Apple might have the ability to buy Snapchat, but it could be planning to clone it instead.
Apple is reportedly hard at work on a video-sharing app that would let users record video and apply a wide range of filters and other touch-ups to the clips before sending them out to friends and family on social networks, according to Bloomberg, citing sources who claim to have knowledge of the company’s plans. The feature would also allow users to send the videos to contacts stored on their devices.
The app, the report explained, would allow for users to take a video, apply filters, and send it to others within a minute or less. It’s being developed by a team led by Joe Weil, former developer of video-blogging app KnowMe, the report added.
If the feature sounds familiar, that’s because it’s similar to what Snapchat offers in its own mobile apps. Snapchat allows users to quickly capture video, apply filters, and send them off to friends. It’s a commonly used feature, and one that has been mimicked in one form or another by some other companies, including Facebook-owned Instagram (FB). The focus is on users being able to quickly sending videos to others with the idea for content-sharing to be fun, interactive—and most importantly to Snapchat—social.
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While the notoriously secretive Apple (AAPL) declined to comment on the Bloomberg story, it’s possible the company could see value in delivering such an app.
Apple’s iPhone business was down the last two reported quarters, its iPad business continues to slide, and the Mac division needs a jumpstart. However, Apple’s Services business, which includes its slate of apps (like Apple Music) has been growing in leaps and bounds. Adding another high-quality app to the mix could help the company catch more users in its services web.
However, Apple has tried in the past to deliver social features to users and largely failed in those efforts.
In 2010, for instance, Apple launched a service called iTunes Ping, which the company had hoped would help it establish a social network around music. It was discontinued just two years later.
Now, Apple is trying again with Apple Music Connect, which tries to connect both users and artists. Again, the feature doesn’t appear to have taken off and in iOS 10, Apple removed the Connect tab that had launched with Apple Music last year.
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Still, Apple is seemingly pressing on in social, if Bloomberg’s sources are to be believed. If all goes well, the app could launch sometime next year as a standalone program downloadable from the App Store, Bloomberg‘s sources said. That could change, though, and Apple could end up bundling the app with iOS.
However, the app has yet to be put through Apple’s upper-management stress test and could ultimately be discontinued if it doesn’t meet the company’s standards.
Update 08/25/16 at 12:12 p.m. to include Apple’s statement.