Apple One Wants You to Pay More To Bundle Services You Don’t Want

How I pay less for exactly what I use

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Late last month, Apple launched its new subscription bundle, Apple One, which offers three tiers of bundled Apple services designed to save you money. They’re also designed to convince you to sign up for services that you don’t need, or want, in the first place.

I gave Apple One a look when the company first announced it on September 15, but instead of signing up, I decided to move more of my photos over to Google Photos in an effort to reduce the amount of iCloud storage my family pays for every month. Then last week, when Google announced that it will stop offering free photo storage, I decided to give Apple One another look.

Now my head hurts.

Here are the Apple One tiers, according to Apple:

Source: Apple.com

The first two tiers are basically the same and only differ by how many people you can share them with and how much iCloud storage Apple gives you. These two tiers are probably great if you or your family get your music and video games from Apple, you enjoy a few shows that stream exclusively on Apple TV+, and you don’t depend on iCloud for storage — 50 GB for an individual and 200 GB for a family won’t get you far.

The Premier plan offers 2 TB of iCloud storage, which is more than enough for most families, plus two additional services: Apple News and Apple Fitness+ (which isn’t available yet). Here’s how those services breakdown if you were to pay for them individually:

Apple Music Family Plan $14.99/month

Apple TV+ $4.99/month

Apple Arcade $4.99/month

2 TB of iCloud storage $9.99/month

Apple News+ $9.99/month

Apple Fitness Plus $9.99/month

The a la carte cost for all these services combined would be $54.94. But the Apple One Premier Tier is only $29.95, which means you’ll save $24.99. That’s almost a 50% savings. An obvious choice? Not for my family it isn’t.

I like to think of my family as a unique little snowflake, but my guess is that we probably represent the average family that has willingly locked itself into the Apple ecosystem. There are five of us, and we all have iPhones. We currently pay for the Apple Music family plan ($14.99/month) and 2 TB of iCloud storage ($9.99/month). That means our Apple bill every month is $24.98. If we signed up for the Apple Premier Tier we’d end up paying five dollars more.

Sure, you’re thinking, but with the Premier Tier we’d be getting more — like the Apple TV+ subscription. Well, we currently have a free one-year subscription to Apple TV+ because we bought an iPad in January. The free year of Apple TV+ runs out soon, but since we’ve used Apple TV+ only to watch the first three episodes of The Morning Show and absolutely nothing else, adding it to the bundle is really kind of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Same goes for Apple Arcade and Apple News+. I tried both and they were fine, but not worth paying for, in my opinion. If no one in my family felt like they needed Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Arcade this year, when we’ve been stuck inside our house and glued to all of our entertainment sources and the news, then we probably never will.

Didn’t I learn my lesson spending years paying for cable channels I never watched? The future was supposed to save us from that.

That means I’m currently paying $24.98/month for everything that I need. Why upgrade to a $29.95/month plan for a bunch of services I don’t need? Didn’t I learn my lesson spending years paying for cable channels I never watched? The future was supposed to save us from that.

The math nerd in me did spend a few minutes considering the fact that Apple One gives you one month free. So that means I’d save $29.95 right off the bat. But then I noticed that when I went to Settings → Subscriptions in my iPhone to see the offer, it said “Your existing subscriptions are not eligible for trial.” I reached out to Apple and the company confirmed that, “Since you have an active subscription to Apple Music and Apple TV+ before subscribing to Apple One, you will not receive another trial for these services.”

Sure, there is a service in the bundle that could, in theory, be worthwhile — the yet unreleased Apple Fitness+. According to Apple, the new subscription service is set to launch in late 2020 and will offer weekly workouts that integrate with your Apple Watch and that you can follow along to on your Apple TV, iPad, or iPhone. I still don’t feel comfortable rejoining my gym so this service will make a lot of sense to me, especially if my whole family can use it. The standalone service will cost $9.99/month, which would, in theory, bring my monthly Apple bill to $34.97.

Maybe you love reading News+ on your iPad and you don’t have years of Spotify playlists that would be impossible to move to Apple Music and you also love Ted Lasso or Crossy Road Castle or other shows or games exclusive to these services. If that is the case, then you will definitely save money by subscribing to one of these tiers. But definitely do the math before you subscribe to a bundle that includes services you’re never going to use.

For now, I’m holding off on Apple One. Aside from Apple Music and iCloud, those extra services are just upselling for stuff I don’t want or need.

Head of Platform Stories, Technology @Medium. 👩🏽‍💻

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