Apple is building a social network inside iOS and most people have no idea it is even happening. No wonder Facebook is worried. It should be…
That might sound crazy. But in just a few short years, Apple’s vision for how social networks work could be the one that wins out. Especially if Facebook’s revenues take a hammering once Apple’s new no-tracking rules kick in inside iOS 15.
Do you know how many iPhones Apple sells a year? Or how many people use iPhones? It’s a lot. More than enough to create a social network. And if you connect the dots inside Apple’s last few iOS updates, this is exactly what Apple seems to be doing.
Apple is Laying The Foundation For Its Own Social Network
Plus, Apple’s users are loyal to a fault too. They use Apple apps for music, for IM, for video-calling. Even for TV, with Apple TV+.
Apple is building a grand, unified platform with social elements built-in at its core.
It’s not about one app, or FaceTime, or even Apple TV+ or Music. Instead, it is about ALL of Apple’s apps being connected and working together to form a cohesive, social environment where people can engage with one another.
Apple’s “Private” Social Network
Facebook’s business model is all about harvesting data and then selling that data to advertisers. This business model has come under increasing fire from security and privacy experts for obvious reasons.
And in iOS 15, Apple will prohibit Facebook from tracking its users by giving them the opportunity to opt out (and make no mistake: nearly all of them will).
This could cost Facebook BILLIONS. This is also why Emperor Zuck is writing blog posts about Apple and its stance on things like privacy and tracking.
Meanwhile, Apple has been busy making its core apps more social. Things like iMessage and FaceTime are now more social than ever. You can do group sessions, listen to music together, watch movies together.
Viewed individually, you wouldn’t notice anything. But there are telltale signs that Apple is looking to make its walled garden an actual social network, a place where you can interact with your contacts in a secure environment without being tracked.
And it is this “new direction” that could one day become how social networks actually work. And the best part of this vision, from Apple’s perspective, anyway, is that you will do it all inside iPhone – or, iOS or macOS – without having to ever leave.
Apple’s plan to engineer more social elements into its apps also aligns well with its push toward ramping up revenue from services. Over time, once Apple users grow accustomed to socializing inside these exclusive apps, they’d be more willing to continue investing in platforms like Apple TV+ or even upgrading to the Apple One bundle which gets you access to all of Apple’s services in one subscription.LaptopMag
The Contacts App Will Be Your New Facebook Profile
I was talking about connecting the dots earlier. If you look at the Contacts App on your phone, see how it has changed over the years, it is rather easy to see that it could one day become a sort of profile page for Apple’s walled garden social network.
Instead of just having things like a phone number and FaceTime links, a user – or your contact – could easily share updates and pictures inside here, as well as links to news posts. Apple has a News app, after all.
The Contacts app then would become the foundation of Apple’s social network. From inside it, you could see what your contacts are doing, what they’re sharing, and, if you choose, interact with them inside any number of applications – from Music to Apple+ and FaceTime.
The Apple Social Network: Coming To An iPhone Near You…
Apple has all the elements to make this work. It has all the applications, all the control, and the resources and user base to pull it off. Facebook wouldn’t get a look in. And this could all happen really quickly.
Think how fast FaceTime caught on. Or iMessage. Think about how many of your friends hate Facebook and use an iPhone. Now, imagine if they could maintain contact with their closest friends, share stuff with them, without having to use Facebook or download any additional apps?
Exactly. Millions of people would start using the new platform overnight.
I say, new platform, but it wouldn’t be a new platform. It’d just be iOS or ipadOS or macOS – they’re all the same thing these days.
And, best of all, if this ever did happen, it would actually be a proper social network based on interacting with people you actually know. There would be no brands or businesses on there. Just people you know in real life that you want to connect with.
I know I’d much rather use something like this than Facebook. The only problem is that I’d have to get an iPhone. And I guess that’d be the entire point of this venture: make something better and more secure than Facebook and use it to sell gazillions of Apple products and subscriptions to its services.
It’s genius, really. No wonder Facebook is looking worried about its future…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.