This article is inspired by the excellent podcast episode
Cameron Porter On Apple Becoming A Healthcare Company — The Pomp Podcast
Is Apple Going to Solve the Longevity Problem?
First, we have to understand the incentive structure behind Apple’s strategy.
Why is Apple incentivized to fix other problems than the ones it is solving currently?
Over the last 20 years, Apple went from a hardware company to a service company. Today Apple is becoming a health company with the Health Thesis of Tim Cook that Nathan Baschez masterfully explained in his piece healthOS.
Let’s look at the success Apple had over the previous decades.
Early on, as a hardware company, Apple created solutions that were very successful in the US. Then, Apple expanded worldwide, market after market.
Apple’s growth was very predictable, quarter after quarter, country after country.
But, the Earth is finite. Once Apple saturated the planet, and everyone owned an iPhone, an iPad, or a mac, the question was: “Where can Apple go next?”
The second step in Apple’s strategy was to become a service company. By doing this, Apple entered a competition with all the big tech companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook) for vertical time.
The problem with vertical time, again, is that it’s finite — there are only 24 hours in a day!
Another ‘type of time’ companies can compete for is horizontal time. If your customers are locked in (which Apple’s customers are), it’s easier to extend the number of days you can monetize your customer rather than competing with the marginal attention in a day.
Apple as a Health Company
Nathan Baschez explained how Apple is becoming a health company. The main idea is that Apple is at the center of a health ecosystem. Apple collects data from a variety of other solutions (wearables, mattresses, and more) that it can leverage in large-scale R&D projects.