Apple’s ‘Time Flies’ press launch last night focused on Apple Watch and iPad but not iPhones, as predicted. However, there were also some big services announcements, including the long-anticipated Apple One bundle. Well, bundles: there are three of them, which will launch this autumn.
The ‘Individual’ tier includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.95 a month for one person. The ‘Family’ tier includes those three services and 200GB of iCloud storage for up to six family members for $19.95 a month. And the $29.95-a-month ‘Premier’ tier throws in Apple News+, Apple Fitness+ (we’ll get to that in a minute) and 2TB of iCloud storage, again for up to six people.
Unsurprisingly, Apple didn’t talk about any licensing wrangling required to create these bundles, including with music rightsholders. There’s plenty to think about: not just about what bundles mean for Apple Music royalties, but also the extent to which Apple One will nudge people towards family plans rather than individual subscriptions, and the impact that will have – which we’re not assuming will be negative – on Apple’s payouts to music rightsholders.
Midia Research offered another angle on this, suggesting that Apple One’s main appeal may be its ‘recession-proof’ nature. “While rights holders will not have been exactly enthusiastic about further royalty deflation (one for artists and songwriters to keep an eye out for when Apple One starts to gain share) they are also keenly aware of the need to ensure they keep as many music consumers on subscriptions as possible… Lower music rightsholder ARPU may be a price worth paying for shoring up the long term future of the music subscriber base.”
Also noteworthy: Spotify emailing journalists shortly after Apple’s event ended with a strongly-worded statement. “Once again, Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors and deprive consumers by favouring its own services. We call on competition authorities to act urgently to restrict Apple’s anti-competitive behaviour,” claimed its spokesperson. Apple quickly snapped back with its own statement noting that “Customers can discover and enjoy alternatives to every one of Apple’s services.”
What about Fitness+ though? It’s Apple’s equivalent (sans bike or treadmill) of Peloton’s fitness subscription service. That means a team of trainers delivering video workouts for people to join with at home, complete with licensed music (and the ability for Apple Music users to save the tracks for repeat listening). Cycling, treadmill, rowing, yoga, dance and ‘mindful cooldown’ are among the workout categories; it’s tied in to the Apple Watch; and it’ll cost $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year.