WWDC 2015: Apple’s been studying Google

Any Game of Thrones fan knows one of the game’s biggest challenges is the need to kick back when a person has abused your trust, even if you’d rather ignore it.

Apple, Google, iOS, Android, search, ads revenue, Siri, privacy

WWDC: Can you see what the Tim's been cooking?

Do you imagine any Apple exec has ever forgotten Steve Jobs’ admonition as to the status of the Android “product”? WWDC 2015 saw more assassins in the shadows.

Siri for search

Apple has made significant improvement to Siri particularly in terms of overall integration and predictive contextual artificial intelligence. I think comparisons with Google Now are lazy – I’m sure both firms have insights into one another that guide product development strategy, so what does it matter if one thing predates another by a few weeks? I imagine both were developed at the same time.

The new Siri is now an even more effective alternative search engine, a step that erodes Google market share, particularly as the world goes mobile and much of the meat of Google revenue remains rooted in contextual ads on websites. This is slow death by a thousand cuts for Google ads revenue. Can Google really make up for this lost income by making all the data it collects about its users (you and me) available for sale?


Newstand has gone to be replaced by News, a new way publishers at any level can create content for Apple devices in an attractive and pleasing user interface -- and get paid for doing so. Not only is this “designed from the ground up to be focused on your privacy," according to Apple software engineeering SVP, Craig Federighi, but it also provides a more ethical alternative to Google News. Ethical? Certainly – Apple won’t be taking other people’s content and wrapping its own ads around it, nor will it be favoring its own products in search once it has people addicted to its services.

Apple Music for Android

As I predicted, Hell has frozen over and Apple now offers Apple Music to millions of Android users. We’ve not yet been told the system requirements for Apple Music on Android, but I don’t expect Apple to develop a version for every available Android device. After all, most Android devices out there consist of low-value, low-performance handhelds. Why waste resources supporting these? Apple will aim to make Apple Music the best music service on any Android devices it does support, if only to reinforce perception of how fragmented that ecosystem is. “Want the best music service? Get the best smartphone. Get an iPhone.”


Apple may visualize a planet with better designers, but it’s one on which technology users get to make educated and informed choices between free services designed to grab and resell all their private data and less free services that sell you products, rather than transforming you into one. That’s a pretty big deal – particularly when you contrast Apple’s concern with consumer rights with the actions of Google’s top brass who are making nice with government spooks and surveillance chiefs at Bilderberg. While Google wants to track everything you use its products for and make money selling information about you, Apple wants to sell you solutions and then leave you alone. There are many who think consumers don’t care about this so long as they get free stuff, but I’d argue that with these matters high up the agenda since the Snowden revelations, it’s only a question of time before Apple wins the argument. And certainly among enterprise users.


“Algorithms alone can’t do that human task,” insists Apple’s Jimmy Iovine, which sounds strange to a search engine generation, but as Apple puts the human touch inside various kinds of search we’ll soon see how much difference the human touch makes. We must be the masters, not “the pets” in the future world of AI machines

Will Google become Apple’s next lunch? Not likely, but Apple does appear to be building an alternative to the Google-branded “Internet Experience”.

Here are some of the predictions for Apple in 2015 I made last year.

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