Apple Services - Apple Next Money Maker Explained | iCloud & Apple One
Since 2019, Apple has put more emphasis on their services segment. With launches of new products and service bundle, Apple has managed to grow their subscriber base from 390 million in 2019 to almost 600 million in 2020. Subscription model has been attractive for Apple since it provides a stable monthly recurring income versus seasonal spikes of their physical product.
Apple services has grown from the first fumble of MobileMe to iCloud and now a stable of services which compromised from music streaming to news subscription. With an extended array of services, this page will catalog every service, both free and paid, that Apple has to offer. This page will be updated if Apple introduces new services in the future. Let’s dig in.
- Apple services are a major income stream for Apple
- Getting the service is as easy as signing in your Apple devices with your Apple ID
- Free service: iMessage, 5GB iCloud, FaceTime, Apple Pay(*)
- Paid: Apple Music sub, Fitness+, AppleTV+, News+, iCloud storage (upto 2TB)
- Bundle: AppleOne (a few services under one umbrella), Family Plan (share with 5 other people)
- Some service are not available in some countries
- Apple might introduce new services in the future, like Podcast+
How to get Apple Services
To get Apple services setup, first you need to login to Apple services using your iPhone or iPad. To do this, first go to System Preferences / Settings and login or set up your Apple ID. This Apple ID is how Apple tracks your service entitlement and which service that you sign up for.
When you login to your Apple ID on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, you automatically get the free tier of the Apple services which consists of 5GB of iCloud storage. If you set your iPhone to backup to the iCloud, you will automatically run out of storage. From the Apple ID page on your iPhone or iPad, you can sign up for paid individual services or get the Apple One, which is bundle services which can save you some money.
iCloud storage is Apple’s online storage solution. Imagine having a USB thumb drive, but it’s on the internet in Apple’s servers and it’s available on any of your signed-in devices from the MacBook Air laptop to your iPhone. When you sign up with your Apple ID, you have a free 5GB storage space allocated to you. Apple offers more storage for a fee, from 500GB all the way to 4 TB to suit your needs.
Officially, Apple offerings are limited to 2 TB of iCloud storage. You can extend to 4 TB of iCloud storage by subscribing to the Apple One package deal which provides 2 TB of iCloud storage and by individually taking the standalone iCloud storage subscription which adds another 2 TB of iCloud storage.
You can access your iCloud storage and other associated Apple apps like Notes, Photos, Pages, Numbers and other apps at icloud.com.
Streaming on-demand music became fashionable by the early 2010s and Apple jumped on the bandwagon in 2015. Apple is no stranger in the music business from the early clashes with Apple records (the one that publish the Beatles), to the Music store where you can download any songs you want for 99 cents a piece, to the iPods which Apple’s first step from a computer company to a technology behemoth that is today.
One of the differentiators is Apple provides high quality music streaming that is comparable to a Compact Disc and the Golden master for free. They also pioneer spatial audio on music tracks in which if you use compatible devices (like the AirPods Max), you can listen to the music from different directions, it’s almost like having a live band in your room.
Catalog-wise, Apple’s offering is comparable with competitors like Spotify, Amazon Music and Tidal because the record companies do not mind the music being played on every station on earth.
Apple also has a decent website to play your tunes on your web browser which you can go to music.apple.com. The layout follows closely the Music app on the actual Mac app, which is not a bad thing.
Apple TV+ is Apple paid streaming services. In the olden days, you would rent these things called VHS or DVDs which had a single movie in them. Not only that, you would require specialized equipment to watch them. Now, we have streaming services that beams almost every movie or tv show that you want straight to your iPhones, iPads, Macs or even TVs. Apple has joined the video streaming bandwagon with the Apple TV+ offering. Some of the shows like Foundation, For All Mankind, The Morning Shows and others are quite good and went on to win Emmys and Oscars.
If there is one complaint about Apple TV+ is that the service is mostly limited to Apple devices. Most Smart TVs on the market use Android or support Chromecast, a protocol to stream and control videos from your device to another device like a TV. The Apple TV+ app does not have such flexibility. It can be a nuisance that you are forced to watch a good movie on a small iPhone instead of your Android TV.
Alternative method if you don’t have a Mac or any Apple devices, you can still view Apple TV+ on the web browser at tv.apple.com. Just sign in and you’ll be on your way.
Despite Macs having a reputation of not being very good at playing games, Apple is one of the top 5 largest gaming companies in the world by revenue. The way that Apple does things differently is that they have one of the most powerful apps in the world: the App Store. Apple does not only take a cut when you purchase an app in the App Store, it will also take a cut for every transaction that you made in the app itself. For example, if you buy Robucks (a virtual money) in Roblox, a popular massive multiplayer online gaming platform, Apple gets a 30% cut.
Just like music and TV shows, gaming also has gone streaming. In Apple Arcade, Apple provides free games for you to play. Apple also has a mechanism to keep track of your scores and profile across multiple gaming sessions called GameCenter. And just like their counterparts like Sony’s Playstation Network or XBox Live, Apple Arcade provides free new games every month.
Since the development of the Apple Watch, Apple has found firm footing in the health and wellness sector. To expand such footing, they introduced Fitness+, an extension of the Fitness App that features workouts in various forms from doing yoga, running on the treadmill or stationary bike to doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). As a Fitness+ user myself, I can tell you how hard it feels when you haven’t used those muscles for a long time.
Personalized automated training is a new sector that has come up in recent years especially when the pandemic hits and people find new ways to stay healthy. Peloton, which is famous for its internet connected streaming workout bikes, has exploded during the pandemic. Fitness+ also have enjoyed the same benefit with this trend.
Back in the day, if you wanted to get a magazine, you would either buy one at the newsstand or a bookshop, pay the full price or join a subscription to get the magazines at a discounted price. Now, the publishing industry has changed much by having some gatekeepers like Amazon and Apple providing all the magazine subscriptions at a single price. However, such system currently is available on limited markets like the United States
Taking the services individually can be an expensive affair. Luckly, just like the cable companies of yesteryears, they give you an offer that you can’t refuse: packaged deals. In Apple’s parlance, it’s called the Apple One where Apple offers several of its packages into one single price.
Currently, there’s three tiers of Apple One that goes from Individual, Family and Premier. The Premier includes Fitness+ and News+ subscription and around 2 TB of iCloud storage. The Family and Premier package allows you to share the subscription with five other people.
In push for education, iTunes provides learning resources and courses from Top Colleges in the USA. However, this service will be discontinued by the end of 2021 and replaced by Apple’s Classroom and Schoolwork app.
Apple Pay is a cashless payment service by Apple. It allows you to make purchases or transfer money to other people using your Apple devices. It uses the NFC standard to complete the transaction. The transaction must first be authenticated using Face ID, Touch ID or passcode. With the NFC standard, you can integrate other supported credit cards and transit cards to Apple Pay. You also must select which card to perform the transaction if you have multiple cards stored in Apple Pay.
For the transit card, there is an express transit mode where transit payments are made without the need to authenticate.
You can also confirm web purchase on your macOS when you are using Safari. For this to work, the website needs to support Apple Pay, the purchase is made in Safari and you must be authenticated using a Touch ID mac.
In conjunction with Apple Pay service, Apple also introduced the Apple card, a MasterCard credit card by Apple and Goldman Sachs as a physical representation of the Apple Pay service in places where Apple Pay is not accepted.
The Apple Pay service is available inside the Wallet App.
Competition: Samsung Pay, Paypal, Stripe, Square and many others.
AppleCare Plus is a warranty and support program for Apple hardware products. You will get the basic AppleCare with any purchase of new Apple products, but you can opt to extend your coverage to over 3 years. The AppleCare must be bought within one year from the date of purchase. Benefits of the program include component replacement under warranty.
Just like that extra protection scheme in best buy when you buy that TV.
All Apple services are available globally, but due to contractual restrictions, some services are not available in some regions. There are guides to circumvent this by changing the phone’s regional settings.
Apple official availability by region page
Rumored New Services
Apple being a secretive company does not say what services will be in the pipeline, but one can infer from industry movement to predict Apple’s own movement.
Amazon is one of the companies that bought a podcast company Wondery for $300 million which will join Amazon music catalog. There is rumor that Apple will start a Podcast+ service because of this. There’s already a podcast app that help you manage your podcast subscriptions.
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