What’s next for the App store?
It would appear that smartphone penetration in the developed world is nearing saturation point. While Apple has been the leader in smartphone device sales ever since the launch of the iPhone, we are starting to see the market level out for the first time in the competitive handset market ever since mobile phones became a mass-market item. Apple needs to step up its attempts to create new revenue opportunities and the App Store would appear to be the perfect means in which to do it. I’ve listed below a few approaches I think Apple could take in order to make the App Store a bigger revenue driving machine.
1. Weve in new ideas
As there are millions of registered customers with large amounts of profile data associated with each. Apple could quite easily copy the Weve model of reselling inventory/database details to brands to target promotions and products. Weve is the mobile marketing and wallet joint venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone which offers a “single, consolidated customer base” to run mobile marketing campaigns. This includes messaging, location based ads, rich media and video – all shared across the three shareholder operators’ networks. Apple could even build in location services to this through handset tracking (via the SIM, Wi-Fi or through another technology built into the device itself).
With Apple’s notorious quality controls in place, these campaigns could be run with the end-user in mind to ensure they only get targeted and notified of relevant and engaging materials. To me, this seems like an obvious direction for Apple to head in. It doesn’t even have to give the data away; it could run the campaigns on behalf of the brands it does business with.
Apple could also improve the way that Siri is used and embed it within the App Store to make search and navigation that much easier. With so many apps and choices for App Store customers, Apple is surely constantly looking to introduce better ways for consumers to navigate and discover apps that are relevant to their needs. Criticisms of Siri are of course prevalent and for the most part correct. Despite this, surely if Apple maintain its strict control policies around the App Store’s content, then the search function for Siri within their own ‘walled-garden’ would mean that what is being searched for is restricted and easier for Siri to sort through?
3. App Store Wallet
The big conversation point is Apple moving into mobile payments. They hold, and more importantly are trusted to hold, millions of card details for their customers. Currently this is only usable within the App Store, but what if Apple created an App Store ‘Wallet’ that allowed customers to make purchases with their App store account outside of this environment?
Of course Apple could also finally jump on the NFC bandwagon and have the App Store/iTunes account linked to an ‘Apple Mobile Wallet’. This would make the iPhone the payment device and the App Store wallet becomes the monetary source, which could lead to iTunes and the App Store combining (iStore, anyone?) and allow the purchase of all digital goods through one single portal both on devices and through NFC in stores. It would give consumers multiple ways of paying for something but all linked back through to one single source of money and would allow them to make the appropriate choice suitable to them.
While these are my thoughts and opinions, who knows what the future holds for Apple as they continue to hold future plans very close to their chest. They haven’t failed to surprise so far and I’m sure what is yet to come will not disappoint the masses.