Apple needs to become a public cloud provider. This will be an ambitious undertaking because frankly, they’re very far behind Amazon.
But if they did so, it would be hugely successful. Because these days, every app you see ends up being backed by a server somewhere and that server is in a cloud somewhere. People want and expect their data to be everywhere, which means you need servers in the cloud.
Which means that every app you see is really two apps, the iOS app and the cloud app.
Right now, what everyone does is write both apps on MacOSX and then port the cloud apps to some flavor of Linux. So the immediate win for Apple developers is that the cloud apps would run on the same flavor of system they were developed on.
The immediate win for Apple is that all of the energy those developers spend on their server apps would be spent on MacOSX instead.
That’s just the win on day one. If at the same time Apple rolls out a suite of services that their cloud provides along with OS support for talking to those services that would mean that all of the energy their developers currently spend writing server code could instead be spent on their apps.
The resulting combined ecosystem of devices, software, services and cloud would be nearly unbeatable.
Apple has already started down this path with iCloud. But they need to go farther. Because right now, every app I design in my head has a server component that requires the cloud.