Apple reportedly wants to shift the iPhone to a “subscription” plan.
In effect, this may mean paying a nominal monthly fee -- maybe $12 to $15 a month rather than owners paying generally $25 a month on installment payments that a majority of iPhone users pay to own the latest version of the popular mobile device.
For being on a plan, iPhone owners would expand on its Apple One subscription package, which includes a number of services like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, iCloud+, Apple TV+, and other Apple services.
Why this move? Apple may have consumer data revealing that there is a large segment of iPhone owners who regularly trade up to buying a new iPhone -- typically released every two years. That means many consumers are virtually always on installment plans -- typically packaged into mobile phone service plans sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or other communication monthly plans.
And right now, many of those deals with communications companies also include free subscription promotions to many premium services -- such as Netflix, HBO Max -- anywhere from six months to one year.
As part of a new “subscription” iPhone plan, consumers would also get extra services -- like Apple TV+, the thinking goes. Apple TV+ is regularly priced at $4.99 a month.
From Apple's point of view, it would expand their consumers and revenue base -- now with 133 million iPhone users under an ongoing subscription plan. Apple does not reveal current Apple TV+ subscribers. It is estimated to have around 20 million to 30 million paying subscribers.
Does that give Apple a better position for Apple TV+ when it comes, to, say, luring in big-time TV and movie producers looking for the widest possible distribution of their content?
Sure. But don't discount that winning Best Picture Oscar for “CODA” this past weekend also could be a factor for producers and directors to now consider Apple.
Packaging Apple TV+ tied with an iPhone deal on an ongoing basis could also boost casual viewership. It would give Apple TV+ something key to the TV programming operations: Sampling.And a wide-scale, successful subscription plan could give Apple the billions of dollars now needed every year to accelerate toward top streaming platforms Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, in terms of subscribers.
Overall, for Apple, it’s more “plus”.