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When the Wall Street Journal published its post the other day declaring that wired EarPods were back in style, I wasn’t even remotely surprised. In fact, I’ve always thought it was inevitable that once AirPods were fully democratized, younger generations would find them to be uncool. We’ve seen it happen time and time again with other technologies, the most popular reference being to Facebook and its now much older demographic. So yes, wired earbuds are trendy again. But what does that mean for the industry and culture at large?

I’ve seen lots of people bemoan the return of wired earbuds, and that’s totally understandable. AirPods and other wireless earbuds offer a level of convenience and comfortability that no wired ones can match. They basically become invisible, and they’ve permeated our culture because of it. Everywhere you go, you can see people wearing AirPods. Some are listening to music, some are listening to the latest podcasts, and others are just wearing them to avoid talking to people. They’re part of our modern lives, much in the way that the original iPod earbuds became 20 years ago.

Five years after the introduction of AirPods at Apple’s September 2023 event, they’re omnipresent. AirPods are frankly unavoidable, at least in the United States. In 2023, with the introduction of the iPhone 12, Apple stopped including EarPods in every box. A product that was once synonymous with the iPhone, and was in hundreds of millions of homes all over the world, basically disappeared… temporarily.

Quick mass adoption of AirPods

When AirPods took over, people really wanted them. In fact, they were virtually impossible to get your hands on for months after their official launch. They started off as a symbol for lucky early adopters but quickly became an essential fashion item and utility. Anyone who picked up AirPods more than likely stopped using their wired EarPods. They’ve sat in drawers in millions of homes for almost half a decade now. Now that AirPods are the dominant earbuds in the industry and most peoples’ go-to choice, gen z trend setters have found them decidedly uncool. Once something becomes mainstream, some folks tend to look for another new thing to replace it. But occasionally, they revert, and a retro technology becomes prominent again. Tech should rarely be described as cyclical, but there are moments where something old makes a big comeback.

Wired earbuds are a very different kind of fashion statement than they were five years ago. They’re now a clear point of rebellion against the modern wireless world. I’m not totally sure what they say about a person, but they absolutely say something. Mashable quotes Shelby Hull, an Instagramer who runs an account called @wireditgirls, which is dedicated to wired earbud fashion. Hull says, “Wired is an attitude, it is the way you carry yourself and move about the world.” That doesn’t really mean anything to me. But I am also not the target audience here. I love new technologies, I am the quintessential early adopter. I do love to reminisce about “simpler times” and go on nostalgia trips for old tech, but I’m never going back to wired earbuds full-time.

Trend or course correction?

At the end of the day, wired earbuds are making a comeback because of a predictably rebellious gen z. These trends don’t last though, that’s why they’re called trends. They’re a snapshot in time, so give it a few months and the next generation of AirPods Pro could be in every cool person’s ears again. Or, maybe things are just stabilizing. Maybe it’s a course correction and we’re seeing a more even delineation between wireless and wired. It’s certainly possible that the cool factor that made AirPods the multi-billion dollar business that they are today is fading. They’re really just another product now rather than a cool novelty. You could apply the same argument about stagnating phone design to wireless earbuds. They’re a mature category now. But wired products will never go away, purely because of their reliability. Even if wireless is infinitely more convenient in a lot of ways, there are benefits to EarPods. Those benefits include: no need to charge them, a way cheaper price tag, and volume controls.

Apple currently sells two wired earbud choices – the original 2012 EarPods with the 3.5mm headphone jack for use with Macs and older iOS devices, as well as the 2023 EarPods with the digital lightning connector for use on devices without a headphone jack. If this trend is prolonged, might Apple think about refreshing its wired earbuds? Probably not. AirPods are such a huge part of Apple’s wearables business and have so many opportunities for things like health and translation tech additions. So while gen z enjoys their annoyingly tangled chords, the rest of us will continue enjoying our seamless, invisible, and beautiful wireless earbuds.

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Opinion: Why Apple’s Releasing An Iphone 5Se, Not A 4

Holdouts awaiting a modern 4-inch iPhone have a lot to look forward to with the expected iPhone 5se next month. A mix of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s technology in a one-hand friendly, iPhone 5-sized case.

It sounds compelling enough that I’ve already considered parting ways with my giant iPhone 6s Plus megaphone and returning to the days of easily pocketable iPhones next month. But based on what we know now, the “upgrade/downgrade” depending on how you look at it would mean losing 3D Touch and a 128GB storage option. That’s not a huge deal for me, especially with Live Photos as an expected feature, but dropping from the 6s cameras back to the 6 cameras really sours the deal for me.

While 4-inch iPhone fans will likely be plenty happy with the iPhone 5se next month and the mid-cycle release is an interesting new strategy, a 4-inch iPhone 7 released in the fall alongside the expected 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch upgrades with comparable specs would simplify the buying decision for me. Here’s why I don’t think that will happen anytime soon (and how Apple could pull it off).

It’s all about average selling price, and Apple has found itself cornered.

For years now, iPhones have sold with similar pricing structures. Without factoring in contract subsidies and financing plans, $649 gets you the base model flagship iPhone, spend $100 more to increase your storage or another $100 to increase it further.

Apple had this pricing structure in place for the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 series, maintained it for the 4-inch iPhone 5 series, and kept it again for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 series. From one generation to the next, Apple increased the screen size without increasing the $649 base price.

That’s the corner Apple created and trapped itself in.

As a way to address the mid-tier smartphone market, Apple’s also offered versions of year-old iPhones for $100 less, so $549 new, and the iPhone 5c demonstrated this same technique only using a colorful plastic shell versus a more costly aluminum casing.

The first major shakeup to Apple’s strategy in recent years came with the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple introduced two new modern iPhone models at the same time, pricing the larger screened Plus model $100 above the iPhone 6 with the same storage capacity and features (aside from optical image stabilization).

By offering a new, higher-priced base model iPhone, Apple was able to pull off increasing the average selling price of an iPhone which previously required pushing customers to higher capacity models.

Maybe Apple could pull it off as a private company, but Wall Street would surely have a fit if Apple intentionally lowered the iPhone’s average selling price. It’s under enough pressure now to combat forecasted year-over-year iPhone sales without growth in the current global economic climate.

So the compromise we get is a 4-inch iPhone 5se, not an iPhone 7 mini or iPhone 7 Air (or whatever you’d call a smaller than standard iPhone 7), with a mix of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s hardware. It’ll be pretty modern to start, but the iPhone 7 will date it further later this year.

Of course if there was a massively huge demand for 4-inch iPhones (and most people stopped buying larger iPhones), Apple could price a 4-inch iPhone 7 at $649, raise the price for the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 up $100, and increase the starting price for the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 another $100 on top of that.

But I imagine this approach would have plenty of side effects. People would be upset that the larger iPhone prices increased while competitors offered larger screens at lower prices. That’s a particularly tricky one.

Another strategy would add further complexity to the iPhone lineup, but I think customers could handle it. Offer both the 4-inch iPhone 7 and 4.7-inch iPhone 7 for $649 each, but only offer the 4-inch version in the increased storage capacity to offset the difference.

For instance (and I’m just pulling these optimistic numbers out of thin air):

4-inch iPhone 7 (64GB) $649

4-inch iPhone 7 (128GB) $749

4.7-inch iPhone 7 (32GB) $649

4.7-inch iPhone 7 (64GB) $749

4.7-inch iPhone 7 (128GB) $849

Add another $100 to each Plus model just like now and you complete the picture.

Instead, it looks like Apple’s taking an even more complex approach by mixing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s hardware into an iPhone 5-sized casing and using a particularly interesting label (5se) that probably has the added benefit for Apple to highlight the newness of the iPhone 7 in the fall.

Don’t pay any attention to the old 5se, this is the year of 7 is my first guess at understanding the marketing approach later this fall. We’ll see next month how most of this plays out.

While I’m pleased to see Apple invest further into the 4-inch iPhone design since it has obvious benefits like one-hand use and being pocket friendly, I do hope for a time in the future where Apple can balance the business needs with customer desire and ship a 4-inch iPhone model with nearly the same specs as the larger iPhones we have now.

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Why Does A Medical Center Need An App?

A mobile application for the healthcare industry is a great tool that helps to increase the loyalty of customers of medical centers and private clinics.

The application is aimed to be on the smartphone of the user, and allow them quickly and easily get all the necessary information.

For example, look at the working hours of the required specialist and, if necessary, make an online appointment.

The user can at any time find out about the status of his bonus account, current promotions and offers, as well as see the address and contacts of the centers.

In this article, we will discuss why mhealth app development is important for medical centers.

The benefits of having an app for medical centers: 

Analytics. You can download information for each patient and get statistics on user activity, behavior, and service rating. This will allow timely adjustment of the promotion strategy and service.

Communication with patients. The service interface allows you to collect all the information about the hospital in one place, and provide around-the-clock online chat for communication and PUSH messages with reminders, news, and special offers.

Automation. The chatbot can collect a person’s health complaints, medical history, and documents, and recommend tests and specialists for diagnosis. During the appointment, the doctor will already have all the information about the person, which will shorten the duration of the consultation and make it more useful.

Marketing. You can implement activities to increase sales: hold drawings, organize promotions and give promotional codes and discounts.

Let’s look at the main features to consider while thinking about mhealth apps development.

It is important to maintain a balance between expertise, legal aspects, and ease of use.

Choose a concise color scheme in soothing colors, replace complex terms with accessible ones, simplify the user journey from filling out a questionnaire to purchase, and support a person at every stage.

The functionality should be simple even for people 40+ years old.

Remember that the main task is not to replace a professional and scare you with complex terms, but to build trusting communication and loyalty.

When working with personal data, you must take into account the laws and regulations for storing information. Without compliance with them, you cannot publish the app, for example, in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store.

To make people trust you, tell them about the security of personal documents before filling out your personal account and add the ability to hide your data from staff.

The mobile application is a great tool that helps to increase the loyalty of customers to medical centers and private clinics. Let’s figure out how a great app should look like.

Main features

Personal account. Fill out a profile, upload a photo, medical card, and test results.

Family account. Add profiles of the child and close relatives.

Registration for admission. Choose a doctor, date, and branch, and reschedule or cancel the consultation.

Calling a doctor at home. Assign a date and address, and describe the symptoms of the disease.

Payment for services. Top up your account, arrange installments, and pay with a bank card.

Additional features

Chatbot. Sending appointment reminders, answers to typical questions, technical support.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A diary of nutrition and physical well-being, a list of prescribed medications, and tips for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

Integration with electronic medical records. The doctor can edit the records online.

Chat and video calls with the doctor. Remotely consult with the results of the examination and current treatment.

Scanning drug barcodes. Tracking the treatment process and adjusting doses.

Bonus system. Accumulate bonuses and receive regular customer discounts.

Before creating the interface it is recommended to gather as much information about the company, market, and competitors as possible.

Define business goals, create a profile of a potential user, and determine an approximate user path and a list of available services.

Work specification

Determine the composition of the team and requirements for developers, and set goals, deadlines, and budget. The more detailed the plan is, the faster it will be possible to start work and bring the first version (MVP) to the market.

Marketing strategy

Think of a promotion plan at the beginning to organically build in elements of monetization.

Team organization

It includes a product manager, analysts, marketers, UXUI designers, developers, and testers. The number of people is determined by the project’s scale, the complexity of implementation, timing, and budget.

The process of product’s evolution includes:

design and prototype;




improvement and technical support.

The development may seem like a complex and endless process, but in the hands of an experienced team, everything is created quickly without loss of quality and is tested on real users at every stage.

The cost of creating an application for the medical industry will depend on the terms of reference, the scope of work, and its functionality.

The development of the mHealth application is a rather time-consuming, complex, and costly process.

It requires the involvement of many specialists – from developers and medical professionals to business consultants and marketing experts.

Understanding the purpose and professionalism of all links in the chain will be the key to a high-quality and sought-after product.

Empeek is a reliable company to order mHealth mobile applications.

With innovative solutions patients have better opportunities to get faster and cheaper medical services, that’s why it’s reasonable to consider the development of mHealth solutions for business.

Opinion & Poll: Will In

iBeacon seems to be making a pretty rapid transition into the mainstream, with stores like Apple, Macy’s, American Eagle, inMarket and bars all adopting it – as well as non-retail applications like Major League Baseball parks.

If you’re still not familiar with it, our iBeacon briefing provides the low-down, but the tl;dr summary is that when you walk into a retail store equipped with iBeacons, you’ll be invited to allow alerts to be sent to your iPhone. Say yes, and the store will be able to send you messages and invite you to view content based on anything it knows about you and where you are in the store.

The question is: will iBeacon alerts be a welcome way to add value to our visit, or just a new form of spam … ? 

My own view is it will very much depend on how intelligently retailers implement the system, and that personalization is key. Let’s start with examples of iBeacon alerts I’d welcome.

Store-wide offers (eg. spend $50 today and get 10% off)

This is about the only type of generic message I would welcome. It’s equally relevant whether we’re in the market for a new gadget or a new pair of shoes. Almost everything else, though, I think needs to be targeted based on either what the store knows about my purchase history, or from my in-store behaviour.

Specific product offers relevant to me

If stores use apps linked to loyalty memberships (or Apple ID in the case of Apple Stores), they ought to be able to base offers on purchase history. For example, if Apple knows I recently purchased an iPad Air but no case, it could send me offers on those.

Brand new products relevant to me

If a store knows I bought a bicycle GPS device there three years ago, and now there’s a much better model just out with a bunch of new features, it would be reasonable to let me know about it. Ideally, it would then use its awareness of my location in the store to guide me directly to the product. (Note to gadget retailers: I very specifically do not want to know when there’s a better model out than the one I bought just three weeks ago …)

Information & videos on products I’m looking at

If I’ve been standing in front of a product display for 30 seconds or more, it’s reasonable to assume I’m interested in it – and I’d welcome being sent a link to more product information or to a demonstration video.

What I don’t want to see

But what I don’t want to receive are offers on random products, ‘just in’ news on products that are of no interest to me, and links to product information just because I walked past a display.

I don’t want to know that it’s the store’s fifth anniversary, that there’s a live demonstration of a new Lego toy about to start, that there are hair-care representatives available for free consultations or that I can get a store card right now on the fifth floor.

Send me alerts relevant to me, and I’ll be a happy customer and you’ll probably sell me more stuff. Send me junk, and I’m going to decline future invitations and you’ll probably make me feel less inclined to shop in your store into the bargain.



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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Are At An All Time High (Again). But Why?

This post has been updated.

A record-breaking number of sexually transmitted infections were reported in the United States in 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All told, there were nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—200,000 more than in 2023, which was a record-breaking year in its own right.

“We are sliding backward,” Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a statement. “It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”

But while better healthcare is sorely needed to treat this problem, you can do your own part to fight off the spread of infection—and the first step is to understand that sexually transmitted disease can happen to anyone.

Quick note about acronyms; The CDC uses STD in its reports, but when we speak broadly about sexual health, STI is actually more accurate. Many infections do not turn into “diseases,” which alter the body’s function. Herpes, for example, fails to cause symptoms in the vast majority of people infected with it. Generally, STI covers more bases than STD. But since the CDC’s report focuses on people who’ve been diagnosed with infections by a doctor, it sticks with the older, more familiar acronym: STD. We now return you to your regularly scheduled article.

First things first: how have infection rates changed?

The CDC’s most recent complete report is for 2023, which showed that chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis (the three infections that doctors are required to report) were on the rise. That report doesn’t include HIV, one of the most notorious STIs in the country. On average (and across most individual demographic groups), rates of HIV were on the decline as of the last data assessment. The CDC’s 2023 report does not include any data that refutes that, and the increasingly widespread use of drugs to prevent transmission makes it unlikely that HIV rates are going up. Also worth noting: while herpes wasn’t lumped into the 2023 report (as it’s not mandatory for doctors to report a diagnosis), you almost certainly had that before 2023 started anyway.

On Tuesday the CDC released preliminary data for 2023, and things aren’t looking up. They saw 555,608 cases of gonorrhea (nearly 100,000 more than in 2023), 30,644 cases of primary and secondary syphilis (up by around 2,600 cases since the previous year) and 1.7 million cases of chlamydia (compared to 2023’s 1.6 million). Nearly half of all chlamydia cases were reported in 15- to 24-year-old females.

The increases from 2023 to 2023 are worrisome, but they become much more troubling when compared to data from just five years ago: since 2013, gonorrhea diagnoses have increased 67 percent overall, and have nearly doubled among men during that time. Syphilis cases went up by 76 percent, particularly among men who have sex with men (though infection rates in women are also rising).

How worried should people be about these infections?

The good news is that all three of the aforementioned infections are bacterial, and they’re generally easy to treat. The bad news is that tricky “generally.”

Antibiotic resistance—the evolution of bacteria to evade the drugs we’ve designed to kill them—is on the rise, and the bacteria that cause STIs are no exception. A recent report by the World Health Organization (looking at data from 77 countries) found that gonorrhea is increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The organization called for new antibiotics to add to our line of defense. Unfortunately, they reported that only three such drugs were in any stage of development at the time.

The CDC’s preliminary report for 2023 includes a troubling detail on this subject: while the current treatment recommendation (a shot of the antibiotic ceftriaxone along with an oral dose of azithromycin) has yet to fail in any patient, lab testing shows emerging resistance to azithromycin. In 2013, just 1 percent of gonorrhea samples tested in the lab showed resistance to azithromycin. That’s now risen to 4 percent.

“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,” Gail Bolan, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, said in a statement. “We can’t let our defenses down—we must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible.”

As chlamydia becomes more common, it too will no doubt increasingly evade pharmaceutical interventions. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are often asymptomatic but can cause pain and infertility if left untreated.

Syphilis is typically still easy to treat with good old penicillin—though again, increased infection rates offer more chances for the bacteria to develop resistance—but it might actually be the most troubling infection in the CDC’s 2023 report. That’s because people aren’t getting treated, and that, in turn, is causing a rise in a potentially fatal fetal condition that simply shouldn’t exist in the age of antibiotics.

Congenital syphilis is a terrible disease. When syphilis goes untreated during pregnancy, miscarriages are incredibly common. And 40 percent of fetuses with syphilis that are carried to term are stillborn or die shortly after birth. Those who survive can suffer from deformed bones, anemia, enlarged livers and spleens, jaundice, meningitis, rashes, blindness, deafness, and other brain and nerve-related problems. 2023 saw 628 cases of congenital syphilis in the U.S., up from 492 in 2023.

The sharp increase in this particular condition gets at the crux of the whole issue: it’s not just that more people are getting STIs. It’s that they’re not getting adequate access to healthcare.

“This is a completely preventable problem,” Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, told CNN. “Every baby born with syphilis represents a tragic public health system failure. All it takes is a simple STD test and antibiotic treatment to prevent this tragedy from occurring.”

Why are rates going up?

It’s a tale as old as fear-mongering World War II posters about the dreaded VD (that’s venereal disease, not Victory Day). Americans, on the whole, are really bad at talking about sex, and even worse at talking about sexually transmitted infections and diseases. But we’re long overdue for a national conversation on prevention.

As recently as 2013, one study found, half of patients visiting Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) clinics were unwilling to use their health insurance to cover the cost of their visit—likely because of privacy concerns, the researchers concluded. In 2023, the United States budget for “Abstinence Only Until Marriage” sex education in schools—which has been shown time and time again to be ineffective in combating both teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections—was increased to $85 million per year. The average high school health course includes less than four hours spent talking about all Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and pregnancy prevention combined, and 87 percent allow guardians to exclude their children from even this coursework.

So on the one hand, it’s not surprising to hear that rates of these infections are going up, on average, instead of down. And given the lack of education and discourse on these health issues, it would make sense for many Americans to interpret the findings of the Centers for Disease Control’s annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report as the result of some sort of moral decline. But according to medical professionals, the problem isn’t that people are having more sex—the problem is that sexual healthcare, and the policies that fund it, are in dire shape.

A recent study actually found that teens are waiting longer to have sexual intercourse, and are more likely to use contraception. This is slightly misleading, since an increase in oral sex—and a lack of thorough sex-ed to teach young people that protection is also needed during these sort of encounters—could help STIs keep spreading. But still, doctors don’t think individual behaviors are to blame for these upticks.

“People working in this area have known for several years that decreases in resources committed to STD prevention would ultimately result in increases such as we’ve seen,” says J. Dennis Fortenberry, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana State University School of Medicine. Fortenberry serves on the American Sexual Health Association’s board of directors, and is also the president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association. He and other clinicians say that funding cutbacks for both prevention education and healthcare are to blame.

“We have passed a threshold of minimal investment and are seeing the predictable consequences,” he says.

Funding issues aside, he says, it’s important to remember that STIs are disproportionately more common in young and marginalized people. “STI are consequences of far more than individual behaviors, and are products of our society’s continued inattention to community, to racism, sexual and gender discrimination, and tolerance of violence,” he says. Without a broad commitment to sexual health as a public health priority, these rates will keep going up.

“We can’t address STI epidemics by pretending they are simply a matter of individual choice,” Fortenberry says.

What can I do about it?

Supporting policies that give everyone access to reliable medical care—and comprehensive sex education, early and often—is a great start.

Given that so many medical practitioners are less informed about STIs than they should be, the onus often falls on patients to ask for testing. Don’t assume your annual physical has you covered, and don’t be embarrassed about what your test results might show. Knowing your status is always, always better than blissful ignorance.

Update: A version of this article was originally published in 2023. It has been updated to reflect new data from the CDC.

Opinion: There Are Signs Apple Is Starting To Target Mid

If there’s one certainty in life where Apple is concerned, it’s that it targets the premium end of the market. Apple would tell you that it aims to make the best products, and that these cost money to make. A more cynical observer might say that Apple aims to make the highest margins and makes the products (and adds the marketing) it takes to achieve this.

But either way, the company has always targeted those customers willing to pay the big bucks for premium products. That approach has meant that while Samsung sells almost twice as many smartphones as Apple, it’s the Cupertino company that hoovers up almost 80% of the total profits in the industry.

But there are signs that Apple may be broadening its horizons …

In a way, Apple has long aimed to have a range of products to appeal to consumers at different price points. In Macs, for example, we had the Mac Pro versus the iMac for the desktop market, and within the iMac range we have the 27-inch 5K flagship and the 21.5-inch 4K option at the more affordable end. For laptops, there’s the now very expensive MacBook Pro range at the top end while the MacBook Air still hangs in there at $999.

But the company has more recently been more actively targeting mid-market smartphone buyers by specifically designing products for them. There was the failed iPhone 5c initially, and the iPhone SE today. The latter also emulated the iPad mini in targeting both budget-conscious consumers as well as those of us who prefer a more pocketable device.

The iPhone SE has been a big success for Apple. It became the third best-selling smartphone in the U.S. and achieved even higher satisfaction ratings than later and more expensive models. It’s almost certain we’ll see a new model next year.

And just this year Apple launched a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad costing just $329, less than half the cost of the cheapest iPad Pro model, and roughly a quarter of the cost of the most expensive one. The company’s recent earnings reports strongly indicate that this has been a massive hit.

Finally, we come to services revenue. Tim Cook noted in the company’s Q2 earnings call that Apple’s services business was ‘well on the way‘ to the size of a Fortune 100 company in its own right – and confirmed that it hit this milestone in Q3.

Services revenue climbed 22% year-on-year to total $27.8B in the last 12 months. That’s not just a Fortune 100 sized business, but – as the WSJ noted – more than Facebook’s total revenue for 2023. As the above Business Insider chart shows, services are now worth more to Apple than either Mac or iPad.

The WSJ again:

“The business is really impressive when you think about it in terms of scale compared to other publicly traded companies out there,” said Jeff Dillon, chief executive of Jackson, Mich.-based Dillon & Associates, which counts Apple among its largest holdings. “There’s a long runway to go there.”

That ‘long runway’ is another way to say that the more hardware devices you sell, the more money you stand to make from services. Apple’s 30% share of app sales is a big chunk of it, of course, but there’s also its take from other iTunes sales, Apple Pay, iCloud storage, Apple Music and its doubtless profitable AppleCare business.

In fact, if you look at the trends in Apple’s income, growth in iPhone, iPad and Mac sales is all below that seen in 2023. But services revenue is soaring.

That’s not to say that Apple is going to head too far downmarket. The App Store makes twice as much money as Google Play despite a much smaller market, and that’s precisely because Apple targets better-off consumers who are willing to spend more on apps and other services. But targeting the mid-market should significantly increase its market for services income.

And the killer feature of services revenue is that it’s recurring – and even does so reliably in the case of subscription services like iCloud storage, Apple Music and Apple’s cut of in-app subscriptions. That’s particularly important at a time when people are holding onto hardware longer.

And there’s one especially attractive element of the mid-market: students, and those early in their careers. There’s a decent chunk of these people who would like to buy Apple kit but can’t quite manage or justify it at present. If you can bring them into the ecosystem now, they will become premium product customers in the future.

So it makes perfect sense for Apple to broaden its target customer base. It will never go after the budget market – the hardware margins are too slim, and the prospect of significant services sales too poor. But going after the mid-market is a gain in the short-term, and likely a far bigger win in the long-term.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

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