Apple owners are holding on to their iPhones much longer than in the past prompting observers to declare that smartphones have reached a degree of market equilibrium or maturity.
To offset this course, the US tech giant Apple has turned to services like Apple Pay and Apple Music and has announced its biggest foray into services to date.
Apple media transformation
During an event this week, Apple announced several upgrades to existing apps and services, beginning with a new magazine and newspaper subscription called Apple News+.
This was followed by a new credit card called the Apple Card, a brand new gaming service called Apple Arcade and then the new Apple TV app and a completely new Apple TV+ service that will consist of only original video content.
Apple has yet to announce pricing for most of its new services. It has given clarity on the enhanced magazine and news service, announcing that entire families can share a subscription to more than 300 magazines for $10 per month.
For that price, users in the US and Canada, to start, will be able to access publications that would collectively cost $8,000 a year in subscriptions. Apple also said the new subscription service will be free from targeted advertisements.
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Financial services: Apple Card, Apple Wallet, Apple Pay
Springboarding off of Apple Pay, the company announced its own credit card issued by Goldman Sachs. For now, the Apple Card will only be available in a digital format inside of Apple Wallet with the ability to use it via Apple Pay. A physical card made of titanium will be available later in the summer. Apple is touting daily cashback rewards, no annual fees, no late fees, no international fees and no hidden fees.
From there is where the rest of Apple’s services strategy becomes fuzzy. Apple only gave a preview of Apple Arcade, another subscription service available this fall for games, including 100 exclusive ones, made just for Apple devices and only available on Apple devices. Apple has yet to detail how much this service will cost.
Apple TV app
Apple revamped its Apple TV app, calling it a truly single point for a user’s entertainment needs. That won’t actually be the case as the service doesn’t include Netflix. But instead of reserving the service for Apple devices, Apple TV, like Apple Music, will work on popular streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Apple is also making a version of the Apple TV app available for Mac as well as a number of smart TV platforms made by companies like Samsung.
Beginning in May, the Apple TV app will offer add-on paid subscriptions and will be able to stream some shows and movies from Apple’s partners like HBO. Later in 2019, Apple will roll out Apple TV Plus, a video subscription that will consist only of exclusive content offered by Apple. Again, there is no price point revealed, but Apple has paid a significant amount of cash to tap high-calibre talent to create programming that it hopes can stand toe to toe with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
So far, Apple’s services strategy feels incomplete. It is difficult to know the value of services when a few major ones are missing and details are glossed over. Apple would do well to bundle all or several of these services into one package and offer a compelling discount.
This will encourage users to subscribe to certain services they may feel reticent about. Buying into a service that only offers original content is new ground. For Apple, a bundled service will boost recurring revenue for users and lock them into all of Apple’s services.