A young mobile audience is enamored with Snapchat, WeChat and Instagram. And Apple, associated with an older, higher-income crowd, wants a piece of that.
According to sources, Apple is working on a video-sharing application that will incorporate on-screen stickers and animated effects and enable users to share their video creations across numerous social networks or with contacts, Bloomberg reported Aug. 25.
"The early plans are part of a newly directed focus to integrate social networking applications within Apple's mobile products and are a response to the success of social media-focused companies such as Facebook Inc. and Snapchat Inc.," said the report, citing people familiar with Apple's plans.
The report also noted that the app will, like Instagram, shoot in a square shape, be designed to be used with one hand and be capable of shooting, editing, uploading and, well, bedazzling in less than a minute. The app won't be a social network in itself, but a creator of content to share on other networks.
Snapchat has 150 million daily users who spend an average of 30 minutes a day on the app; more than one-third of those users, or 50 million-plus people, make daily "Stories" about their days.
Instagram, which has more than 300 million active daily users, on Aug. 1 introduced a Stories feature that added much the same capability—instant editing, on-screen doodling and decorating, and, since each story disappears after 24 hours, minimum pressure to make their shared content "perfect." Users post more than 95 million photos and videos to the site each day.
Apple, which has relied primarily on hardware sales, is seeing those figures slow, and now the company that popularized the concept of mobile apps, and during its last quarter generated $6 billion in Services revenue, is looking to become a more active participant in the consumer applications space it has facilitated.
Which could create a profitable loop.
"In a way this is really Apple trying to cater to younger generations of users," Bloomberg writer Mark Gurman said in a video interview on the site. "If people start using this application, it'll catch on, and the people who grew up with Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and Twitter will be more open to buying iPhones vs. Android phones."
Gurman added that, while Apple is notorious for being closed off, its plans this time are quite the opposite.
"It's basically going to be the opposite of how closed-off they've been," said Gurman. "It's going to try to connect to every social network that you can access on an iPhone. So the goal is that this is the creator, the creating solution. The application where the content is driven from. Once you finish creating your clip, you'll be able to post it to any social network that supports the iPhone and perhaps multiple at the same time."
The expected launch date is some time in 2017.