Apple Bows ‘Apple One’ Service Bundles

Since announcing a bevy of branded subscription platforms covering magazines, periodicals, music, video and gaming in 2019, Apple has partnered SVOD service, Apple TV+, with select third parties to expand distribution. Now Apple is going in-house with platform bundling pricing options.

Dubbed “Apple One,” the bundles range from combinations of Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade and 50GB of iCloud Storage for $14.95 monthly, to Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus, Apple Fitness Plus, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 monthly.

The plans were disclosed on virtual event, “Time Flies” on Sept. 15.

“Apple One makes enjoying Apple subscription services easier than ever, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, and more,” Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services, said in a statement. “With Apple One, you can access the best of Apple entertainment across all your favorite devices with one simple subscription.”

While Apple has given away 12-month subscriptions to various branded services individually with the purchase Apple hardware devices, the success of Disney’s bundle featuring Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu likely fast-tracked the decision to look within.

“We have long argued that bundling services is a unique tool that Apple has at its disposal,” Katy Huberty, analyst with Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note last month.

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Indeed, Apple services revenue — driven by music, iCloud and App Store — has skyrocketed in recent years, topping $50 billion annually, or about $12.5 billion every 90 days. Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ continue to struggle — the latter against a field of big-name studio/media competitors chasing Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Apple services include:

  • Apple Music, with more than 70 million songs, thousands of playlists, daily selections from music experts, Apple Music radio, and features like time-synced lyrics.
  • Apple TV+, home to Apple Originals such as “The Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon. Apple TV+ has already earned over 100 awards recognitions, including 18 Emmy nominations, for its originals — more than any other streaming service in its first 10 months.
  • Apple Arcade, which gives players unlimited access to more than 100 incredibly fun games across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV, all with no ads or in-app purchases.
  • Apple News+, which provides premium access to leading newspapers and hundreds of magazines.
  • Apple Fitness+, the first fitness experience built for Apple Watch, arriving later this year. Apple Fitness+ intelligently incorporates metrics from Apple Watch for users to visualize right on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, offering a first-of-its-kind personalized workout experience. Everyone from beginners to committed exercisers can access studio-style workouts delivered by inspiring world-class trainers and underscored by motivating music from renowned artists.
  • iCloud, which keeps customers’ photos, videos, files, and more safely stored and available across their devices.

Apple Expands Entertainment Services Globally, Excluding Apple TV+

Apple April 21 announced it is expanding the global reach for some of its entertainment platforms, including The App Store, Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and iCloud, to 20 more countries. In addition, Apple Music, with more than 60 million subscribers, is available in 52 new countries.

The expansion does not include subscription streaming video platform Apple TV+, which launched last November in 106 countries.

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“We’re delighted to bring many of Apple’s most beloved services to users in more countries than ever before,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s VP of Apple Music and International Content, said in a statement.

The services are now available in the following countries and regions:

  • Africa: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Libya, Morocco, Rwanda and Zambia.
  • Asia-Pacific: Maldives and Myanmar.
  • Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.
  • Middle East: Afghanistan (excluding Apple Music) and Iraq.
  • Oceania: Nauru (excluding Apple Music), Tonga and Vanuatu.

 

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Apple Music is expanding to:

  • Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Tunisia.
  • Asia-Pacific: Bhutan.
  • Europe: Croatia, Iceland, and North Macedonia.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos, and Uruguay.
  • Middle East: Kuwait, Qatar, and Yemen.
  • Oceania: Solomon Islands.

 

Apple Arcade is a video game subscription service within the App Store, offering users access to the catalog of more than 100 exclusive games, all playable across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV. Apple Podcasts feature more than 1 million shows in more than 100 languages and 175 countries and regions.

Report: Sony ‘PlayStation 5’ to Focus on Major Games, Tech, Including 8K Resolution

Sony Interactive Entertainment appears to be taking a page from Sony Pictures, focusing internal efforts on proven content and wow-factor graphics, among other features.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sony’s unnamed fifth-generation video game console — reportedly set to launch in late 2020 — will cater to established game publishers featuring graphics-heavy features.

The strategy is not dissimilar to Sony Pictures focusing on proven franchises such as “Spider-Man,” “Ghostbusters” and “Jumanji.”

“Details when making games have become more important than ever,” Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony Corp., reportedly said at a recent company briefing.

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Expectations are high for PlayStation, whose PS4 console continues to generate significant sales, including projected 17+ million units in 2019 — five years after launching.

The PlayStation brand, including hardware, software and subscriptions, generated more than $21 billion in revenue — and $3 billion operating profit — in Sony’s most-recent fiscal year.

By comparison, Sony Pictures generated about $9.2 billion in revenue, which trailed televisions and speakers ($10.1 billion) and topped smartphones at $4.6 billion.

The new PlayStation comes as the gaming industry grapples with changing technology and distribution to consumers — notably cloud-based online gaming.

Google plans to launch its Stadia platform in November while Apple readies Apple Arcade — both services circumventing traditional game consoles such as PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

According to WSJ, Sony contends online gaming doesn’t allow hardcore gamers the ability to engage in graphics-heavy content, audio and 8K resolution, among other features, due to spotty broadband connections and other tech challenges.

“[This] clearly demonstrates why it makes sense to have a next-generation console,” Yoshida said.

Apple Ups Q2 ‘Services’ Revenue to Record $11.5 Billion

Apple April 30 reported record “services” revenue of $11.5 billion, up more than 16% from revenue of $9.13 billion during the previous-year period.

As the media/tech giant shifts its focus from hardware products such as iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, among others, it has upped scrutiny on services, which include sales of digital movies and TV shows on iTunes and Apple TV, in addition to the pending rollout of Apple TV+ app and separate subscription streaming video service.

“Our March quarter [services] results show the continued strength of our installed base of over 1.4 billion active devices,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

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Cook eyes Apple’s install base as the genesis for the future success of AppleTV+ and related Apple business ventures such as Apple News, Apple Pay (including branded credit card), Apple Arcade (gaming) and Apple Music.

Indeed, Apple said sales of its legacy iPhone declined nearly 18% to $31 billion from $37.5 billion during the previous-year period. The attributed the decline to 21.5% drop in unit sales in China – a slight improvement from 26.7% unit drop in the prior-year quarter.

Mac revenue dipped 4% to $5.5 billion, while iPad sales revenue increased 21.5% to $4.8 billion.

Net revenue fell about 5% to $58 billion from $61.1 billion. Net income fell almost 17% to $11.5 billion from $13.8 billion.