Apple takes aim at Snapchat, Instagram

Apple takes aim at Snapchat, Instagram

Apple seems to be aiming at Snapchat and Facebook’s Instagram with a new video-creation app.

Dubbed Clips, the app promises to allow users to easily make videos by combining live takes with pre-recorded video clips and photographs. The app, which is set to debut next month as a free download for iPhones and iPads, will let users customize their videos with filters, special effects and virtual stickers.

“Clips gives iPhone and iPad users a new way to express themselves through video,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of apps product marketing, said in a statement.

The new app is an indication of the growing importance of cameras and video on smartphones and could portend new camera features on upcoming iPhone models, analysts said.

A screenshot of Apple's new Clips app on an iPad. Due out next month forcertain iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models, the app will allow users to apply custom filters to videos. (Courtesy of Apple)
A screenshot of Apple’s new Clips app on an iPad. Due out next month for certain iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models, the app will allow users to apply custom filters to videos. 

Apps like Clips “are helping them make their device more attractive” to consumers, said Brian Blau, an analyst with market research firm Gartner who focuses on personal technologies.

IPhones and iPads already come with a “Photos” app pre-installed that allows them to shoot videos. They can also download iMovie, an app that allows users to edit clips to create polished-looking videos and movie trailers.

But the new Clips app is more akin to Snapchat and Instagram, social media apps that allow users to create fun photos and videos they can share easily with friends on social networks. Unlike those apps, though, Clips won’t be attached to a social network itself. Instead, users will be able to share the videos they create elsewhere, including in apps like Instagram, and via Apple’s Messages app.

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Clips will have one thing that Snapchat and Instagram don’t, a feature Apple calls “Live Titles.” That feature will automatically create and add captions or titles to a video that echo what a user is saying. The app will automatically sync the text generated by Live Titles with the corresponding audio in the video. Clips will also allow users to add music clips to their videos that will automatically adjust to the length of their videos.

The app represents an opportunity for Apple to show that the iPhone’s camera can do a lot more than simply take pictures or shoot videos, said Cathy Boyle, principal analyst for mobile at eMarketer, a market research firm.

“They’re showing you that the camera paired with all the sensors on these devices is much more powerful than people thought it to be in the past,” Boyle said.

It remains to be seen what effect Clips will have on Snapchat and Instagram, which are among the most popular apps on the iPhone. The fact that Clips users will be able to share the videos they create on Instagram and potentially on Snapchat could actually boost usage of both apps, Boyle said.

But because it will offer similar tools to edit and enhance videos, it could also lead iPhone users to spend less time in those apps, Boyle said. That could hurt Snapchat in particular, because part of the company’s business model is to get other companies to pay to sponsor certain filters or stickers.

“This could be a real challenge” for Snapchat, Boyle said. “What Apple is doing with this is to take back ownership of the camera.”

But Apple will face challenges of its own with the new app. Because it’s something that users will have to download, rather than coming with their phones, Apple will face the same daunting problem that other companies encounter in trying to gain attention in the App Store, convince users to try out their apps and then use them regularly, said John Jackson, an analyst with tech research firm IDC.

“This is a big ask for almost any app,” Jackson said.

Users will have to be running Apple’s upcoming iOS 10.3 software to run Clips. The app will be available for the latest iPhones models beginning with the iPhone 5s and for all iPad Pro, iPad Air models and for the iPad mini models starting with the iPad mini 2.

Apple announced the app on the same day that it announced minor updates to its iPad and iPhone lineups, including a new red iPhone 7 model.

Screenshots from Apple’s new Clips app (Courtesy, Apple).

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Published at Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:24:27 +0000