This time last year I put all my eggs in one basket – but was it a good move?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who eyes my bank statement ruefully as all the various monthly or yearly subs head out of my account and head towards Apple’s.
At least when we go and buy a new iPad or Mac the cost is very obvious, but the monthly subs creep up on you slowly and before you know it you’re handing over a tidy few quid every month.
Apple we know is very keen on growing the services side of their business – and for good reason. Whilst desktop sales are in decline and tablet sales are volatile, Apple is well aware that once they have your name on the dotted line we all tend to forget to check our bank statement every month. Subs represent good solid, monthly, returning revenue…and the numbers soon add up.
Apple posted a 16.3% increase for the September quarter of this year with services bringing them in a record $22.3 billion. It’s been so successful that the services sector of the company came in nearly $1 billion over analyst forecasts of $21.35 billion.
But not being known as a company that is happy with sitting back on its laurels, on the back of those results Apple has recently raised prices – quite substantially for many of their services.
Apple TV+ has had two increases this year and now costs £8.99. That means the price for that service has nearly doubled from its launch price of £4.99 in 2019.
To give those results some kind of context that same period marked Apple’s fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines in total revenue. Mac sales were down by a whopping 34% and iPad sales dipped by 10%.
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It was this time last year that I realised that I needed to take my Apple subs in hand.
One by one I’d fallen into Apple’s honeytrap and had been adding their services to my ecosystem. The tipping point came when I bought an Apple Watch and used the months free trial of Apple Fitness +. Of course, at the end of the month, I’d forgotten about the trial period and that sub began to trickle out of my account as well.
I have a very large and rare collection of CDs that I’ve ripped and curated into my Apple Music library over the years so I also use the iTunes Match service too. Although it’s an extra that’s not included in the Apple One bundle it’s an essential one that I’m more than happy to pay for.
Although at £21.99/year it’s not cheap it gives me access to all of my music on all of my devices, even songs that I’ve imported from my CDs.
Apple One – what’s the fuss about?
The Apple One Bundle is available in three different tiers – Individual (£18.95/month), Family (24.95/month) and Premier which is the one I plumped for which costs £36.95/month.
The first two options include iCloud+, tv+ Music and Arcade with the only difference being that you get an extra 150 GB of iCloud+ storage with the Family bundle (it includes 200 GB of storage as opposed to 50 GB with the individual plan). With the Premier plan, you also get Fitness+, News+ and importantly for me 2 TB of precious cloud storage.
Life before Apple One
Before I consolidated my apps I was already subscribing to iCloud+ (2 TB), tv+, Music, News+ and Fitness+.
The only app that I don’t use is Arcade – so while I am paying for that and not using it, bringing all the other apps under one roof would mean my monthly Apple services spend would come down from £57.95 to £36.95 – a saving not to be sniffed at I’m sure you’d agree.
iCloud+ is quite possibly the star of the show for me.
It goes way beyond just iCloud Drive and cloud storage. For starters, iCloud+ allows for Family Sharing – giving full access for up to five family members to Music, TV+, News+ and Arcade…and extra storage.
As the organiser you get to choose what services you share with each family member. When you think of all the bad press that Netflix has attracted recently with cracking down on its sharing – I think this alone makes the Apple One bundle pretty attractive. You also get some pretty neat features such as iCloud Privacy Relay, Hide My Email and HomeKit Secure Video.
Photos are kept in the full hi-res versions and you also get access to Shared Libraries and Shared Albums too.
If you are a light Apple user then the One bundle won’t be appealing to you – but if reading this helps remind you that you are still paying separately for 3 or 4 of these services then it may be worth you taking stock.
I bought into Apple TV+ a few years back and I consume most of my content through it now.
YouTube, Apple Music and BBC all get streamed through the 4K box which is hooked up to my full-sized HomePod. But that is only part of the story…
When the platform launched it was pretty much a one-trick pony with Morning Show being the only offering. But now Apple Originals is stunning with hit after hit coming out – Slow Horses, Hijack, Black Bird, Bad Sisters, Shrinking, For All Mankind and Silo coming to mind.
There are some fantastic movies (Tetris/CODA/Masters Of The Air) and documentaries too (Lennon/The Super Models/Selena Gomez/Prehistoric Planet 2).
And things are only set to get better. As Apple firmly plants its flag in the movie arena, Apple TV+ subscribers will get first access to blockbuster movies such as Napoleon and Killers Of The Flower Moon as soon as they finish their runs at cinemas.
And with new Originals such as The Family Plan and Criminal Record on the way, I think Apple TV+ will continue to be my go-to streaming box.
Being in front of a Mac or using an iPhone all the time makes using other services such as Music, News and Fitness the easiest option.
They all have minor faults – the constant adverts on the News app for instance drive me bonkers. What’s the point of being a paid subscriber and still getting bombarded with ads?
Niggles to one side though, the apps or services that Apple has been working on suit my needs pretty perfectly.
Just promise me one thing – go check your bank statement…that’s all I ask!
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