I’m not a “Genius”, but something has to give.
I’ve been researching technology throughout my college career. I’ve been carefully studying the ins-and-outs of the tech industry, particularly in terms of history. And history says this: when something isn’t perfect, you need to make it better. Right now, Apple has some excellent products on the market: the iPhone, iPod and iPad, to name a few. And there’s the ever-popular (and ever-changing) Mac lineup of personal computers. However, I feel there’s on glaring problem with these two immensely successful platforms. The big issue that Apple has?
Media distribution is a painful process.
It’s Too Late to Apologize for Sloppy Distribution
What do I mean by this?
Well, let’s take a look at how you get content on your iPhone. To get music, you go through the iTunes app. To get books, you use the iBooks app. To get apps, you go through the App Store. Do you see the problem yet?
What about on a Mac? Similar story. Music and books: iTunes. Apps: Mac App Store.
Apple, I have a question: why haven’t you consolidated your stores yet? There are several reasons I can think of… marketing in particular, is a strong one. Think about it: Apple’s real launch into the media industry was with two products: the iPod and iTunes. iTunes has become the defining image of what a music provider should give to people. Cheap music and a (relatively) easy-to-use shopping interface. Oh, and a central location to store it all. That helps a lot. So, I can somewhat understand where Apple is coming from here. Why kill off the iconic name that is iTunes?
Well, I think that day is coming. Reason? The multi part of multimedia.
Your Media – All Over the Place
I just mentioned that Apple has three different locations to pick up content on an iPhone (or an iPod Touch/iPad, for that matter). First problem: your market is spread out. Not everyone downloads the iBooks app. Everyone gets the iTunes and App Store apps, but who says people buy their music on iTunes? You could simply import all your music and never touch the store. Second problem: ease of use. Not to mention anyone in particular, but enough people have problems remembering how to turn on their iPhones, much less where to get specific content. Third problem: publicity. Have you recently seen an “iTunes App” Apple commercial? Or even an iTunes commercial? No, probably not. You HAVE probably seen the iBooks and App Store commercials though. But wait, that doesn’t add up: why publicize two of the three, but end up confusing people more by getting them to realize there are multiple stores you need to access to buy different media on your iPhone? It just doesn’t add up for some. Others think iBooks, iTunes and the App Store are all in the same. Why not give it to them?
Not to mention the apps themselves aren’t great. I know I can’t vouch for everyone, but I can’t stand the iTunes app sometimes. The fact that the App Store gives me download notifications is great, but iTunes does it too – for iCloud songs I’m streaming. What? Not to mention the iTunes and App Store apps haven’t changed much since their early days. I feel it’s time for a refreshed look – not just upgrading the screen and icons on the devices.
I feel like this is the future at Apple. It makes a lot of sense from a marketing standpoint: you produce fewer commercials (money saved) AND you give your developers a single-stop-shop to drop anything they produce to you. Books, apps, music, ringtones, whatever – it all goes into the “iStore”. You know what else this helps? Cross-platform issues. This way, your iPhone, iPod, iPad and all of your Macbooks/iMacs/Mac Minis/etc. will have the SAME store. Sure, it will look different across different platforms, but you can’t expect to have a Mac-identical experience on an iPhone. Different screen sizes, different input. Maybe someday the screens will behave alike, but for now, as long as everything is in a centralized “iStore”, life would be so much easier for all of us.
The one problem child I see in this format is iTunes. It’s a multimedia content store but it is also a content manager. Throwing apps, books and everything else into iTunes will cause an immense bloating of the program, which could prove annoying (or rather, more annoying than it already is… iTunes 11 is annoying slow sometimes). Still, if anyone can figure out a way to do it, Apple can. With their upcoming OS X 10.8 codenamed “Mountain Lion” (due this summer), they’re trying to unify an already impressive and wonderful experience on the iOS devices with that of the Mac computers.
Why not get started on unifying your content stores as well Apple? It’ll save you a lot of headaches in the future!
What do you think? Is Apple’s media all over the place a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think the possibility of an “iStore” in the future could become reality? Post your thoughts in the comments!