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Apple's Arcade service relies on an Apple device and is probably most appealing if you have several of them. Screenshot: Apple.com

Many of Apple's latest products and services share a common goal for the company: increasing customers' dependence on the iPhone. As Apple prepares to unveil its latest generation of iPhones on Tuesday, this "ecosystem" strategy is more pronounced than ever.

Why it matters: With the smartphone market stalling, Apple needs to find other ways to make money while also maintaining its share of the market. This approach serves both goals.

How it works: When iPhone customers buy a set of AirPods or sign up for the company's new credit card, they are not only adding lucrative revenue to the company's bottom line, they are also making it more likely that they'll stick with the iPhone for their next device.

A number of Apple's recent and forthcoming products play to this dynamic:

  • Apple Card: While there is a physical card, it is secondary. The main way you pay — and the way you manage your account and pay your bill — lives on the iPhone.
  • Bluetooth-based finder tags: Apple is rumored to be readying a device, similar to Tile, that can be attached to physical items and located using an Apple device.
  • Services: Apple has made a big push in this area. Some of the new services, like Apple TV+ and Apple Music, don't require Apple devices but certainly appeal more to Apple users. Others really do count on Apple hardware, like Arcade, which is for games that physically run on an iPad, iPhone or Mac.

History lesson: This ecosystem strategy dates back in some ways to when Apple introduced the iPod in 2001. At the time, iPod sales helped boost the Mac in what was dubbed the "halo effect," and it was 2 years before Apple introduced a Windows version of its iTunes software.

  • The iPhone has helped the Mac, too, but it has always worked with a PC, and these days many people never directly link their phone and computer at all.

Yes, but: In order for the ecosystem benefit to kick in, the latest device has to be compelling on its own. The HomePod is one area where Apple's Apple-first mentality appears to be limiting the company's sales, as its voice-driven home device competes with more full-featured rivals that use Google's Assistant or Amazon's Alexa.

What's next: Apple is set to unveil the next generation of iPhones at an event Tuesday. It will be worth watching what other devices and services accompany the new phones.

Go deeper

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.