Tim Cook not opposed to porting Apple apps to Android (but they're not going to)

Apple CEO Tim Cook, wrapping up his stint on stage at D11, said Apple wasn't religiously opposed to porting iOS apps to Android (or presumably other platforms). Cook claimed that, if it made sense, Apple would indeed consider bringing apps to Android. However, and especially in the case of iCloud, Cook doesn't currently think it makes that kind of sense.

In other words, they could but they won't. Not now, and not in any near future Cook can see. So, unlike Windows, Android gets no glass of cool iTunes water in their particular hell.

Anyone at all surprised or disappointed by any of that? Any hopes pegged on iTunes Store or iTunes Match for Android? FaceTime or iMessage?

Via: The Verge

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 42 comments. Add yours.

luqman24 says:

Lol even if they did I doubt anyone would actually use it over Google Maps including myself.

Chetan Takyar says:

There is also iMessage and FaceTime that would be cool to have on my Nexus 4, not to mention siri(I used it a lot when I had my 4S)

luqman24 says:

BBM is coming to Android and iOS soon and BBM video shortly after. There will be no need for iMessage and FaceTime once they're here.

Chetan Takyar says:

I dont care about those services. I use FaceTime and iMessage and have never touched BBM dont tell me what I need and dont need.

Chris Kerrigan says:

Um, except for people who don't care to and never plan to use BBM.

SoggyTempura says:

Yeah because we would rather communicate with a "few thousand" people over a few hundred million. Not sure you heard, but Blackberry lost its crown a long, long time ago.

Paintedeyes says:

not sure if you heard, but bbm has over 51 million users and around 10 billion message sent daily, so ya... oh ya, bbm is superior to other messaging platform and bbm video is way better than FaceTime .

01206549 says:

Why would you want Siri? I find Google Now more useful but we all have our reasons.

antonio reonegro says:

Now think about the s3 users if we had siri and svoice its a fighting match and basically the galaxy phones have been pushed to be better then iphones

icyrock1 says:

I really can't think of any iOS apple apps I would want on my android tablet.

icyrock1 says:

Oh yeah, Chetan reminded me of iMessage. I'd like that to be brought over has I use it quite a bit on my 4S.

kenjohnso says:

The interview presupposes that Android owners would actually want any of Apple's apps. Let's see; Apple Maps? Siri? iMessage (which offers very little functionality with Android)? Mail or Calendar? I don't envision much demand, sorry.

Richard Devine says:

And what about things like iMovie? Pages? Numbers? The iTunes Store app?

Chetan Takyar says:

Conveniently leaving out pages, iMovie and I use siri and iMessage EXTENSIVELY on my iPad 4 would love to see it on my Nexus 4.
You don't know how much demand there is for these services on other platforms.

Richard Devine says:

Right...let's not forget, there's bound to be a lot of Android users who are also Mac users.

c2tarun says:

I'll drop whatsapp for iMessage. Also I use Safari more than chrome. Chrome is better but I don't use my cellphone for browsing much. So Safari with limited features for limited browsing works better for me then chrome :)

return_0 says:

I'd PAY for Apple Maps on Android. That thing is hilarious! :D

But in all seriousness, I think porting iMessage would help a lot of people transferring to Android making their switch easier. Though I don't think Apple would want that.

Phillip Malone says:

Why would Android users want iTunes when we have Google Music that is better and more portable?
I enjoy this sort of hell!

Chetan Takyar says:

Sure just forget the rest of the countries. ever stopped to think which services are in other countries and ever stopped to think people maybe put a lot of money in iTunes? so no Gmusic is not ":superior"

Phillip Malone says:

Fair point on the Countries (we only got it in Australia officially in the last few months). On money put into iTunes, when you get Google Music, its a breeze to move it all over to Google FREE!

And yes, Google Music is superior! You might not have it but it is!

PS. Maybe you should take a trip to the US and sign up <wink> <wink>

Chetan Takyar says:

New Zealand has Gmusic but the issue is that there is no official Gmusic app for iOS and besides Google doesn't give us the rest of the stuff like tv shows books and movies and that's why I will always use iTunes(on a side note I use Gmusic extensively on my Nexus 4)

paleh0rse says:

Google doesn't "give" you direct access to their books, magazines, movies, and music stores because they CAN'T really give you direct access to those without Apple demanding a 30% cut of all sales.

Chetan Takyar says:

Im talking about it on my Android device... On my Nexus 4 I only have access to music apps and games. none of the other services.

iDavey says:

But...as its been stated thoroughly through the comments, there really are no must have apps from Apple.

I see people saying iMessage, Facetime, iWorks, Garageband...

But the thing is, the people who want, nay, who NEED those apps, they have an iPhone. There are far too many alternatives (and ubiquitous ones at that) as to where people are not clamoring for Apple apps.

Facetime and iMessage already "make sense" to port to other platforms. But yet, they haven't done it. So Tim is most likely doing lip service to make it seem like Apple isn't the mean bully that wants to keep everything for themselves. But people have Skype and Kik/Whatsapp. And to a smaller degree they now have Google Talk/Hangouts and BBM coming.

Now this isn't to say I think Apple is wrong, hell its a business. They're not Google. They don't sell services, they sell hardware. So it only makes sense to keep certain appeal for your hardware. But there are no apps that the majority of Android users are just clamoring for. Keyword, majority. Because, again, if its that serious...the user in question would already have an iDevice of sorts. I have an iPad and an iPhone with no service, just WiFi, to test these iOS waters in companion to my Nexus 4.

SockRolid says:

And I'd argue that there are no "must have apps" from Google either.
Name one. Anybody.

iDavey says:

And you could. But the thing is Google is a services company. Right next to their ads. They've set it up to where you don't have to ask that question.

Every Google service (of importance) is now on over 90% of mobile phones. They're on 100% of PCs, and you never have to ask are there apps I want or need, because they're there.

Apple, as stated, is not a company focused on services. So you would have to ask...is their an iOS app I really want or need that nobody has provided?

Remember, the point isn't "better" or any other trivial subjective
question. He simply said "would it make sense." At this time, no. There's far more ubiquitous options. If they actually stuck to making Facetime open when they said, it might make more sense. But in the face of Skype and Kik/Whatsapp, according to statistics, people are pretty fine with what's presented. Apple doesn't want to waste money on a gamble.

mulasien says:

Maps? Gmail? Voice? Google Now?
Granted, Gmail works with most phones' stock email client just fine, but Maps works best as a standalone app (at least on iOS with the navigation functions built in).

In the "either the app or web service would work fine department", I'd also throw in YouTube. That's pretty dang 'must have', IMHO.

Chetan Takyar says:

No I have an Android phone because i love Android far more then iOS. I want some of Apples services though so don't tell me I should have to live with the fact I cant have those services.

Dark_Blu says:

There's no reason for Apple to port apps to Android. Developers can develop for both or all platforms and that works just fine.

peterb77 says:

it would be nice to see them port the messaging services to other platforms. Communicating via iMessage on someone's PC or non iOS smartphone would be very beneficial for me. Same thing w/ FaceTime. iOS users may use the most data, but porting these apps to other systems would expand its presence.

ProfesorQuijada says:

"Android gets no glass of cool iTunes water in their particular hell."

*Chuckles* Oh Rene, that's just too precious...

ninjajmon says:

I personally don't care for any apple apps on my android devices.

cardfan says:

There's really no point in it. What makes facetime and imessage so popular for Apple is that they're able to integrate those with the phone app, or even phone numbers on iOS devices. Apple couldn't possibly provide that kind of user experience on other platforms.

And even if they could, where's the benefit for Apple? Suddenly, more people can go to android phones and have access to iOS services.

Right now, if you want into the iOS world, you need to buy an iOS device. That's the ticket for Apple. With an iphone, you can also install other platforms' services like BBM, google+, google maps, Hangouts, Amazon, or Skype. Why the heck would Apple want to mess up this unique advantage?

mulasien says:

cardfan pretty much nailed it.

People forget that Apple and Google are not in direct competition with each other. Granted, Google created a competing mobile OS, but their primary bread and butter is services - services they want to have in as many people's hands as possible. And it is those services that make Google money.

BBM, Whatsapp, and other messaging services are also revenue generators for the companies that make them. Revenue is created from the number of people that use them, not what device they're running on.

Apple, on the other hand, does not make the bulk of its money on its services (outside of iTunes), but on hardware. I don't believe Apple makes a penny from iMessage, Facetime, etc. Rather, those services are used to drive sales of their hardware to use it on. If iMessage, Facetime, and iCloud were available on Android, and people use these services on a purchased Android phone vs. a purchased iPhone, how does that benefit Apple? I'd say it does not. Apple would have no incentive to port apps that don't make them money to make them available on competing hardware platforms that would take money away from them in their use. That makes no business sense.

Apples and oranges, here.

Dev from tipb says:

Well, on Android, they certainly could perform that level of integration on Android...but there would be no point for them. Their goal is not to provide services, but above all to sell more boxes, iOS boxes in particular. Adding services to Android would not help them achieve that goal.

iTunes on Windows (which was a glass of kerosene, not water, in that hell) helped Apple sell more iPods. Safari on Windows, as bad as it was/is, was there to tempt switchers to look at OSX, and hopefully buy some OSX boxes. When it did not meet that mission, Apple dropped it.

If and when some Android thingies become prevalent enough that Apple apps on Android would somehow help them sell more iOS devices, Apple would do it. But that ain't likely anytime soon.

Melvin Johnson says:

It just doesnt make sense for Apple to make an Android app as they wouldn't gain much from it. Android users are more likely to use the productivity services associated with Google Drive over Pages and Numbers. Google Music is a great alternative to iTunes especially with All Access. iMessage would be a great addition, but if you're already on Android, you've likely missed that boat so it wouldn't make sense for the user to add another messaging app to the mix especially now that Hangouts is a more universal form of communication for all platforms that matter [burn]. And Apples cloud services shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence as Google's cloud services.

I'm not saying Android is better than iOS or vice versa. I use both with a Nexus 4 and iPad Mini. I just think it would be a waste of time and resources putting iOS apps on Android.

paleh0rse says:

AFAIC, Facetime and iMessage would be the only useful apps on Android. None of the other iOS-specific apps are better, or offer more functionality than, the myriad of options already available on Android.

And iTunes?! HA! That proprietary POS software is perhaps the single-biggest reason I ditched Apple years ago! Please keep that garbage as far away from Android as possible! Seriously, iTunes is the suck -- especially given the total lack of a legitimate file manager on iDevices.

Chetan Takyar says:

I love iTunes your statement is fucking idiotic.

paleh0rse says:

You actually love being forced to use iTunes to convert and transfer every piece of media onto your devices? And then being forced to use Apple's apps, and ONLY Apple's apps, to access any of that media on your devices?

Screw that... iTunes is easily the worst and most locked down piece of proprietary bloatware ever created.

Chetan Takyar says:

Whatever works for you. I have Gmusic set up to auto upload all songs I buy from iTunes.

sarcen says:

"glass of cool iTunes water in their particular hell"

Has the author even USED an Android device? The only people who would even WANT iTunes is somebody coming from the iOS ecosystem who owns a lot of not-movable content (streamed movies, etc).

Personally, I WISH it was NOT available on Windows. iTunes and QuickTime for Windows = MALWARE. They are poorly-coded, system-invasive, send undisclosed encrypted packets to Apple's servers without the user's knowledge, are overly resource-intensive and cannot be easily uninstalled.

Madhava Jay says:

Want a tool to help Port UX between iOS and Android?
We just released PortKit: UX Metaphor Equivalents for iOS & Android


It has side by side comparisons of the native ui widgets and links to downloadable PSDs for designing.