Apple’s Software Strategy Is More Important Than Ever
Its focus needs to stay on bits, not atoms
Software developer conferences, a long-held tradition for the big tech companies, have evolved in recent years. When the pandemic halted in-person gatherings, developer conferences went fully online, relying on livestreams and virtual spaces instead of convention center ballrooms. Their keynote addresses—once a main stage event for tech gods like Steve Jobs—are often pre-recorded.
In addition to the software-focused sessions that make up the meat of developer conferences, the events' keynote addresses now often include hardware reveals. Google has shown off new phones, smartwatches and teleportation booths at I/O, its annual developer shindig. Apple is known to drop a new smart speaker, Mac Pro, or Mac laptop during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.
For Apple especially, this makes sense. It’s a hardware company first and foremost, and its custom-designed silicon now sits at the center of its “control the whole computing stack” strategy. But it could be argued that Apple’s software strategy now matters more than ever. It’s what keeps customers “locked in” to Apple hardware. It includes Apple’s fast-growing, multi-billion dollar services business. Every time Apple makes a tweak to its App Store, whether it’s limiting advertising tracking tech in iOS or evolving its content moderation policies, the company’s decisions are scrutinized—because its software just has that much influence over our lives.
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