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How Apple Killed These Startups With The iOS 18 And macOS 15 Updates

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the phenomenon of "Sherlocking" - when Apple integrates functionalities and features into its operating systems that were previously offered by third-party apps. It explores the implications of this practice for startups, app developers, and the tech ecosystem as a whole.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] What is "Sherlocking"?

  • "Sherlocking" is the tech world's term for when Apple (or any tech giant) incorporates a third-party app's functionality into its own ecosystem, often leaving the original developers out in the cold.
  • The term originates from when Apple introduced Sherlock 3 in 2002, which included many features that were previously available in the competing app Watson by Karelia software.

[02] Why does Apple engage in Sherlocking?

  • There are several strategic reasons why Apple does this:
    • Ecosystem lock-in: Offering these features natively makes it harder for users to leave the Apple ecosystem.
    • Increasing revenue: While it may mean a dip in App Store revenue from third-party apps, a feature-rich OS can increase hardware sales and ensure users remain within the Apple ecosystem, allowing Apple to generate steady revenue from services like iCloud, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade.

[03] What are the impacts of Sherlocking on startups and third-party app developers?

  • When Apple Sherlocks an app, it can have massive ripple effects for startups and third-party app developers:
    • Significant hit to their revenue as users opt for the free, built-in Apple alternative
    • Operational challenges as they have to reassess their value propositions and potentially pivot or innovate
    • Difficulty securing funding from investors who may be wary of backing apps that could be Sherlocked in the future
    • Need to invest heavily in R&D to create new, unique features that Apple has not yet included in its OS

[04] What are some examples of apps that have been Sherlocked in recent years?

  • Password managers like 1Password, LastPass, and Bitwarden
  • Call recording and transcription apps like TapeACall and TrueCaller
  • Transcription apps like Otter, AudioPen, and
  • Screen mirroring app Bezel
  • Window tiling apps like Magnet, Rectangle, and Moom
  • Custom emoji creation app Newji
  • Hiking/trail apps like Alltrails

[05] How can developers respond to the threat of Sherlocking?

  • Becoming more resilient to such changes by innovating and refining their offerings
  • Anticipating trends, responding quickly to changes, and offering unique value propositions that Apple may not prioritize
  • Focusing on catering to specific needs and providing innovative solutions that Apple may not include in its OS
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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