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Bundling subscriptions can allow companies to build brand loyalty, and give customers more bang for their buck.
Last week Apple launched ‘Apple One’, a monthly subscription that bundles an assortment of services into one monthly payment. The subscription is divided into three price tiers; the most luxurious of which includes Apple Music Family, Apple TV, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud storage. Buying each individual subscription separately would cost US customers $54.94 a month; the $29.95 price tag of the Premier Apple One bundle represents a $24.99 or 45% saving. By bundling popular subscriptions, such as Apple Music and iCloud, with newer or less familiar services Apple can promote new products and generate more revenue whilst still providing customers a bargain. For the ‘Individual’ and ‘Family’ tiers customers will save $6-8 or 29%, compared to the standalone cost of each subscription.
Bundling subscriptions takes much of the hassle out of the inevitable avalanche of payments and services to keep on top of in modern life. Now that everyone has a subscription for everything, those small monthly payments can add up to quite a hefty sum. The convenience of the digitalized subscription economy’s automated payment systems is mitigated somewhat when there are dozens of services that require up-to-date personal information and correct billing information.
Streamlining multiple services into a single product also means that Apple is even more of a major player in the subscription game, as Apple One can be considered a viable competitor to Amazon Prime and the omnipresent Netflix. The Verge notes that Apple One is a ‘big win’ for Apple’s over-the-top streaming service, Apple TV. Apple has never released metrics for Apple TV, but up until now it has not had the cultural cache of juggernauts like Netflix despite steadily producing critically acclaimed original content, like The Morning Show and Ted Lasso.
The bundle will also make Apple’s well-established music streaming service, Apple Music, a more appealing option in a saturated, competitive market. Apple Music’s major rival, Spotify, is currently limited to music and podcasts, and is therefore unable to package its music streaming service with other products. Indeed, Apple’s launch of a subscription bundle similar to the eclectic assortment of services available with an Amazon Prime subscription is a direct threat to media subscription services that rely on a single flagship product, and are unable to provide a diverse ‘bundle’ of subscriptions.
Apple One may prove to be Apple innovation’s sleeper hit. On the surface, there appears to be nothing too revolutionary about bundling existing services into a new subscription, but Apple One is significant beyond the savings Apple devotees are set to make. By bundling together a diverse range of services and tailoring bundles to multiple price points, Apple finally has a product that can rival other subscription bundles, like Amazon Prime, and get a leg over services like Netflix and Spotify, which loom large in their respective sectors but lack the broad infrastructure of Apple’s ecosystem.
However, it is notable that a key element of said ecosystem has been left out of Apple One’s bundle - the hardware. Apple’s lineup of iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Mac computers have remained steadily popular for decades, and are essential for the Apple One experience. Yet consumers will have to fork out hundreds of dollars on hardware in addition to paying for a subscription, a clunky footnote on an otherwise streamlined process. With Apple’s established subscription services and a comprehensive catalogue of computer hardware, one cannot help but wonder if this was a missed opportunity, or if a hardware and software subscription bundle is soon on the way.