Thanks to Apple’s services-focused event back in the Spring, we already know the broad strokes when it comes to Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade. The former will feature Apple’s original video content, which they have been investing increasing amounts of time and money in, while the latter is the company’s gaming subscription service that is geared toward breathing new life into paid gaming titles on the App Store.
We also know that the release dates for both are closing in as we get closer to the release of the new iPhone. However, other than the occasional preview, trailer or rumor, news of these coming subscription services has been scarce.
However, that is starting to change. We have fresh reports on both Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade today, with some of the news being good and some possibly concerning.
Bad news first
It looks like Apple may be pricing themselves out of the streaming video market right out of the gate if a report from Bloomberg earlier today is correct. According to Mark Gurman and others, Apple is considering charging a full $9.99 per month for their new Apple TV+ service. Since it will only launch with a handful of shows and that others may be added slowly, at least in the near future, this price seems very, very high. When you consider that Disney+ will launch with infinitely more content at a lower price, or for just two dollars more with Hulu and ESPN+ included, $9.99 for what Apple is initially offering just doesn’t seem remotely competitive.
I know I will at least sign up for the Apple TV+ trial and may keep it for a few months to review the content so I can effectively write about it. However, Apple’s real target audience would be the other people in my house. I can tell you that my wife and kids aren’t even remotely interested in Apple TV+, and that was before this pricing rumor. They are excited for Disney for plenty of reasons, but Apple’s streaming content isn’t event on their radar right now. A price this high means it won’t be appealing to them or others on the fence until the company brings something more substantial to the party. They will need a blockbuster tentpole show to justify a price like this.
And now for something completely different
According to accomplished beta scavenger Gui Rambo with 9to5Mac, Apple Arcade should be a far more competitive initial offering. He found information in an API for the App Store that the service will cost $4.99 per month after a free month trial. It will also work with Family Sharing, which will be a plus for families like mine.
Why do I see this pricing as compelling? Because Apple has a massive gaming catalog, a track record with developers, and tons of experience in the field. You know, everything they don’t have when it comes to original streaming video content. At least not yet. I have confidence that they can deliver the goods in gaming.
If the games are good, and this is still an if for the moment, then $4.99 per month is a reasonable and competitive price. Apple will also need to keep the content coming to justify people paying for Arcade over the long haul, but this feels like a perfectly reasonable starting point for them. Where my wife and kids couldn’t care less about Apple TV+ right now, they are actually looking forward to Arcade.
The home stretch
As we enter the home stretch for Apple’s new services, with the Card already starting to trickle out and TV+ and Arcade just around the corner, there is still plenty that we don’t know. Both of the authors cited above made it clear that these prices could change before the services are released. However, this late in the game it is more likely that they will stay the same than change, assuming the reports are correct. But when you consider the sources, they probably are.
One major detail we still don’t know is whether Apple will be creating some kind of services bundle, and if so, what will it include. When you add all of these offerings up with the existing News+, Music and iCloud Storage, you have quite a hefty monthly bill. I keep thinking, surely Apple will give us fans a bit of break here, but that isn’t guaranteed and it also hasn’t been rumored in a long time. If Apple neglects this opportunity, it will be my biggest disappointment with their recent announcements. Come on, Apple. Get this done.
For me, Apple hit .500 today, and that isn’t bad. I think the reported TV+ pricing would be a mistake for them, but the rumored Arcade fee would spur fast growth and a great launch. What do you think about these proposed subscription prices? Are you on board, or do you think Apple is completely off-base here? Do you prefer one over the other? Let me know what you think in the comments below, on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog, on our Facebook page, or on our Flipboard channel.