The real choice you make when you subscribe to Apple services

If there is something Monday, at the event organized by Apple, the manufacturer of high-tech products is trying to sell to people his vision of the future of services – an apparently effortless lifestyle, with media always accessible, exclusive video games and cash back incentives for a literal titanium credit card.

If there is something that is do not the Apple event is just about everything else. Apple's speech on the new era of subscription services was inadequate with respect to some key details, including prices and shipping dates for some of its new products. The company's executives spoke with confidence about services that have not been launched for months; Actors and directors presented green and tour series, but few sequences were shown. This long delay was another anomaly for an Apple event: Most Apple events take place a few days or weeks before a product is available to the public, but not in this case.

The new subscription service package also raises the question of whether more iOS-only products are a good thing for consumers who, in recent years, have moved away from costly and often compelling media and service-free packages. in favor of à la carte services, monthly or non-contractual services. Apple has been careful to highlight every means by which it gives consumers choice – HBO! Show time! More than 300 magazines! Two documentaries approved by Oprah – and touting privacy as a feature of his offerings. And yet, the company's service strategy is also carefully designed to allow more customers to integrate into Apple's life.

Apple's new premium subscription product for premium news, Apple News +, is one of the topics discussed today by CEO Tim Cook, which was launched immediately. It comes in the form of a "News +" tab in Apple's current "News" app and will serve a variety of news content from magazines, newspapers and news. 39 first digital. (Including WIRED, our April 2019 issue was published in its News + form during the event.) News + will cost $ 10 per month. But no one using a non-Apple device will have access to this service, unlike what was happening with Texture, where anyone with the application could access all those magazines.

The prices and exact launch dates of other new Apple offers are still unknown. Apple Arcade, a new advertising-free game subscription service for iOS, Mac, and Apple TV, is launched in the fall for an unknown price. Apple TV +, another no-subscription slot, is also expected in the fall, but again for an unknown price. Even Oprah Winfrey, with her magnetism on stage and her enthusiasm for Apple devices, would not have wanted to leave this information to Tim Cook.

We know that Apple's new credit card, the only physical and tangible product presented, will be available this summer. And we know that Apple and Goldman Sachs will have it together. MasterCard will handle the payment processing. Since Apple is able to integrate hardware with software so tightly, the card comes with sweeteners: Apple offers low interest rates, cash-back rewards of 1-3% and few penalties for missed payments. And, because Apple likes to focus on privacy, it says it does not know what you're buying and insists that the controversial investment bank Goldman Sachs does not sell your data to third parties for marketing purposes.

Although we know who is doing what for which Apple Card, the remaining question is: Why to enter the credit game at all? Apple said its customers could thus lead a "healthier financial life", with a tracking of expenses built into the application, a statement so noble and seemingly magnanimous. But non-Apple customers do not need to ask for this access to financial health because these incentives only work if you already have an iPhone. Customer support is via iMessage. A 2% refund is available if you use your Apple card. with Apple Pay, which requires NFC on an iPhone. It is designed to keep users of an Apple card in the Apple ecosystem.

With so many subscriptions launched by Apple, it's not foolish to think that Apple is trying out a similar experience to Amazon or a bundle for the modern technology consumer: pay our monthly fees and collect the fruits of our efforts. several services. But analysts say that what Apple has announced is not a "pack" of media in the traditional sense of the word, such as that of cable television. And that may be a good thing.

Telecommunications and cable companies have "very rigid contracts, and you have generally been stuck for two years. As a result, there was no flexibility and users wanted to choose the best products for their different services, "says Annette Zimmermann, vice president of Gartner Research. "With [subscriptions though] Apple, Netflix and Amazon, you can cancel every month. "Mr. Zimmermann adds that this facilitates unsubscribing, but that customers also benefit: this means that high-tech companies must continue to add value on a regular basis.

Jim Nail, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, agrees with Zimmermann. It's not really a "package" offered by Apple, he says, at least not yet, but increasingly disparate subscription services on existing platforms. According to Nail, the most interesting part of yesterday's event is the message from Apple: "We are by your side, we will protect you." But the tradeoff is: "You have to live in our ecosystem and pay the price we charge for it." In the day and age of Facebook and Google, says Nail, "it's a good thing. is a more convincing idea.

But even if Apple does not create something that has the "bad value" perceived of a bundle of cables, that does not mean that its assembling to choose what you eat for $ 10 a month is a slam dunk for all media consumers. Again, these services are largely limited to Apple devices, although its new Apple TV app works on Roku and Amazon devices. And not all media are created equal; The application of established conventions from one media to another does not always work. It remains to be seen, for example, what people consider a reasonable price for optimized touch games, not to mention their buffet at will.

This calculation is even more complicated on the TV application, where almost all the premium services mentioned (HBO, Showtime, Epix, CBS All Access, etc.) are already supported by a single button in your home screen. tvOS, with the same features. (Many of them already have the option to charge you via iTunes.)

Of course, Apple's bet is that this price is not the only consideration to consider here. What matters is the convenience and security of rooting more and more firmly in its ecosystem. So what happens if your brilliant Apple Card can not accumulate as many waypoints as so much Chase Sapphire Preferred? Apple will never cram your mail with pre-approval letters. Who cares never to read every New Yorker what does your subscription to News + give you? He's always right next to Weekly entertainment and gasoline, with the added benefit of not having a stack of problems near your coffee table. The illusion here has no value, it is a choice.

Assuming you chose Apple, this is the case.

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