making people sit up and notice. The big question is ‘why?’. Michael Vakulenko has tackled that question in his post on Medium, and the idea that Beats and Apple are skating to where the musical puck is going to be rings true for me:
In essence, Beats aims to become Uber of music by aggregating demand, connecting listeners to artists and empowering the artists to build thriving business on top of the platform… like [the] Apple App Store, which connects users with app developers allowing them to build business on top of the platform. Pandora, Spotify, Play Music and Amazon that are all designed to sell music, will have very hard time to compete against a platform for building businesses on top of music.
Part of me wonders if Tim Cook was hoping to keep this quiet and announce Beats at the end of his keynote to the WWDC crowd. Imagine if he had this in his back pocket, the team started to leave the stage, and he turned… paused for a moment… and said “Just one more thing.”
We’ll never know, but I like to think that it was a possibility.
Are We Getting Round To An iWatch?
With interest in Apple’s new product line-up proving irresistible, attention in some of the mainstream press has moved on from ‘will Apple release a smartwatch’ to ‘what shape will the smartwatch take?’ The current thinking appears to be derived from an analysts who ‘know the supply chain‘ and is pushing the idea of a circular watch face, but the honest answer is that it’s very hard to predict the functionality of the mythical iWatch – if form follows function the shape is well down the list of things that it is possible to predict.
I much prefer Scott Stein’s look at the options open to Apple, and proposes a re-invention of the iPod for the wrist over on CNET.
Baby Steps To Grow Up In The Connected Home
One area of technology that Apple may be demonstrating at WWDC is that of home automation. Stacey Higgenbotham explores the idea of a ‘Made For iPhone’ program over on GigaOm which will certify hardware and appliances as compatible with a central hub on iOS devices. This is not a grand sweep of the iPhone controlling the whole home, but if it was to arrive at the beta versions of iOS at WWDC manufacturers and developers would have four months to prep for a potential release to customers alongside a new iPhone in September.
The Man Who Will Buy Your Company And Bring You To Apple
It’s rare to see much coverage of Apple’s senior staff, so Businessweek’s profile of Adrian Perica is both exciting and timely. Apple’s involvement in the story goes as far as confirming Perica’s birthday but no more, so Yoni Heisler has been putting together the profile of the man who drove the Beats acquisition (and a few more).
The Beats deal is Apple’s biggest to date. Spending on acquisitions jumped 87 percent last quarter, to $559 million, according to an April 24 regulatory filing. That month, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said Apple had bought 24 companies in the previous 18 months. It made just two known acquisitions in 2009… Perica’s team, which on some deals has swelled to include more than 100 staff from across the company, is so well equipped that Apple was able to dispense with the coterie of Wall Street advisers that usually turns up for transactions of this size.
Best. Pipeline. Ever.
Speaking at Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg’s Code Conference, Apple’s Eddy Cue promised us that Cupertino has “…got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.” To be fair that’s exactly the sort of thing you would expect the senior staff at Apple to say, but with the phrase coming from Cue himself, and not in response to a direct question, it makes me think that this is a phrase that Tim Cook and Apple want to get out there to seed the coverage of the WWDC announcements, whatever they might be.
Smart Password And Security Precautions Should Help Defeat Any Ransom
A number of Apple users have reported that their handsets have been remotely locked with details on where to send a ‘ransom’ to release the lock. The attack has been widely reported, and appears to be a result of a compromised Apple ID and password allowing the hacker to change passwords and lock devices. Users who have enabled two-factor authentication, or have a passcode on their device, are in a much better position to enact a recovery. And if you have your data backed up in a separate location, so much the better.
Apple’s Share Price Could Be Going Up, Up, Up!
Goldman Sachs has raised the price target of apple from $635 to $720 (highlights Marketwatch). This follows a rise in Apple’s share price since the middle of May. What’s driving the change? The potential new hardware and software solutions coming down the line:
“…platform enhancements such as mobile payments, connected home solutions, and personal health monitors should be far more important for driving switching costs and installed base expansion over time, and this is what will determine if Apple’s cash flow can remain robust and substantially increase from current levels.”
In any case Mark Rogowsky considers what might be in that pipeline here on Forbes.com.
Tune In To More Stations As ESPN And NPR Arrive In iTunes Radio
While it is still unconfirmed, Mike Beasley (9 to 5 Mac) believes that iTunes Radio is about to get a bundle of new stations, including 42 local NPR stations as well as a new ESPN station with programming “like SportsCenter All Night, SVP and Russillo, The Herd, and Mike & Mike”, alongside potential live coverage of the FIFA World Cup this summer.
Follow The WWDC Keynote Live Here On Forbes
Forbes’ Mark Rogowsky will be covering the WWDC keynote with a live blog, watch his Forbes page for more details on Monday. I’ll round up the big news from Moscone West and WWDC here on Apple Loop, along with all the other interesting news in the world of Apple. Don’t forget to follow me here on Forbes so you don’t miss anything.