Apple is said to be bringing updates to Safari, Health, Maps, and iMessage during its WWDC keynote — updates that would increase customer lock-in.
When a user buys an iPhone they are met with iMessage, FaceTime, AirDrop, Apple Health, and a slew of services provided by the manufacturer itself. This is referred to as "lock-in" or the "walled garden" effect and Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal thinks Apple's operating system updates will make lock-in even worse.
Of course, next week at WWDC the walls will get even higher. I hear there are big updates coming to Safari, Health, Maps and iMessage at WWDC next week.— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) June 4, 2021
Apple is expected to announce updates to all of its primary operating systems and first-party apps. The updates announced at Apple's developer conference are usually more significant than others made throughout the year and can greatly impact the user and developers.
Getting a customer to buy the iPhone then use a multitude of apps and services only available on that device ensures customers are less likely to switch platforms. One of Apple's biggest draws, iMessage, has been brought up as an unfair advantage of the Apple ecosystem during anti-trust trials.
Adding new features to Apple Health could create yet another avenue for customer lock-in. Once a user starts logging every aspect of their life, medical records, and symptoms into an app, it can be hard to move away from such a system.
Apple's ability to integrate hardware and software vertically has often been a pain point for competitors. Since Apple controls the "entire stack" in a device from silicon to the entire operating system, Apple can implement features Android manufacturers have difficulty replicating.
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