Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is already among the world’s largest hardware companies and has a services business that has become its fastest-growing. Apple is expected to expand that services business this year, and among the new products may be a form of e-mail.
According to research firm Loup Ventures:
Apple could incorporate in a service dubbed Mail+. Inbox management, scheduling, and many of the daily tasks we perform in the Mail app could be automated, adding sufficient value to our lives while commanding a monthly fee.
The product would be more robust than many email platforms. It would be a personal assistant of sorts and would push the user information from their calendars and consumer entertainment services like Apple TV+. Emails could be composed by Siri.
Whether the Apple email product would work with other email systems remains to be seen. If so, it would need integration with Microsoft Outlook, Google’s Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN email, at the very least. The integration across so many products would be complex. It would also allow products from outside the Apple “ecosystem” to interoperate with the new product. Apple has been guarded about this kind of integration in the past.
And, other email providers may view the Apple product as competition, and block, to the extent they can, any level of interaction.
Email would be another way for Apple to bind users to its hardware, another service like the App Store, Apple Music, and Apple Pay. Free email may be a loss leader at some of the largest providers, but when people use the service, it often allows providers to market their other products.
Apple could make an email service part of iOS, which means it would come preinstalled on Macs, Watch, iPhones, and iPad. That would create a potential user base in the hundreds of millions of people. The marketing cost of the new service would, therefore, be very low.
Loup questions how quickly and successfully Apple could transform itself into an email provider:
Whether or not Apple could figure out how to integrate such a service across its ecosystem remains to be seen, and could be a deal-killer for such a concept.
However, Apple has been adroit as its has added more and more services over the last several years.
And, Apple’s “Services” business is critical to its growth, even with the acceleration of sales of the new iPhone 12 which will drive Apple’s top line this year. In 2020, total Apple revenue growth was modest, from $260.2 billion in the prior year to $274.5 billion. Services revenue grew much faster, from $46.3 billion to $53.8 billion. This year, “Services” revenue could top Mac and iPad combined.
An Apple email service is a way for Apple to become a larger part of people’s lives, and that, more than anything else, is what management knows drives the company forward.