One of Steve Jobs’s favorite quotes was by Wayne Gretzky, a famous hockey player: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” From the beginning, Apple has been all about looking ahead to the next greatest thing, not concerning itself with aligning with other companies.
It might be Google’s turn to take a lesson from Apple and do the same, or they may miss out on an opportunity of monumental proportion. What is the opportunity you ask? AirPlay.
Over the last few years, Apple has created an ecosystem of devices based around AirPlay, a handy way to stream audio, video, photos, and now even your screen between the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. In typical Apple fashion, AirPlay is a seamless solution that “just works” and requires practically no setup. Though it started out small, AirPlay is quickly becoming a core feature of both the Apple TV and iOS.
Apple realizes that many people are being drawn to the AirPlay ecosystem in the same way that they were drawn to the simple to use iTunes ecosystem back in the early days of the iPod. So with every new iteration of iOS and the Apple TV, Apple integrates AirPlay more and more tightly, in order to draw more people to the platform.
Google and Apple are often polar opposites, and this is no exception. While Apple is looking ahead to what consumers want down the road, Google is sitting on the technology behind AirPlay and not marketing it. Due to this, customers are flocking to iOS in droves.
Evolver.fm provides evidence to back this trend up. According to Elliot Van Buskirk: “Every day, for months, the most popular search terms to Evolver.fm have been “airplay android” and “android airplay.”
If Google doesn’t step up and realize what’s happening, we could see history repeating itself again, on a scale of iPod proportions. Just as the MP3 market was shaken by the iTunes ecosystem 10 years ago, we could see the same happen in the smartphone market if Google doesn’t wake up and smell the AirPlay flavored coffee.
The future doesn’t look too good, either. Just over a month ago, the CEO of Time Warner admitted that he had no idea what AirPlay was. Let’s hope Google is a little more well informed.