Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that Apple may be ready to unleash a bundle of subscriptions alongside the iPhone this fall:
There will be different tiers, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. A basic package will include Apple Music and Apple TV+, while a more expensive variation will have those two services and the Apple Arcade gaming service. The next tier will add Apple News+, followed by a pricier bundle with extra iCloud storage for files and photos.
Gurman’s careful to note that the bundle plans may change—which should go without saying, given that this is still a few months off. But the proposed structure here is interesting. Layering TV+ and Music at the base makes sense on the face of it: they’re both media services and Apple has a ton of control over how it sells TV+ (witness the free year that it offered along with device purchases starting last fall). Music is also probably one of the company’s strongest both in terms of paid subscribers and in terms of how it structures its deals with content providers.
Arcade makes sense as an add-on. After an initial burst of enthusiasm, its adoption seems to have slowed somewhat, which jibes with recent reports that Apple was reconsidering its strategy. And News+ has been glacial in its pick-up by both consumers and news providers alike.
Which leaves us with iCloud, thrown in there at the end with a shrug. It’s perhaps the least interesting of Apple’s services, but also among the most in demand, thanks in no small part to the measly 5GB of standard storage the company continues to offer for free. By putting that at the high end of the pay list, users who want that storage may be convinced to fork over more money with the philosophy that at least they get a bunch of stuff thrown in (even if it’s stuff they don’t want).
Or, as one of the biggest and catchiest lies in capitalism has always put forth: “the more you spend, the more you save.”
One additional tidbit that Gurman mentions is that Apple is working on a new subscription service focused around fitness, à la offerings from Nike. Given the rebranding of the Activity app to Fitness, and Apple’s continuing interests in health, this seems utterly plausible.
The bottom line seems to be that consumers will save $2-5 a month via bundle pricing. Which isn’t nothing, especially given the amount most consumers are probably paying for their mountain of subscriptions these days, but also may not prove that attractive. The real question will be whether Apple’s services are enticing enough to convince most customers to pay for ones that they might not even want.