Editorial: How long before we get a $100 'Everything Apple' subscription including an iPho...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 12
Apple's moves this week regarding Apple TV+ and, more quietly, AppleCare+, suddenly make sense if you suspect the company is heading toward offering us a single all-in subscription package.

Expect to see more of this. Not just the subscription fee slide, but Tim Cook loving it.
Expect to see more of this. Not just the subscription fee slide, but Tim Cook loving it.


It's long been said that Apple is becoming a services company instead of a hardware one. That it is moving to earning its money from, say, Apple TV+, rather than just from straight iPhone sales. Separately, it's also been clear that Apple has been pushing app developers away from one-off fees to a subscription model.

Reportedly, Apple has made a good case when presenting subscriptions to developers, but perhaps this is not a case of Apple just advising other firms. Maybe subscription apps and Apple's services are not two separate things.

Perhaps Apple itself is looking to a future where subscriptions are the norm. If Apple has thought of this, then the company's moves this week look very much like it putting some more parts of the jigsaw in place.

And if Apple hasn't thought of it, if Tim Cook is even now reading this in an Apple Park canteen and spluttering over his latte, we're happy to take credit for the idea. And 10% of the profits.

For this now looks both so likely and so good that we're sure Apple is going to do it. Apple, at some point, is going to offer you an all-in-one subscription fee. It will be a single-price, probably family-wide, price that gets you all of Apple's services -- and an iPhone.

Follow the math

What we learned this week was that Apple TV+ will cost $4.99 per month. That's lower than expected, and even lower still since this is the fee for the entire family rather than an individual. We also learned that if you buy new Apple hardware, you get Apple TV+ free for a year.

If you were definitely going to subscribe anyway, that free offering is essentially a $60 hardware savings, but let's focus on the monthly fee.

Apple does now seem to like its all-in-one offerings.
Apple does now seem to like its all-in-one offerings.


That $4.99 is the same price Apple is charging for Apple Arcade.

Add in Apple News+ which, where it's available, currently costs $9.99 per month. Then Apple Music which is $9.99 per month, but also has that bargain family tier that costs $14.99.

So far you've just spent $34.96.

But if we're talking about one subscription for a whole family, we should add in the 2TB version of iCloud. Apple calls that "ideal for families to share," and charges $9.99 per month for it.

The cost of that iPhone 11 Pro Max

Apple now makes lots of hardware, but the focus is still of course on the iPhone -- and there has been a significant change in pricing on that.

The most noticeable change is that iPhones now cost even more than they ever did, and they were always expensive. The old idea of buying on contract and paying a monthly fee appears to have vanished. It's not only gone from the iPhone, it's seemingly gone from all smartphones.

Except Apple has brought it back. In a way.

You've long been able to get on the iPhone Upgrade Program where you pay a certain monthly fee to get your iPhone. And you've also long been able to find a financing package when you buy via an Apple Store or online, but it always used to be in the fine print just before checkout.

Now if you go to buy a new iPhone, the very first thing you see is a potential monthly fee.

Apple now emphasises that there's a monthly payment option.
Apple now emphasises that there's a monthly payment option.


There is then also a trade-in option. Apple is really pushing the fact that if you trade in your old iPhone, they'll give you credit for it. The price you get is nothing like the resale value you could get elsewhere, but Apple is pushing it hard, and then whether you choose it or not, the rest of the pricing has changed too.

Now wherever there is a full purchase price listed, it is preceded by a monthly fee option.

For the iPhone 11 Pro, that's from $41.62 per month, and for the iPhone 11 Pro Max it's from $45.79 per month. The iPhone 11 is from $29.12 per month. All of these prices are lower if you trade in an older device, and all of them are subject to the usual credit checks.

They're also all subject to the 3% cashback you can get if you buy them via Apple Card.

Let's say you don't have an Apple Card, and you don't have an older device to trade in. Then since the 64GB iPhone is a bit of a squeeze on space -- trust us on this one --let's say you pick the 256GB iPhone 11 Pro Max.

That's currently listed as being from $52.04 per month.

Getting there

Take that monthly cost for a top of the range iPhone and add in all the Apple services you could subscribe to. It comes to $96.99.

Except there is something missing -- and it's something else that Apple did this week, albeit very quietly. Right after the September 10 keynote, Apple introduced a new AppleCare+ which within certain constraints, lets you extend your regular AppleCare insurance.

And, you guessed it, AppleCare+ is a monthly fee.

Apple debuts a new monthly AppleCare+ program
Apple debuts a new monthly AppleCare+ program


Right now it's not at all clear what that fee will be, and given how quietly Apple has released this service, we're unlikely to know for sure until the iPhone 11 range is actually on sale and we can all work through the options.

However, the regular AppleCare price for the iPhone 11 is $149 for two years, and for the same period with an iPhone 11 Pro Max, it's $199.

That monthly fee is going to cost more. But you can take these fees and divide them by 24 -- because they're two-year plans. In which case, we can be sure that a monthly AppleCare+ fee for the iPhone 11 will be no less than $5.96. And for the iPhone 11 Pro Max, it won't be less than $8.30.

In which case, going top of the range for an iPhone and also for every Apple service would end up costing you no less than $105.29.

We'd be surprised if the top end AppleCare+ monthly fee didn't magically happen to be $9.99, which would make this fantasy all-in subscription add up to $106.98.

Maybe she didn't believe Apple would release Apple TV+ for just $4.99/month either
Maybe she didn't believe Apple would release Apple TV+ for just $4.99/month either


However, we also wouldn't be in the slightest bit surprised if Apple, at least at first, offered all of this for a straight $100 per month. Given that it was first providing for families and is now targeting them, we'd also not be exactly startled if, say, there were to be a $150 per month package that got your household two iPhones.

It's a funny world where we could say this about what would add up to $1,200 or $1,800 per year, but that $100 or even $150 per month could be irresistible.

Even if we're wrong

It's so irresistible, and the math works out so conveniently handy, that we would bet money that this is what Apple is planning -- and probably has been planning for a very long time.

We could always be wrong, of course. But if we are, we're going to take our money and spend it on creating the nearest equivalent to an all-in Apple monthly subscription that we can.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,311member
    The thought of Tim Cook sitting in an Apple Park canteen reading this AI editorial made me snort my coffee and damn near choke to death. The Apple centric tech blogs have a very high opinion of themselves much like the naysayers here who constantly trash everything Apple does.

    As for the subscription model itself many of us pay $150/mo or more for cable TV/Satellite TV service with 250 channels we hardly watch but want to scream about $9.99/mo for Apple Music or iCloud space. Office 365 includes 1TB of OneDrive and 60 minutes/mo of Skype and we scream about that too. 
    edited September 11 tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 35
    Let’s just add a MVNO
  • Reply 3 of 35
    There is no question that subscription based products are far more lucrative to sellers. And cable companies lead the way in profits based on making bundles the exclusive way to purchase.

    There is no chance I would buy the bundle/subscription you describe here. Ever. My opinion only, YMMV, maybe it makes sense to Tim and Co.

  • Reply 4 of 35
    irelandireland Posts: 17,670member
    Let me get this straight... we give Apple $1,200-1,800 per year every year and we get one or two phones and accompanying services, including music, a small but growing TV service and magazines (which very few people want), cloud storage and insurance of sorts and they give us $5 per month of a discount for us signing up for all this? No deal. Sure, if you’re rich you’d pay it, but it’s not a fair discount for such a commitment.

    No, I think Apple should stick to what they are doing now and let customers pick and choose what Apple services they sign up for. If you want to sign up for all of Apple’s services, who are we to stop you? And what about Macs and iPads? $200 per month total? $250? Madness.

    Keep it simple and just buy what you want when you want. I listen to music on regular old YouTube and in my iTunes library and I save €120 per year. Magazines? What’s this the 80’s? TV at €5? Well, yes, I will be quitting Netflix and switching to this. Netflix’s original content is mostly not great—the artists making the content lack the chops, largely, and stretching every little documentary out into a series is painful and repetitive. Apps? Don’t subscribe to them. Apple will get €1 per month for iCloud and €5 for TV and I will keep the other €94, thank you very much. And Netflix? Goodbye, Netflix.
    edited September 11 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 35
    What an out-of-the-box idea. I would sign up.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 35
    Apple is really pushing the fact that if you trade in your old iPhone, they'll give you credit for it. The price you get is nothing like the resale value you could get elsewhere,
    I don't think this is right. When trading in an iPhone X it looks like Apple lowers the price of the Pro to $600, so that's $400 for the X. I checked some other sources:

    Gazelle: $246
    eBay: $337 avg selling price, minus eBay & PayPal fees

    ...where are you able to sell it for more? Plus with a trade-in you don't have to worry about cables, box, blemishes, etc. After years of ebaying my old iPhones, I may be done with that. 
    edited September 11 rob53lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    TVTV Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Apple would be smart to offer the iPhone Upgrade Program users a choice of 2 subscription services for the entire length of the program. I mean, in a sense, we are getting that anyway with Apple TV+. Free Apple TV+ for a year. Apple Music is covered by Verizon. I don't ever see myself using Arcade. I pay $2.99 for cloud storage. I would like News+, but I live without it. $60.33 for the 256GB phone plus $94.48 for Verizon is completely enough for me though. The additional $2.99 isn't breaking the bank at that point.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 35
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    Apple is really pushing the fact that if you trade in your old iPhone, they'll give you credit for it. The price you get is nothing like the resale value you could get elsewhere,
    I don't think this is right. When trading in an iPhone X it looks like Apple lowers the price of the Pro to $600, so that's $400 for the X. I checked some other sources:

    Gazelle: $246
    eBay: $337 avg selling price, minus eBay & PayPal fees

    ...where are you able to sell it for more? Plus with a trade-in you don't have to worry about cables, box, blemishes, etc.
    I agree. Gazelle has my iPhone 8 Plus under $300, the amount Apple would give me, although a website (maybe AI) showed Gazelle and others giving more than what the Gazelle website says. I also agree about the box but Apple also would like the charger and cable for some reason. I doubt I still could locate the original charger and cable since I get chargers from MacSales for $10 (or less) along with bulk-packed Apple cables for a lot less than Apple sells. I get a bunch of them when the others are lost or family takes them.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    Apple Music - $9.99
    iCloud 2 TB - $9.99

    What is the other $80 for?

    iPhone is an installment purchase, it is not a rental. If you continuously and religiously upgrade on an exact schedule every 12 months, it might mirror one, but it is not. It can't be included in any sort of ongoing Apple subscription.
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 10 of 35
    I honestly don’t get why someone wouldn’t pay for their phone in installments if they can. It’s basically an interest free loan. Bundling iPhone plus services into one monthly fee seems like a no brainer to me.
    cflcardsfan80razorpitn2itivguytmaycanukstormFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    "However, we also wouldn't be in the slightest bit surprised if Apple, at least at first, offered all of this for a straight $100 per month. Given that it was first providing for families and is now targeting them, we'd also not be exactly startled if, say, there were to be a $150 per month package that got your household two iPhones."

    The whole idea of packaging everything into one bundle is to make the bundled price much less than the cost of the collection of services. If it's close, as you've done in your article, people won't get the bundled package simply by dropping Apple Arcade or getting a less expensive iPhone. If Apple really wants to pull everyone into every service they offer and provide more than basic services (5GB for free vs 2TB) then they'd offer the collection of services you've mentioned for somewhere closer to $75 or even a range starting at $50 for the lowest iPhone up to $75 for the highest one (amount of storage could cause some additional variations). 

    As I am writing this, I see the problems with trying to come up with a one price fits all package but let's take out the iPhone and AppleCare monthly costs and come up with a services package price. I'm not even going to try and calculate that I'm just going to say $25/mo for iCloud storage (2TB family), Apple Music (family), Apple TV+ (family), Apple Arcade (family) and Apple News+ (family). This amount I'd pay to get everything and I could either add this on top of an iPhone purchase paid monthly or just buy the phone and pay the monthly services cost. Am I being cheap? Can Apple afford this with all the licenses they have to pay for? Would people pay this separate amount just for services? I'd say yeas to all three but I don't see myself paying $100/mo for one phone and services.
    muthuk_vanalingamirelandentropyslolliver
  • Reply 12 of 35
    I honestly don’t get why someone wouldn’t pay for their phone in installments if they can. It’s basically an interest free loan. Bundling iPhone plus services into one monthly fee seems like a no brainer to me.
    Well...I got 5% cash back from my credit card company when I bought it that way. 

    There might also be a sales tax advantage if you buy out of state, but there is significant risk to this because of not only the nature of a phone being very traceable to an owner, but I very much expect states to start demanding sales records from retailers so as to enforce their sale/use tax rules. 

    Edit: and oh...double the manufacturers warranty on the credit card too.
    edited September 11 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,876administrator
    Apple Music - $9.99
    iCloud 2 TB - $9.99

    What is the other $80 for?

    iPhone is an installment purchase, it is not a rental. If you continuously and religiously upgrade on an exact schedule every 12 months, it might mirror one, but it is not. It can't be included in any sort of ongoing Apple subscription.
    The Apple Upgrade Program has been doing exactly this for two years. Pay the installment for 12 months, turn it in, get a new phone.

    It can absolutely be included in an ongoing Apple subscription.
    n2itivguyNotsofastwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 35
    dougddougd Posts: 280member
    No thanks
    ireland
  • Reply 15 of 35
    dougd said:
    No thanks
    Dougd doesn't like it!
    ihatescreennamescflcardsfan80Japheywatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 35
    So your idea is to bundle services and equipment that the customer never really owns and charge a pretty penny for it. So basically your idea is to do what the cable companies have done for years. So you want Apple to treat its customers more like the cable companies treat their customers. You know, the cable companies that we all love? Nice.
    edited September 11
  • Reply 17 of 35
    Genius.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    Apple Music - $9.99
    iCloud 2 TB - $9.99

    What is the other $80 for?

    iPhone is an installment purchase, it is not a rental. If you continuously and religiously upgrade on an exact schedule every 12 months, it might mirror one, but it is not. It can't be included in any sort of ongoing Apple subscription.
    The Apple Upgrade Program has been doing exactly this for two years. Pay the installment for 12 months, turn it in, get a new phone.

    It can absolutely be included in an ongoing Apple subscription.
    It's not a subscription, so no, it can't.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    Apple Music - $9.99
    iCloud 2 TB - $9.99

    What is the other $80 for?

    iPhone is an installment purchase, it is not a rental. If you continuously and religiously upgrade on an exact schedule every 12 months, it might mirror one, but it is not. It can't be included in any sort of ongoing Apple subscription.
    The other $80 is for an iPhone, Apple News, ATV+, Arcade, 
    cflcardsfan80watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,876administrator
    Apple Music - $9.99
    iCloud 2 TB - $9.99

    What is the other $80 for?

    iPhone is an installment purchase, it is not a rental. If you continuously and religiously upgrade on an exact schedule every 12 months, it might mirror one, but it is not. It can't be included in any sort of ongoing Apple subscription.
    The Apple Upgrade Program has been doing exactly this for two years. Pay the installment for 12 months, turn it in, get a new phone.

    It can absolutely be included in an ongoing Apple subscription.
    It's not a subscription, so no, it can't.
    You're welcome to believe what you want.
    cflcardsfan80watto_cobra
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