Big Data

Big data could be a sweet business for Apple, analysts say

Apple logo MaxVT Flickr
Image Credit: MaxVT/Flickr

Apple captures billions in revenue every quarter by selling devices, music, and movies, but it could be missing out on a big opportunity: big data.

Analysts at Wells Fargo believe the company could become smarter when it comes to tapping lots of the data it’s privy to and thereby improve user experiences. In a research report today, the analysts noted that doing more with data could help the company continuously grow and stop leaning on occasional product releases.

“[W]e believe Apple will use collected information to bring more utility to end users’ lives by predictively delivering content and services, i.e., machine learning, or artificial intelligence,” the analysts wrote. “By combining data points such as age, gender, location, calendar information, behavioral history, or even data mined from emails, like travel itineraries (and much more), Apple could effectively become a more proactive personal assistant. Hence, the ultimate goal of this phase will likely be to offer a value-add service to not only simplify, but also improve the consumer experience.”

Apple already has its Siri digital assistant on its iPhones and iPads, but providing much more personalized offerings does seem like an obvious move, as Google and Microsoft upgrade their respective capabilities when it comes to using lots of different kinds of data to help people.

More generally, the Wells Fargo analysts called out several applied categories Apple could set its mind to and turn into revenue sources, including retail, fitness, predictive analytics, and internal efficiencies. The big fish, though, is advertising.

Apple, of course, isn’t the only company that could take all the data it collects and increase revenue or drop expenditures. At VentureBeat’s DataBeat conference coming up next month, we’ll be talking about opportunities in both of those areas.

As for Apple, it might take a year or two for the company to become more active in these markets. But at least the company is making progress with personal digital assistants.

“While Google Now has, in our opinion, an early lead, we believe Apple’s CarPlay announcement hinted at an upcoming similar service,” the analysts wrote.

New wearable devices from the company could be useful for generating revenue, too, but they could also serve as crucial new sources of data.

“[W]e believe the information collected by iDevices (like an eventual iWatch) will be for the purpose of knowing more about the habits and status of the end user,” the analysts wrote.


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