Will you subscribe to all-you-can-eat Apple+?
In uncertain times, services, subscriptions and simple payment plans provide more stable foundations for any business, and this is certainly Apple’s experience.
The grand pivot
Realistically, Apple’s services-focused pivot has been an ongoing project since iTunes, but really intensified with the arrival of Apple Music. This move to favour subscriptions and services has since morphed company-wide: iCloud, Music, TV, News, and more. (And more to come).
Just look at Apple’s huge selection of services here.
Today almost everything the company offers has some service-related element to it: service consumption or devices as a service with the iPhone Upgrade Plan.
Most enterprises in every industry today seek out some form of subscription-based ‘product as a service’ ploy, though in some cases customers question why the things they once purchased now cost more for access to increasingly digitised solutions they no longer own.
If free trade theory holds any water at all (and looking around, it’s questionable), the consumers should eventually win that war.
COVID-19 shows why services were sensible
So, it’s no surprise at all that Apple wants to find ways to both boost subscription sales while also building out on customer loyalty.
It wants people to invest in all its services and to stick with them for a long time. It does not want customer churn in this part of its business – just as it seeks to reduce churn across its entire empire.
It likes the fact it has happy customers who stick around. (Competitors do also, as it helps them promote tech concepts they can make products from).
Apple as a service
Now we learn the company intends putting together bundles of services in future – a kind of subscriptions mega-bundle(s), if you like.
Want TV and Music? Have them for one cost? Add games? News? You got it. These aren’t new claims, the Financial Times has tracked the tale for an age, and most analysts (including myself) have expected it for some time.
In the other corner, we see Apple acquiring vintage content, older movies, and investing in some big name pictures as it ramps up its content offering in TV+.
We’ve been pretty certain the company has designs on carrying sports for some time, and we recently heard it hopes to do some kind of AR-based sports channel. Imagine the fun if you could watch basketball games from a player’s perspective…
Apple is so serious about services, and it will be very interesting to see just how far it can push these things conceptually across the next five years.
Particularly when you get to access most of them using voice-based user interfaces through those Apple Glasses, thanks to the iPhone in your pocket or Watch on your wrist. In 175 countries. (Think about that).
And – apparently – soon with system-level translation…
What will you pay for Apple+? Will it include an annually upgraded iPhone?