The idea of Apple embracing anything related to Google Android is always met with scorn.
Steve Wozniak, co–founder of the Cupertino company, asked earlier this year why Apple shouldn’t just make an Android phone?
His idea was laughed out of town, even if there was a kernel of truth in the fact that it could help Apple colonise the lower–end of the market where it’s perceived to be struggling.
Yet the latest rumbling about an Apple/Android mash–up isn’t quite so far–fetched.
Sources speaking with Billboard in the US have claimed that Apple is weighing up releasing an iTunes app for Android.
This would tie into a wider move from Apple to offer a proper music streaming service, beyond the limited, Pandora–esque iTunes Radio.
Why make the move? Because US sales on iTunes are plummeting, with digital albums down by a massive 13% in the last year according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It seems that users aren’t interested in buying music digitally any more when they can stream it for free, or a nominal monthly fee.
The issue is, Spotify and the like have a platform-agnostic approach that consumers like.
Google Play Music All Access is also available on Apple’s App Store, opening itself up beyond Android.
By contrast, Apple’s ‘walled garden’ ecosystem seems to be struggling as users give up on downloads from its store.
The days of keeping users in one place are slowly ending.
Apple can get around this by offering a proper Google Play rival on Android devices.
It has the brand loyalty to suggest this is an approach that would impress users and see plenty of them come across from Google and Spotify, especially if there was easy access to local files via iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match.
Of course, there’s a major issue at play here. Making this move goes against everything that iOS (and Apple) stands for.
This is a platform that is made for Apple devices only.
The idea of spreading its wings on an OS which Steve Jobs set out to ‘kill’ in the years before he passed away is surely anathema to what Apple stands for.
That said, Apple may need to get over this approach.
It did it with iTunes and Safari for Windows and it can do it again for iTunes on Android.
Failure to do so could see the service which has defined the music business since the turn of the century become an irrelevance in record time.