By Dan Moren
March 31, 2019 2:26 PM PT
The Back Page: Apple’s Missing Services
It was a big week for Services in Cupertino, with Tim Cook announcing Apple News+, Apple Arcade, the Apple Card, and, of course, Apple TV+. The company’s clearly making a hard push to build Services revenue, as it’s repeatedly promised to do, but part of me wonders if perhaps Apple hasn’t pushed hard enough. To my mind, it’s leaving money on the table by not offering more services for its hundreds of millions of users.
Don’t worry: I’m here to help. I’ve invested a lot of time—minutes really!—in concocting ways that Apple could further boost its Services portfolio by taking advantage of just a few opportunities that it’s missed:
Look, there just aren’t enough hours in the day anymore. Between work, chores, all the TV shows we are contractually obligated to watch, and, oh yeah, our friends and family, we barely have time to sleep, much less listen to all those podcasts people have been telling us we can’t miss. That’s where Apple’s new Podcasts+ service comes in. For just $4.99/month, Apple will run all those podcasts your friends have been talking about through a machine learning algorithm, then have Siri provide you with a summarized digest of the most important moments, so you don’t have to stand blankly around the water cooler while everybody is talking about the latest episodes. Creators don’t get left out either: for $14.99/month, Apple will use the same technology to produce your podcast for you, leaving you more time for binging all that peak TV.
We’ve all heard the anecdotes of bad keyboards—Apple’s now even apologized for the problems experienced by “a small number of users”—but clearly something more pervasive is happening here. Keyboards shouldn’t die when they get a little bit of dust in them. But that’s a problem that can be fixed with the new Keyboard+ service from Apple. For just $5.99/month you can have a genuine Apple Genius show up at your door each week with a toolkit and a can of compressed air. They will then carefully disassemble your keyboard, prying off each individual key cap and removing all foreign objects, then painstakingly reassemble it all, just as it was, except maybe without the ‘e’ key. For the special Keyboard++ $9.99/month service, they will just bring you a new laptop every month, just in time for the previous one’s keyboard to stop working.
The modular Mac Pro
Why sell a computer once when you can sell it over and over and over again? We know that the upcoming Mac Pro is supposedly “modular” but what if that really means that it’s a service! For a low, low fee of $49.99/month, you can make sure that your Mac Pro is always updated with the latest components, whether it be faster drives, more RAM, or a better graphics card.* And since new modules are sure to come out infrequently, it’s a great way for Apple to rake in subscription revenue over time! (*Installation requires you to bring your Mac Pro to an Apple Store and leave it there for 48 hours for the upgrade to be completed. Also, your entire disk will be wiped, even if it’s not the part being upgraded, so make sure to make a backup. Does not include provisions for a loaner machine.)
Are you obsessed with Apple? Do you spend endless hours digging into obscure and private APIs to see what you can discover about new Apple announcements? Creating your own implementations of yet-to-be-released Apple products and then releasing them to the public? Well, then, perhaps you are a candidate for the new Apple Park+ service. For just $99/month, Apple will give you a desk in a secure room in its Apple Park headquarters, where you can do all of that digging and investigation in peace and quiet, without being distracted by the Internet or, you know, windows. (Offer valid for Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo only.)
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @email@example.com or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]