Apple made its first major foray into the subscription service world 3 years ago when it launched Apple Music. Apple Music was a direct answer to the meteoric rise of Spotify. Since then. And as of November 2018, Apple had 56 million subscribers. Spotify, a service that launched in 2008, had 87 million paid subscribers at the same time. You can see how fast Apple’s service has grown. Apple music is now a legitimate competition to Spotify.
Yesterday, in its March 2019 event, Apple entered into not one, not two, but three different and lucrative service business. And services were the only product that Apple launched in that Apple event.
First, let’s start with Apple News+.
Apple News+ is a subscription service for readers who are serious about their news and the place that they get it from. Apple News+ has a collection of 300+ magazines like TIME, Vogue, and National Geographic. Apple claimed that News+ is the only place where you’ll find all this publication in a single place.
Apple News+ costs $9.99 per month and the first month you use this service is free. The service will be ad-free and optimized for viewing in iPhone and iPad or any other Apple device that you have. Apple News+ is available right now. You will be able to get this feature once you update your Apple devices. This service is first launching in the US followed by US and Canada. Rest of the world will have to wait until the fall for this service.
One thing Apple focused was that the processing to personalize your news digest will be done locally. This means Apple won’t know what you are reading and advertisers won’t be able to target their advertisements at you.
The next service Apple talked about was Apple Arcade.
Apple Arcade is the first gaming subscription service in history. Yup. It sounds like Google Stadia at first but it is quite different. Here, the processing is being done in the local hardware itself. Apple Arcade will give the customers access to more than 100 exclusive titles to play on their iPhone, iPad, Macbooks, and Apple TV.
Unlike other game streaming services, you can play your games online and offline. Of course, there won’t be any ads disturbing you in any one of these games. There also won’t be any additional purchases that you’d have to make to play these games.
Apple isn’t boasting any triple AAA titles but they may soon find companies that make triple AAA titles making games for them because of their huge user base. Pricing and more details about Apple Arcade will come this fall.
The last subscription service that Apple talked about was Apple TV+. Remember when I said that Apple Music was an answer to Spotify? Well, Apple TV+ is an answer to Netflix. Apple TV+ is a subscription service just like Netflix where you can find shows ranging from Documentary to Dramas. Apple didn’t demo this service in their platform yet so, we don’t know what it will look like.
Apple has already collaborated with some of the most famous names in Hollywood like Steven Speilberg, Oprah, Steve Carell, Sesame Street, Sara Bareilles, etc. to make original content for their TV+ service when it finally shows its face to the public this coming fall. Pricing and more details will be available during the release.
Apple didn’t only talk about subscription services on this event. Apple also released new Apple TV app (not to be confused with TV+ app). Apple TV is like a congregation service for all your video media consumption. Do you watch a show in Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO? Previously, you had to log into all the different services and watch individual shows. Now, with Apple TV. You can watch Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s tale without having to change the app. That’s cool. In this app, no ads will bother you.
Apple also talked about a new feature called Apple Card. Apple Card is like a smart Credit Card. You can use it anywhere you can use Apple pay. Payments are verified using touch ID or Face ID. There’s no additional fees to use Apple Card.
You can just sign up for it using your iPhone and you’ll get your digital card in minutes. Using this card helps you know what type of purchases you make and tells you how much money you owe. It also shows your spending trends and helps you group your purchases by categories like food and drink, clothes etc. It will be a good way to track your expenses.
The best part is that you get 2% worth of Cashback every time you buy with Apple Card. For purchases made from Apple, you get 3% daily cash back. No late fees, no international fees, no over-limit fees, no penalty interest rates. Goldman Sachs is the issuing bank of apple card. Apple has confirmed that Goldman Sachs won’t sell Apple Card users’ data to any third party.
It’s not a secret that iPhones aren’t selling as much as they used to. There are many reasons for that like sky-high prices for the new model and perfectly happy customers with their old iPhones. If you have an iPhone 7 and you love touchID, you don’t have many reasons you may want to upgrade your iPhone.
Also, the smartphone market, as a whole, is seeing a declining growth rate. So, Apple is exploring other areas to keep itself alluring for investors and shareholders. What better way to do it than a service business? That is the reason for Apple’s suddent interest in so many subscription services. If these endeavors from Apple take flight, these will be some major sources of revenues for Apple in the next few years.