This Week In Mobile
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This was a big week for product releases, which is great if you were suddenly hit with the terrifying realization that there are only 59 days until Christmas. We’re not entirely sure how that happened, but it’s true.
And just in time…AirPods Pro. We’re going to admit to some controversy here at BiTE HQ — while most of the team think they’re the best things ever, some of us think AirPods are just an invitation to lose something expensive. Nonetheless they have become one of the most coveted products in Apple’s storied history.
At $249 the Pro models are not a cheap accessory. That said, they’re also garnering rave reviews for their full, deep bass and crisp treble. Another plus is a larger, silicone earpiece that not only fits more ears more securely (reducing your chances of losing your very expensive little friends), but blocks out more external noise for a better listening experience.
So. Should you buy them? Well, we’re going to. Even those of us who think we’ll lose them down the cosmic sink drain of life. Every review we’ve read deems them “worth it,” and that’s quite a feat when you’re talking about $249 bucks.
Besides, it’s hard to resist any product that resembles so many cute things.
It’s no secret Fitbit has been struggling like us running up stadium stairs. Sales fell from $2.17 billion in 2016 to $1.51 billion in 2018, and their overall performance has been sluggish because the wearables space is so crowded now. And with the advent of the AppleWatch, of course, all bets were off. Apple entered with their usual flair and have taken over. Now with crazy cool features and huge health studies we suspect AppleWatch will continue to dominate.
But don’t count Fitbit out yet. Or maybe do.
Google’s parent company Alphabet has reportedly made an offer to buy the company. Does this signal that it’s looking to find a way into the already crowded wearables market? After all it’s a little amazing, when you think about it, that Google hasn’t already released a wearable (no, the Glass does not count).
So will they or won’t they? Honestly, probably not. Like we mentioned at the beginning, Apple is dominant in the space, and we think Google is smart enough to know it’s unlikely that anything they’d release could compete with the ever-more-wonderful (and ever-more-profitable) AppleWatch.
Wait, but why buy it? Because the technology and the data are more important than the products themselves. If that sounds kind of…gross, remember that commodity hardware companies are often more valuable for their parts than their sums.
There’s still the possibility that Google will bring impressive capabilities of their Assistant to bear and create a really cool wearable David to go up against Apple’s Goliath, but we suspect the wounds are still too fresh.
Lest you think we’re just complete Apple stans around here, when was the last time you heard us mention Apple Music? OK, when was the last time you heard anybody mention Apple Music?
We wondered if it’d have the steam to overtake Spotify, and it looks like we have our answer, at least for the time being. This week Spotify announced that as of September 30 it has 113 million paying subscribers. That is about double Apple Music’s number (as of this past June they had 60 million), and a phenomenally impressive take.
“We continue to feel very good about our competitive position in the market. Relative to Apple, the publicly available data shows that we are adding roughly twice as many subscribers per month as they are. Additionally, we believe that our monthly engagement is roughly 2x as high and our churn is at half the rate.”
While they’re superficially much the same, Spotify’s predictive features seem more on-point than Apple Music’s. This morning’s David Bowie abutting Grizzly Bear and Billie Holiday was bizarre but laser-perfect, and it’s the kind of excellent algorithmic finesse we’ve come to expect.
Will Apple Music ever catch up? Maybe. But at the moment, other than arguably better social sharing options, there’s nothing to set them apart from the already firmly established and clear winner.