In a strategic move, Apple Inc has rolled out a new virtual fitness service as well as a bundle of all its subscriptions, Apple One. The holiday-season launch of its services, the backbone of its growth engine, caters to customers working at home in the COVID-19 induced pandemic.
Apple has also launched the Apple Watch Series 6, which monitors blood oxygen levels; it will set you back by $399. The basic Apple Watch SE costs $279.
The bevy of incremental updates to existing hardware and the tinkering of subscription prices have disappointed investors, with Apple shares closing up 0.2%.
The Apple One bundle costs $15 a month for an individual plan, and $20 for a family plan; it includes television, games and music. Cupertino has also introduced a $30 per month bundle which provides more storage, adds news, and a fitness service as a top up.
“It’s a lot more aggressive pricing than I thought,” said Ben Bajarin, principal analyst for consumer market intelligence at research firm Creative Strategies; Apple’s customers who are already paying $15 a month for family plans are likely to find the largest bundle a “no-brainer.”
Spotify Technology was quick to criticize Apple’s music sharing bundle saying, Apple was abusing its dominant market position to favor Apple Music. The company has already filed an antitrust case against Apple in the European Union and has also spoken with U.S. authorities probing Apple.
Responding to Spotify’s criticism, Apple said, its music bundle was aimed at existing users of its services and that “customers can discover and enjoy alternatives to every one of Apple’s services.”
Apple Watch Series 6 and the 8th generation iPad can be pre-ordered starting from Tuesday and will be available on Friday.
Apple’s fitness service puts it closer to competition with Peloton Interactive Inc, which makes connected exercise gear and sells subscriptions to online fitness classes. In a statement Apple said, most of its workouts are designed such that they need either no equipment or minimal gear. In contrast, Peloton’s workouts typically require either a bike or a treadmill.
The Apple Watch Series 6’s ability to monitor blood oxygen levels in realtime, is a one up against rival Fitbit Inc, which incidentally is being acquired by Alphabet Inc’s Google for $2.1 billion, since Fitbit’s devices currently show either variations in blood oxygen levels or a set of measurements taken while the user is sleeping.
Also, for the first time, Apple has introduced the the Apple Watch without having to pair with its iPhone.