What does everyone want? Fewer subscriptions. What are we getting? Unfortunately, according to Bloomberg, a series of subscription bundles from Apple alongside the new iPhones this spring.
The bundles, which are collectively dubbed “Apple One,” are an obvious ploy to hook more people on Apple’s services as smartphone sales produce diminishing returns. Bloomberg cites Apple insiders as saying there will be different tiers, with the most basic bundle including Apple Music and Apple TV+. The next tier up will add Apple Arcade. The one after that adds Apple News+, and the one after that adds extra iCloud storage.
On top of that, Bloomberg reports that Apple is also developing a Peloton-esque virtual fitness subscription for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. It’ll possibly be included with a higher-tier bundle and is codenamed “Seymour.”
Supposedly, these bundles are taking a page from Amazon’s playbook with Prime subscriptions. One main difference here is that the subscriptions will be compatible with Apple’s Family Sharing system, meaning as many as six people — er, family members — can get in on a service-sharing grift. Bloomberg’s sources say the bundles are meant to save somewhere between $3 and $7 a month.
This “pivot to services” isn’t terribly surprising. Last year, Apple held a whole special event dedicated to new services, introducing the Apple Card, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and Apple News+. In June, 9to5 Mac also found code in iOS 13.5.5 that references a “bundle offer” and “bundle subscription” that were absent in previous versions of iOS.
Bundles might also not be limited to services only. Bloomberg reports that somewhere down the line, these bundles may also include hardware. As in, if buy an Apple TV, you might also get a free year of Apple Arcade.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see this is a means of sucking more people into Apple’s ecosystem of products. By providing a variety of services in one convenient place at a discounted price, not only is Apple securing a steady revenue stream, but it’s also locking these people into future hardware purchases by making it harder to switch to competitors like Microsoft and Google. Some Apple fans will undoubtedly welcome the news, especially if they’re already happily ensconced within Apple’s walled garden… but for everyone else, this is yet another troubling development in the never-ending subscription wars.