Can Apple change ads the way it changed music and games?

Once upon a time, Apple was the iPod company. iPods were a much bigger business than the Mac, and they also made Apple a dominant force in the music industry. Then, as we all know, Apple jumped horse to the iPhone, which was a vastly bigger business again. But meanwhile, music switched from the download-to-own model pioneered by Apple to subscription streaming, and Apple was very late to streaming. Today it has an adequate, me-too streaming music product, but it’s far from setting the agenda. Apple doesn’t matter much in music anymore.

However, the switch to streaming also meant that music lost the strategic leverage that it had for Apple and other device companies - if you switched between stores you lost all the music you’d already bought, but if you switch streaming services you only lose your playlists, if that. Music stopped mattering as a way to lock people into an ecosystem, and it stopped being a strategic lever. Apple could perhaps* have created streaming itself, if it had had the vision, but it had little to gain from it.

What came after music? When Apple announced the iPhone, back in 2007, it also announced the original Apple TV, earlier in the same event. But the Apple TV never really went anywhere. Hulu launched that year, and everyone in the TV industry knew that the future, at some point, would be unbundling and streaming. Steve Jobs thought he could do to TV what he had done to music - (Read more...)