When iTunes was first created, it was Mac only. The iPod only worked with the Mac, in fact that’s part of how Steve Jobs convinced the record companies to allow their content to be sold over the Internet in the first place. Now the iTunes Store is wildly popular and is built in to both of Apple’s operating systems, iOS and Mac OS X, and is available on Windows. It took a long time to get iTunes on Windows, but it finally happened and every Redmond fan wishing they could have an iPod rejoiced.
In the Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, he quotes him as saying that he didn’t want to port iTunes over to Android because he didn’t see a benefit, except to make Android users happy. He went on to say that he didn’t wan’t to make Android users happy. I guess that makes a certain kind of sense. If you are using a phone on a particular platform and you feel there are things lacking on said platform, then maybe you’ll consider switching.
Apple is rumored to be considering bringing the iTunes Store to Android. Personally, I think that this is a great idea for a lot of reasons:
Sales – Right now Android has the larger share of the mobile device market, and the Google Play store is not as good as the iTunes Store when it comes to selection, recommendations, etc. So let them buy their stuff from iTunes. How can this possibly hurt anyone? Steve Jobs was a really clever guy, but let’s face it, he was wrong about bringing iTunes to Windows and eventually caved, he said that no one wants a 7-inch tablet and the iPad mini and the Nexus 7 are kick-ass devices. So maybe he was wrong about this too.
Converts – During one of the D conferences, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates sat side by side and answered questions posed to them by Walt Mossberg and some chick who’s name I don’t remember. At one point Steve was asked about iTunes on Windows and he said that it was like giving someone in hell a glass of ice water. I think that’s a stretch, but at the same time if Apple really believes that they have the better service and that when compared directly to Google Play that user’s will embrace iTunes then do it. This could (theoretically) inspire some people to get an iPhone. “Oh, this is really easy, I like the way this looks”, “if buying music from Apple is this easy…” etc. are the types of things that Apple hopes that Android users will think/say and maybe when it’s time for a new phone, it will have been designed in Cupertino.
Conclusion – I use an iPhone, but as I have stated here in other articles I’ve owned multiple different Android powered devices, some of which where really good. One of the reasons that I never really felt comfortable on Android as a platform was all things media related. I listen to a lot of music and I watch a lot of TV shows and movies. A lot of what I’ve purchased has come from the iTunes Store. Because I had already purchased a lot of stuff from iTunes, I would have to connect my device to a computer and sync it to get the music from iTunes onto my Android device. I hate syncing media. In this day and age there’s no reason why I should have to resort to things like USB cables to get my songs on my phone, but that’s what had to happen to get the music.
I realize that there are folks out there who haven’t purchased all of their stuff from Apple, but I can tell you that it’s been really nice living inside their system. Earlier this month Apple had the Disney sensation Frozen available for digital download before it came out on Blu-ray, so I bought it using my Apple TV. My family can watch it whenever we want, and I don’t have to keep my two year old from scratching up a disc (he’s pretty clever with the button pushing on things). The other upside is that I was able to pull my iPhone out and just download the movie to my phone and let him watch it in the car the other day. If I was still using an Android phone, that wouldn’t have been possible.
A final thing to note beyond the actual purchasing of media is the increasing popularity of streaming it. Apple launched iTunes Radio when iOS 7 came out, and since then they’ve seen a drop in the amount of music being purchased. Of course the increasing popularity of services like Spotify and Rdio have been taking a bite out of everyones sales numbers when it comes to music. Part of Apple’s possibly willingness to share the love is really about having the maximum number of devices possible when they expand their streaming services in the future.