On TV+ and the Cunning Strategy of the Apple One Bundle Pricing

Regarding many of us reconsidering Apple’s services amid their price increase, it struck me that TV+ is the one I’m least likely to drop. I’d drop Apple Music before it (could switch to Spotify). I’d drop iCloud+ before it (could switch to Google Drive or Dropbox). I’d drop Fitness+ before it (plenty of good fitness apps out there). I’d drop Arcade before it (I’m just not a frequent gamer, despite it having good titles and a compelling model). And I’d certainly drop News+ before it (with all the ads, it hardly feels like a premium experience anyway).

But TV+ is the only place I can watch my favorite shows. Trying, Ted Lasso, For All Mankind, Shrinking1, Severance, The Afterparty, and our newest hook, Lessons in Chemistry, to name just a few of our most-loved programs of the past few years. It’s where both my wife and I now turn first for new things to watch. And that content is available nowhere else.

Not that I want to drop the rest of the services. I’m quite happy with the value I get out of Apple Music, Fitness+, and iCloud+ too. But if I were to drop Arcade and News+ from the Apple One bundle, I would end up paying $9/month more than if I just kept the full Premier plan.

Apple One bundle subscription screen showing the full bundle with all services for $37.95 or 4/6 services for $46.96.
I’ll concede that this bundling interface is well done.

But what about iCloud+ storage?” you might be asking. Why not just drop down to a lower storage tier? Do you really need 2 TB?” No, I don’t. But, wouldn’t you know it, there actually aren’t any iCloud storage tiers between 200 GB for $2.99/month and 2 TB for $9.99/month. Considering our iCloud Photo Library and Messages history cracks 200 GB on their own — not to mention iCloud Backups, iCloud Drive file storage, or any app data — they’ve got us stuck at 2 TB.

If Apple Music was the candy trail that lured us into the Apple One bundle, it is TV+ (along with iCloud+) that was the Trojan Horse that now guards the exit.2 Well, that and the fact Eddy Cue has done his math well.

And, considering Apple can pull the strings to adjust the individual pricing of each service along with the overall bundle, I don’t foresee that reality changing. I fully expect Apple One to always be on the razor’s edge of feeling like it’s too costly, while the popular services will always add up to be more expensive on their own. So Apple will keep getting north of $500 per year out of us for the privilege of using their core services.

  1. I’m literally writing this blog post while listening to an 8-hour version of the excellent theme to Severance. It’s superb thinkin’ music that eerily obscures the passage of time.↩︎

  2. And what a Trojan Horse it was, effectively costing $0 for the first 21 months before coming in at the bargain bin price of $4.99/month. Even at $9.99/month now, I still content that it’s a solid value.↩︎

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