Apple’s announcement that Fitness+ would be the perfect subscription buddy for your Apple Watch follows a long line of subscription-based services for Apple devices.
Following the announcement, a number of years ago, that Apple’s huge sales juggernaut would go from being a hardware experience to one that offered both, Apple has quickly moved to offer complementary services to its hardware products.
And that move seems to be serving the company well. Revenue from software and services continues to climb: in Q3 2020 it reported $13.16bn in services revenues, up from $5.03bn just 5 years ago.
But it’s not just about dumping in more ways for us to part with our cash, or simply more random services that Apple will think will appeal. There is a conscious approach to which services are launched and how they tie into the hardware products that Apple offers.
At first, it was all about offering backup through the iCloud for all those storage needs, then came Apple Music for your headphones. Before long we had a host of supplementary subscription services.
It’s as if there was a meeting at Apple Park some years ago that decided that any new product would have to come with a valid subscription package to bolt on to it.
Possible future complementary Apple services
With that logic in mind, I suspect we can expect Apple AirTags, the company’s much-rumoured tracking buttons, to have a subscription service associated.
That could be in a similar vein to the offering from Tile, a company that also offers location trackers. While most of the Tile functions are available without paying anything extra, there is a subscription offering with a Premium tier, which unlocks some additional features like unlimited sharing of Tile devices with friends or family, or 30-day location history so you can see where you Tile has been.
Apple could easily add some form of advanced tracking, Find My+ for example, that gives “pro” users additional features as long as they subscribe. The same could work for the rumoured AR glasses, but what Apple has shown us, is that the accompanying subscription service isn’t just about unlocking additional features, but giving you a reason to use the product more than you usually would.
An Apple TV still works as an Apple TV, but Apple TV+ gives you something to watch which means you’re likely to use it more. And of course, if you use it more then you’ll be happier to upgrade or buy other Apple gear, and so the wheel continues to turn.
Apple’s services have a purpose, to make you want to use the products more, and the more you do that, the less likely you’re going to be heading off to use a competitor product any time soon.
If it can entice you in with the new Apple One bundle, then expect to also be ready to buy more Apple products, not only in the near future, but for many years to come.