I have to admit to being a bit under whelmed by Apple’s announcements today. I’d been hoping for something a bit grander from a music perspective. I’ve spoken about the iTunes Album launch and explained my thinking that it falls short of what it could have been. But on the other hand there is an argument that Apple’s relatively modest tweaking might be part of a bolder strategy: that of establishing iTunes as a platform that explicitly coexists with the big name social platforms, namely YouTube and Facebook.
Apple is all of course all about selling devices. But part of that strategy is building compelling user experiences that establish and reinforce the value of usage scenarios of their portfolio of devices. This is the context into which to consider approving the Spotify app, enabling posting of iTunes song information into Facebook and Nano captured video into YoutTube. From that perspective Apple is playing a smart game that builds the social context of their devices as explicit extensions of the value proposition of the iPod an iPhone ranges.
Take it one step further and you could even build an argument that Apple are building a range of devices that are flexible enough to mould around the degree of social engagement the user wants. Interestingly this strategy echoes much of Nokia’s current positioning and also establishes a scenario in which iTunes builds as a media platform coexisting with the large established social platforms. Social context becomes what defines and reinforces the position of iTunes and Apple devices. Sounds a lot like Nokia’s World view? I think so. Perhaps finally Apple are taking some of Nokia’s vision rather than vice versa?