Hell freezes over? Apple comes to Android

Can you see what the time is?

Fresh rumors claim Apple’s Beats service will be made available as an Android app, echoing the company's decision to make iTunes available for Windows.

Old news

Here’s the claim: “Apple is currently building a music streaming service based on Beats technology. The service will be fully integrated into iTunes and as an app for various devices, including iOS and Android.”

Like everything in the rumor-verse, these claims aren’t new.

March 2014: “Apple is considering launching its first Android app in a bid to sell music to users of Google’s software,” said the Daily Mail. “The firm is also considering launching a streaming service to take on Spotify.”

There’s always been some hope Apple would introduce iTunes for Android; not only does Android lack a reputable music service, but why wouldn’t Apple exploit its competitor? It seems amusing (to me) that Apple could be generating more revenue from Galaxy users than Samsung ever will by making such a move.

Surf the wave

The timing seems pretty good, too.

Recent CIRP figures show just under 20 percent of iPhone purchases are made by recovering Droids. This means tens of thousands of Android users are likely to see sense soon.

Demand for the iPhone 6 is (as I told you it would be) also off the charts, and Apple’s share of smartphone sales grew across the US, Europe and China, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said.

“With a range of devices available at different price points in both contract and pre-pay, Apple was able to take advantage of a weaker Android offering at the premium end of the market,” said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

It’s all well and good that people adopt Apple’s platforms, but the loyalty they show when they do is highly significant: “Apple’s average customer loyalty of 87% across the US and Europe certainly looks promising,” says Milanesi.

What’s the USP?

If claims of a Beats service for Android turn out true, then it seems pretty obvious this will be Apple’s stalking horse. Apple knows iTunes is the world’s most used music retailer. There’s lots of reasons for its popularity: breadth of content, convenience, ease-of-use and Apple’s trusted brand, for example. But the close integration between iTunes and Apple’s mobile devices has to be the biggest draw.

Around half of all smartphone users listen to music on the device.

This means around half of all Android users are potentially going to give Apple’s Beats music a try.

Back in 2003, Apple introduced iTunes for Windows. When it did, the company subsequently enjoyed a huge surge in iPod sales and its combined music ecosystem destroyed all other offerings in the space, including Microsoft’s.

This set the scene for the huge success of the iPod, the subsequent release of iPhone and the resurgence of the Mac.

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