Digital, Digital & Mobile, Music Business — October 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

New technologies threaten Apple’s music-loving user-base


The poor folks over at Apple must be shaking in their boots. Yesterday’s somewhat embarrassing unveiling of the iPhone4S (instead the iPhone5, as promised) has sparked a renewed interest in the progress of iCloud; Apple’s largest online music and data storage space, conceptualized as a means of keeping information in the same place, aka. Not localized to a particular phone, computer or tablet device. It comes as no co-incidence, then, that it was also yesterday that Apple frantically begun its search for an international license for iCloud and cloud technologies, with the UK, parts of Europe and the Asia Pacific region a specific target of interest.

This revelation seems to confirm the theory that similar sites, such as Spotify and, along with social-networking and music storage site Google+, are becoming increasingly threatening to Apple, as they begin to zone in on developing user-features that Apple has neglected. One of iCloud’s well-cited flaws is that, unless an upfront fee of $24.99 is paid, only songs bought on iTunes can be stored in the cloud – excluding, even, the thousands of legitimately purchased hard copy CD’s which have been uploaded to iTunes by users. When you consider the fact that other technologies combine track suggestion software similar to iTunes Genius, with social networking, playlist-sharing, and video-based “hangouts” with musicians and fans alike (Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas has used this Google+ feature a well-documented first), it will be interesting to see where the loyalties of Asia-Pacific users lie.

One thing is certain, though, and that is that Apple’s knee-jerk “buy, buy, buy” reaction to this plethora of new music technologies gives a public impression of competitive times ahead. Following the August resignation of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, many Asia-Pacific users have been left wondering what comes next; especially in the field of digital music technology. While Apple remains one of the leading competitors in the field of digital music retailing, storage and development, there is no doubt that in coming months, they will be subject to stiffer competition than ever; a fact not helped by the basic lack of reinvention that the iPod and music functions offered in the updated iPhone4S.

But, fear not! The powers that be have thought of that, too. Along with the synchronized release of a new iPhone and ownership of international cloud technologies, Apple will release a new iPod Nano, perfectly timed for release on (you guessed it) October 12, 2011. Statistics collected from AdMob in April, 2011 show that, in Asia, 14% of the smartphone market is occupied by iPhones, compared to a slowly encroaching 12% of Android users. At least Apple fans will be consoled by the fact that Apple are aware that their crown is somewhat threatened; and, for non-fans, let the games begin.

By Stephanie Winkler