Apple Watch & Electric Cars
Note – this episode was taped in late February, before the March 9th Apple Event.
Ryan: Good afternoon. Welcome to another edition of App Marketing Conversations. I am Ryan Morel of GameHouse. I am joined as always by Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by Tune and Robi Ganguly of Apptentive. How are we doing?
Ryan: Okay. We’ve got the Apptentive sign behind us.
Ian: That’s nice, isn’t it?
Ryan: We’re stepping it up with App Marketing Conversations.
Ian: At least Robi is doing it.
Ryan: So, today we’re going to talk a little bit about Apple’s recent announcements, kind of just the broader tech market and tech giants and how app marketers should be thinking about taking advantage of them. I think everybody, if they’ve read the Internet over the last week or so, has seen one of three things. One, the supposed orders of five to six million Apple watches for release in the March-April time frame. Two, that Tesla is poaching Apple employees and that Apple is poaching Tesla employees. And, that subsequently that must mean then there is now a relatively large amount of evidence that Apple is working on a car. Before we get into what this might mean for app marketers, let’s start with you, Robi. What’s your general reaction to the idea that Apple might be building an electric car?
Robi: I mean, it sort of feels like of course they’re experimenting with it. I have no idea if they’ll ever get to a place where it’s actually good enough that they would want to ship it. But, when you are the biggest company in the world from a revenue perspective and you’re looking at new opportunities, you look at television and you look at auto. They’re not getting into oil and gas, right?
Robi: That’s not happening.
Ryan: Well, other than that $850 million solar thing that they announced at the same time, right?
Robi: I guess, well…
Ryan: Like energy.
Ian: Energy, yeah.
Robi: Fair enough.
Ian: Yeah, I mean I think it’s a where do you go from here type situation if you’re a $700 billion company, and you have to make a lot of money to make a dent. Imagine trying to put 10%… Like, in the startup world, we’re trying to think about how do we 10x our enterprise value, right? Think about trying 10% their enterprise value, $70 billion. What do you do at that level?
Ian: I think you’re right. Automotive is a huge win. I think the bigger question is why didn’t they just start with something in the car rather than, like, partner, rather than going for the whole car, but that’s Apple’s M.O. as well, just own the whole stack, right?
Robi: But these are all rumors, right? Who knows if they are starting in the car but what they’ve decided to do is have their own demo car that they’re building around this…
Ian: Could be true.
Robi: …to really truly test all of the things at the end and then…
Ian: That could be true.
Robi: Rumors are notorious for being completely fabricated or false when it comes to Apple.
Ian: That’s true.
Ryan: Yeah. But, you’ve seen now Google has a self-driving car and they’re clearly moving towards a world where those are in use. Apple, regardless of whether or not they’re really working on a car, they’re trying to do something to engage consumers beyond just the endless amounts of time we spend staring at our phones.
Ryan: If you’re an app marketer, are you thinking about this, or are you looking at this with any other lens other than these are the guys we’ve got to continue to support and continue to think about how we’re going to take advantage of the tools and services they offer because you never know what’s going to change?
Ian: I think I’m looking at it with just a whole lot of curiosity and admiration, quite frankly, if they decide to go through with it. If I’m an app marketer today, I don’t think there’s much for me to be acting on, but certainly there’s potential in the future for the world to change.
Robi: I think if I’m an app marketer, I agree. You’re not taking much action right now, but what your frame of reference should be is one of constant exploration of the screens in consumers’ lives and how you and your marketing strategy are evolving to address those screens. You just assume at some point there will be a screen powered by iOS or Android in cars. So, if you’re thinking that way, it’s not like, oh, it’s a big surprise when that stuff comes out. It’s like, oh, our strategy has always been thinking about the screens in people’s lives and now we know what we’re going to execute on.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah.
Ian: I think one of the most interesting things about… Let’s suspend disbelief for a second and assume they really are working on an electric car. I think one of the more interesting things about that is over the last 50, 60 years, no car company has been able to successfully be built, and then Tesla came along, right?
Ian: That was a new car company that was able to be built. Now, you have Apple looking at this. I think over the last 20 to 30 years you have this perspective of the cost to develop software just tanked, right? And the cost to build a software business tanked, and that’s an amazing thing. I think what you’re starting to see is the cost to build physical goods is also tanking, right? You no longer need incredible crazy mechanical engineers to go along with your electrical engineers. All that stuff is becoming cheaper to build, cheaper to test, and cheaper to iterate on. I think projecting out another 20 years what happens when software can eat, and technology can eat, and construction technology can eat all sorts of other industries, I think that’s pretty fascinating.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. It’s a little bit like I think we’ve talked some about the logistics as a services business,…
Ryan: …businesses that are cropping up right?
Ryan: Things like Skyp and Apple Pay, etc. will allow companies to maybe compete with Amazon where five years ago they couldn’t.
Ryan: So, the car, it’ll be really interesting to see what happens or doesn’t happen, because I bet two years we’ll have forgotten that this conversation ever took place. But, five million Apple watches, does that feel high, low, and if you’re a marketer, do you care?
Robi: I don’t think you really care about five million Apple watches as an initial shipment. I think you care about the fact that it might be 20 to 50 million Apple watches in market within 12 to 18 months. I think that’s what you start thinking about and getting really excited about.
Ian: I think that’s probably true, although I will say that I found it to be a much higher number than I would’ve thought and I’m interested to see if there’s going to be a line out the door for Apple watches. I don’t know.
Ryan: Yeah. April’s not that far away, and if that’s the real launch date, I’m surprised that there isn’t a substantially higher amount of product awareness and marketing going on about some of the killer applications. Because at least in my mind I’m still not aware of what that particular thing is other than it’s a watch made by Apple.
Robi: I’ve got to believe, though, knowing how Apple launches these things, right now they’re shooting commercials with apps that are already privately working with the SDK(?)
Ian: Of course.
Robi: I expect when it launches to see ten variations on the Apple watch commercial and six of them to really highlight apps that are best in breed.
Ryan: Yeah. Yeah, I think that totally makes sense. I just think it’s only a month away.
Robi: There are some people who are busy over there.
Ryan: Okay, cool. I think that’s it for this segment. I think it will be interesting to see if this mini prediction about how Apple is going to handle the launch is true and what the numbers actually look like over the next 12 to 18 months for marketers. So, thanks very much for watching. Make sure to watch the other segments from Ian and Robi, “Like” this video, and subscribe to our channel.