Technology

Apple bundles all its services under a single subscription

The launch is global, so Apple One will also be available in Latin America, but not with all the services launched in the U.S.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple's CEO Tim Cook speaks during a special event at the company's headquarters of Apple Park in a still image from video taken in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 15, 2020. Photo: Apple/Handout via Reuters.
  • Apple also introduced a new Apple Watch Series 6 that monitors blood oxygen and will cost $399 and a more basic Apple Watch SE for $279, alongside the addition of a faster chip to its base model iPad;
  • But the bevy of incremental updates to existing hardware and subscription price tinkering disappointed investors, with Apple shares closing up 0.2%.

Apple rolled out a new virtual fitness service and a bundle of all its subscriptions, called Apple One, focusing a holiday-season product launch on services that are the backbone of Apple’s growth strategy and that cater to customers working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Apple One bundle will cost $14.95 per month for an individual plan; or $19.95 per month for a family plan and include television, music, and games; or $29.95 for a version that adds news, fitness service, and more storage.

The launch is global, so Apple One will also be available in Latin America, but not with all the services or categories launched in the U.S.

In Brazil, services such as Apple News + and the recently announced Apple Fitness + will not be available. Therefore, Apple One plans here include Apple Music, Apple TV +, Apple Arcade, and iCloud storage, with prices ranging from BRL 26.50 (individual) to BRL 37.90 (family plan).
In Mexico, the subscription package will cost between MXN 165 and MXN 229.

READ ALSO: Apple buys Mobeewave, whose technology turns phones into payment terminals

Apple also introduced a new Apple Watch Series 6 that monitors blood oxygen and will cost $399 and a more basic Apple Watch SE for $279, alongside the addition of a faster chip to its base model iPad.

But the bevy of incremental updates to existing hardware and subscription price tinkering disappointed investors, with Apple shares closing up 0.2%.

“It’s a lot more aggressive pricing than I thought,” said Ben Bajarin, principal analyst for consumer market intelligence at research firm Creative Strategies, adding that Apple customers already paying $15 a month for family plans to some of the company’s content servers would likely find the largest bundle a “no-brainer.”

Apple’s top streaming music rival Spotify criticized the bundle, saying Apple was abusing its dominant market position by favoring its own Apple Music service – which was launched in 9 additional Latin American markets and the Caribbean last April.

Spotify, which is pursuing an antitrust case against Apple in the European Union and has spoken with U.S. authorities probing the iPhone maker, charges $10 a month for its streaming service that competes with Apple but will not be eligible for Apple’s bundle.

“We call on competition authorities to act urgently to restrict Apple’s anti-competitive behavior,” the music-streaming company said.

Apple said both new watches and a new eighth-generation iPad can be pre-ordered starting Tuesday and will be available on Friday.

Apple also introduced the Apple Fitness+ service, powered by its watches, that will deliver virtual workouts for $10 per month or $80 per year and be available before the end of the year.

Apple’s fitness service puts it closer to competition with Peloton Interactive, which makes connected exercise gear and sells subscriptions to online fitness classes. Apple said that most of its workouts were designed to be conducted with either no equipment or minimal gear such as a set of dumbbells. Peloton’s workouts typically require either a bike or a treadmill. Shares of Peloton closed up 4%.

READ ALSO: Amazon launches first fitness band in bid to take on Apple and Fitbit

The ability of the Apple Watch to monitor blood oxygen seeks to beat a similar feature already available on watches from rival Fitbit, which Alphabet’s Google is buying for $2.1 billion. Apple said its watch will be able to take absolute blood oxygen measurements on-demand while the user is still, while Fitbit’s devices currently show either variations in blood oxygen levels or a set of measurements taken while the user is sleeping.

Apple also for the first time offered a way to use an Apple Watch without pairing it one-to-one with an iPhone, offering what it calls “Family Setup.”

An update of Apple’s biggest seller – the iPhone – is expected to be announced next month after executives have said its launch will be delayed by several weeks because of pandemic-related disruptions.

READ ALSO: Apple counter suits Epic Games while scheduling a special event

Apple said flu investigators in Washington state will study heart rate and blood oxygen data from Apple Watch for potential early signs of respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19.

Doctors in India and other countries have used pulse oximeters to remotely check on COVID-19 patients and ensure their oxygen saturation level does not fall too low.

Apple shares have soared this year even as the virus has crippled economies around the world, thanks in large part to booming sales of work-from-home items.

Apple shares gave up gains to trade flat on Tuesday after climbing more than 50% for the year, well ahead of the 23% gain for the Nasdaq. Even though Apple stock has fallen from a record high earlier this month, it remains near a $2-trillion stock market valuation.