When Apple rolled out Apple Music in June, it described the streaming music service as a "revolutionary" kind of 24/7 live, global radio station. But recent remarks by CEO Tim Cook appear to indicate the service might be the company's toe in the water for other Apple services that also work on Android devices.
Cook (pictured above) and other executives met with employees in a Town Hall meeting at company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. shortly after the company released its first-quarter 2016 financial results on January 26, according to a report in 9to5Mac yesterday. Citing "multiple sources in attendance at the event," the publication reported that the discussions covered a wide range of topics, with a focus on Apple's plans for the future.
In addition to possibly extending more Apple services to Android users, other subjects addressed during the Town Hall included plans for reviving declining iPad sales, bringing a streaming program service to Apple TV and appealing to a global market of potential iPhone buyers.
The Challenges of Apple-to-Android
While the 9to5Mac article didn't speculate as to which other Apple services might move to the Android platform next, likely candidates could include Apple's various iCloud services and Apple Pay, Apple's mobile and contactless payment system. Making such iOS services work effectively and securely on Android, however, could be fraught with complications.
For example, bringing Apple Pay to Android would be a challenge because "Apple obviously doesn't have the same control over both hardware and software that it does on its own platforms," Engadget noted yesterday.
Announced in September 2014 and launched with the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus the following month, Apple Pay enables secure and payment-card-free mobile transactions through the iPhone's Touch ID, a dedicated chip called the "Secure Element" and a NFC (near field communication) antenna. Newer Android phones now support fingerprint sensors with the help of the Marshmallow mobile operating system, released last fall.
In Google's and Microsoft's Footsteps
Apple released Apple Music for Android in November, a few months after the service launched on iOS. The service requires users to download the Android app, create Apple IDs and link their accounts to valid payment cards.
While Apple Music for Android looks and feels much like the service for iOS, it lacks support for Apple's intelligent digital assistant, Siri, and voice-enabled searches.
If Apple does begin offering more of its services on the Android platform, it will be following in the footsteps of Google and Microsoft, which already offer numerous services across platforms beyond their own Android and Windows operating systems. Microsoft over the past year or so has been especially active in expanding the reach of its software and services beyond Windows.
In December, for example, it made its Cortana intelligent assistant available to select iOS-, Android- and Cyanogen-powered mobile devices. The move was part of Microsoft's mission to make its smart assistant available to users regardless of their devices of choice, Cortana group program manager Marcus Ash said at the time.