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What iOS 16 Tells Us About Apple’s Strategy

Android vs Apple

If you search “iOS 16 new features” on Google, you will find that there are over 160,000 results as of September 12, 2022.

There is an assortment of articles explaining the changes to Apple Pay (Pay Later, Order Tracking), Focus (Filters Based on Focus), Live Text (Scan Text in Videos), Notifications (UI Changes, Live Updates) — and a lot more.

These updates represent a significant shift in the technology space. Not only is iOS 16 an upgrade to make consumers swoon over the novel new features and hold their continued interest, but it will push the overall technology envelope.

Apple is the largest technology company by market valuation, and its influence is undeniable. Given that the iPhone, in particular, and the underlying iOS contribute to more than 50% of Apple’s revenues, one can argue that it is the most prominent technology platform on the market. As a result, the new and significant iOS 16 update will undoubtedly redefine the industry’s direction and spur the competition. 

Apple Shifts to Enable Android-Style Customization

Apple has been known for its “my way or the highway” methodology when it comes to its product features. Starting way back from its “one-button mouse” or more recently with Lightning ports, Apple always did things its own way. However, Apple detractors have long professed that they do not want to be confined to Apple’s “walled garden.” They desire the freedom to do what they want with the hardware and software they buy and use.

If you take a deeper look at iOS 16, you’ll see that Apple is taking a different strategy with its operating system. Now, surprisingly, with this update, Apple is pivoting in order to give users the opportunity to change the overall customization of its iOS platform. 

More specifically, iOS 16 users can customize their Lock screen to make it how they want it — even changing the font. This was previously only a privilege for Android users until last year when Apple allowed its users to change the default font of its Notes app. 

In addition, the new iOS updates will allow users to edit iMessages, unsend iMessages, and even mark iMessages as unread after reading them. Users can also customize Notifications in iOS 16 — how they look, what gets displayed, when they get displayed, etc.

Apple Doubles Down on Privacy, Safety & Security

Apple also revealed that it is bolstering its strengths, like privacy, safety, and security.

Enhancements to the Apple Wallet increase privacy by hiding a user’s actual date of birth and only revealing it if the user is over 21. The Safety Check feature offers safeguards for victims of domestic violence. The passkey feature signifies a move toward a passwordless world

Between pivoting the iOS platform to be more customizable and strengthening its differentiators, we can see where Apple’s headed — straight for Android’s market share. It’s embarking on a direct ‘Kill Android’ mission!

The “Why” Behind Apple’s Strategic Shift

Particularly in the mobile OS market, Apple has historically been focused on being the high-end hardware provider with its iPhone. Tim Cook even mentioned several times (of course, in anti-trust discussions) that the iPhone only has a small segment of the mobile market. It was not something he was ashamed to say.

Apple has carefully analyzed what attracts users to Android, most notably the ability to customize. Apple’s iOS 16 is a direct salvo to undermine Android’s strength and one of its own most significant differentiators. With Apple’s other strengths in privacy, safety, and security (as well as the potential introduction of lower-priced iPhones) Apple has clearly set its sights on making the duopoly a monopoly in the mobile operating system space.

As most of the world’s consumers now have a smartphone, iPhone and Android are the de-facto higher-end and lower-end players in the market. This duopoly in the middle of the operating system space has captured enough territory that the only path forward is to wage a direct war. 

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