Apple is an impressive company. Even if you hate its products with a passion that burns hotter than the sun, it would be hard to argue that it isn't doing some things right. It's the most valuable company in the world, its products are copied by pretty much every other device maker, and it seems to keep growing. Despite the fact that iPhones sales have slowed overall in the past year, Apple's services division, which includes the App Store, iCloud, Music, and the upcoming TV+, has experienced huge growth.
There's no doubt that Apple is playing to win. The company has already said that it will offer a year of Apple TV+ for free to anyone who buys a new iPhone, Mac, or iPad this fall, meaning it could easily have 80-100 million subscribers by the new year. That number would put it far ahead of every other service--even though most of those users won't actually generate revenue for the company until the following year.
But Apple is positioning itself to be the biggest streaming video, music, and subscription gaming service. Even as it enters established markets crowded with competitive giants, there's one thing it can do that would be a crushing blow to companies including Netflix, Amazon, and Disney: an all-in-one subscription.
Here's the killer bundle: TV+, Music, News+, Arcade, and iCloud for one monthly price. Right now, those services cost more than $30, depending on how much iCloud storage you choose, but imagine getting them all for, say, $25 a month. Call it Apple+.
That seems like a no-brainer not only for customers, but also for Apple. I have no idea what the average number of subscriptions is for an Apple services customer, outside of the fact that Music has the largest user base. But I suspect there are plenty of consumers who might subscribe to one or two of its services, but wouldn't be persuaded to drop another $10 or $15 for the rest. That equation changes when you can get it all for one monthly price.
Here's why this could be such a compelling move for Apple. A recent survey by PC Magazine shows that most consumers won't spend more than $33 on subscriptions; an Apple bundle for $25 could force some consumers to consider which services to cancel.
Not only does Apple gain incremental revenue with this idea, but it can do so at the expense of its competitors as well. It's not only Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+ that should be worried. A plan like this could be entice some people to cancel other services as well.
In that case, I'd be very worried if I were Spotify.
To be fair, there's no clear evidence yet that Apple plans to offer a bundle like this, but it should. And I'm not even the first person to suggest that Apple offer a single subscription to rule them all. It certainly seems like the type of thing that would be smart for Apple to do: Make things simpler for customers while making things very difficult for the competition.