A smaller chunk of a bigger pie

50 is the loneliest number

Apple News is getting a paid service where its users will be able to read an unlimited amount of content from participating publishers for a monthly fee. Apple will share 50% of all revenues with them, as opposed to the 70/30 split they do on Apps and Music.

A few notes:

  • Many publishers have already signed to the initiative.

  • That split is pretty divisive. Some think "it’s the absolute dollars paid out that matters". They expect the service to be so huge their cut will be greater than getting 100% from other sources.

  • If taking 30% "seems a bit greedy", 50% would be "insane" according to long time Apple observer John Gruber. 

  • For smaller and local media companies, this is great.

  • Many big media companies won't initially sign, fearing that many of their subs could jump to this platform and then getting less money out of those.

  • 50% is approx. what paper newspapers and magazines pay for distribution costs of their physical deliveries. In this regard, and being a digital venture, the number is outdated.


It's not only China?

As new data from third parties get to my inbox, it's clearer that the iPhone underperformed the market worldwide in 2018Q4, and not only (but specially) in China. I summed the reports in this chart:

There's no Q4 iPhone data from India available to me yet. But it'll look way worse.


Apple will host a March 25 event.

The event is going to be focused on services, and will probably include the announcement of the aforementioned news subscription plan, as well as the video subscription service. Many Hollywood stars will attend.


Apple buys voice app startup Pullstring.

Pullstring enables the design and publishing of voice apps. This could become, together with Siri Shortcuts, the base for a more powerful “Siri OS”. The startup was founded by ex-Pixar executives, including a past CTO. The deal is believed to be valued at around $30 million.


Apple Podcasts Connect forbids data aggregation.

From the new T&Cs: "you must not aggregate (or permit any third-party to aggregate) analytics information provided to you by Apple as part of the Content Analytics Service with other content providers’ analytics information".

  • Translation: don't merge our reports with those of Spotify or your own stats, or use tools that do so. Which is what Chartable and other companies do.


More from the orchard

Competitors

  • Google plans cheaper smartphone, dubbed the Google 3 Lite, to draw users. The report gives out shipment figures for the Pixel. It's growing, but still far from the iPhone.

  • Spotify paid tier ARPU keeps falling (22% to €4.81 in 2018Q4) while ad-supported ARPU is slightly up every year.

  • Amazon and Google keep demanding more data from Alexa- and Google-compatible devices .

  • Goldman Sachs estimates that Google paid Apple $9.5 billion in 2018, or about 23% of all Apple services revenue, to keep their search engine as default. The total amount is not public but Google's TAC keep rising.

  • Global slowdown affects chipmakers around the world. Samsung margins shrink 14 points while TSMC forecasts its operating profit in the quarter ending March to drop by more than 20% from the previous year.

  • Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S5e looks like an iPad Pro with an iPad price and specs.

  • Xiaomi gives an early look at their new flagship, the Mi 9.