Apple just made a significant leap in its quest to be Earth’s first essential luxury brand. With the announcement of a number of digital lifestyle services, Apple TV Plus, Apple News Plus, Apple Arcade and Apple Card credit card, the company has firmly staked its ground as a digital lifestyle company in response to a world where privacy is gaining currency. While Tim Cook has been unable to divine The Next Big Thing, he has successfully defended and widely expanded the Cult of Apple. He has discovered that not only do his followers admire elegant design and ease of use, they also like the fact that Apple respects privacy. He’s now featuring this in the company’s go-to-market strategy for digital services with a No Advertising philosophy — one more way to ensure the Cult remains dedicated.
Digital domination over the next ten years is going to depend on the depth and breadth of an ecosystem that serves all our needs as consumers. And the contenders are armed and ready. Facebook, while clumsily going through puberty, owns community with its effort to connect the world. Amazon is master of both the back end and the front end of commerce and strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. Netflix is the up and comer with its goal to create the next generation of entertainment. And Google has already managed to fulfill its original mission of organizing the world’s information. To stay in the game, Apple must embrace essential services that rely on IOS and feed our hunger, not only for communication and computing power, but entertainment, education, community and commerce. The next frontier is transportation. With Google in the lead here, you can bet the other FAANG warriors will be making interesting related announcements in the not-too-distant future.
The holy grail is to own our digital lifestyle: the ecosystem in which we live our lives. To keep the cult alive, Apple is full bore into a strategy to accomplish this by leveraging its social currency as a luxury brand while creating a dependence on the source of all things digital. The minute we buy into the Apple ecosystem, our lives run on IOS. We are addicted. We can’t and don’t want to get off it. And with the introduction of digital lifestyle services that also rely on IOS, Apple has set its hooks even deeper. It is the world’s first essential luxury brand.
But the challenge of consumer engagement never subsides. Tim and Mark and Jeff and Sundar and Reed have a daunting task ahead of them. The marathon is young, the competition stiff with new players always on the horizon. Who will win the race to own our digital lifestyle? Or might privacy prevail as we lose interest in this always on, forever connected world of digital dominance?