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Apple Subscriptions Expand with Apple Fitness+, Apple One Bundles

Sandwiched between the announcements of the new Apple Watch and iPad models was Apple’s “How may we be of service?” pitch. Services such as the App Store and Apple Music make up an ever-increasing portion of the company’s revenues, and Apple is doubling down on the concept with two new initiatives: Apple Fitness+ and the Apple One service bundles.

Apple Fitness+

Over the past few years, Apple has realized that, for many people, the major pull of the Apple Watch revolves around fitness. So much so, in fact, that in watchOS 7, the Activity app has been renamed to Fitness across Apple’s entire line.

But there’s more to the move than a name change—Apple is introducing Apple Fitness+, “a workout experience” that combines metrics from an Apple Watch Series 3 or later with studio-style workouts that you view on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Apple says it has hired world-class trainers to give the classes, and the workouts are scored to motivating music curated by the trainers. (And if you subscribe to Apple Music, you can save the playlists.)

Workout types include cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, yoga, dance, core, and mindful cooldown. If you’ve never done any sort of fitness classes before, there’s also an Absolute Beginner program that helps coach novices through the basics of movement and exercise. Many of the workouts, apart from cycling, treadmill, and rowing, can be done with no equipment at all, and a set of dumbbells will aid in some of the others. Treadmills that support Apple GymKit will prompt users to connect their Apple Watch so the metrics are in sync.

Speaking of metrics, these aren’t just the canned virtual workouts that so many people have become accustomed to during the pandemic. Apple Fitness+ works across multiple Apple devices, so if you start a workout on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, the correct workout type automatically starts on your Apple Watch (Series 3 or later). While you’re working out, heart rate and workout times are shown on the screen and can even be emphasized when the trainer asks participants to check their heart rates or start a countdown timer. There’s also a Burn Bar that lets users compare their current efforts against people who have previously finished the workout. The Apple Watch’s familiar rings also appear on screen to provide feedback and motivation.

A workout in Apple Fitness+

Apple promises that trainers will post fresh workouts every week with a range of lengths, disciplines, and music genres. The selections will include the latest hits, chill vibes, pure dance, hip-hop/R&B, Latin grooves, rock, upbeat anthems, and top country—it didn’t sound as though there would be jazz or classical options. I hope the music is optional because I often dislike the choices I’ve heard in workout classes.

Although I’m a runner, I have a passing familiarity with the fitness world, and at first glance, Apple seems to have done a good job with Apple Fitness+. The integration across devices and simplicity of starting workouts and tracking progress is welcome, and the timing is especially helpful in these days of being stuck at home due to the pandemic and wildfire-caused air quality problems.

A broader concern is that Apple will likely be taking business away from individual trainers and small gyms that have been forced to conduct classes online during the pandemic. Few large companies are likely to be able to compete with Apple’s production values, and smaller entrants stand no chance. Such a situation was unfortunately inevitable, and those who make their living with prerecorded training sessions would do well to start emphasizing the interactivity and personal connections that Apple Fitness+ will never provide.

At launch, which Apple says will come before the end of 2020, Apple Fitness+ will be available only in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. I suspect that’s mostly a language issue due to having English-speaking trainers, but I’m sure Apple is trying to figure out how best to deliver the content in many other languages.

Apple Fitness+ will cost $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Everyone can try it for free for 1 month. If you buy any new Apple Watch, you’ll get a 3-month free trial; buy it from Best Buy, and you’ll get 6 months free. You can also share a subscription with up to five other people in your family with Family Sharing. CVS Health is offering special access to Apple Fitness+ for its clients, customers, and employees—details are still developing.

Apple One

Quick quiz: how many subscription services does Apple now offer, and how much does each cost per month? The answer is six seven:

  • Apple Music: $9.99 individual, $14.99 family, $4.99 student
  • Apple TV+: $4.99 (but 1 year free with the purchase of an Apple device)
  • Apple Arcade: $4.99
  • Apple News+: $9.99
  • Apple Fitness+: $9.99
  • iCloud storage: $0.99 (50 GB), $2.99 (200 GB), $9.99 (2 TB)

(We’ll gloss over the moribund $25.99-per-year iTunes Match, which Apple still supports but says is subsumed by Apple Music.)

If you were to put all the services together (including the Apple Music family plan and the highest level of iCloud storage), it would cost $54.94 per month. Few people probably pay that, but Apple wants to encourage more loyalty to the Apple ecosystem by bundling some of its services together.

Despite the Apple One name, there are actually three discounted service bundles:

  • Apple One Individual: For $14.95 per month, you get Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50 GB of iCloud storage. Before Apple One, that would cost $20.96, so you would save $6.01 per month.
  • Apple One Family: For $19.95 per month for up to six family members, you get Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 200 GB of iCloud storage. Before Apple One, that would cost $27.96, so you would save $8.01 per month.
  • Apple One Premier: For $29.95 per month, you get everything: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2 TB of iCloud storage, all of which can be shared among six family members. With the pre-Apple One price at $54.94, you’d be saving $24.95 per month.

Apple One tiers

Those discounts are entirely legitimate. The only problem is that the bundles may not fit what you want. For instance, Tonya, Tristan, and I currently share the Apple Music family plan and 200 GB of iCloud storage. We also get Apple TV+ for free because we’ve bought new Apple devices, although we’ve only watched two show episodes from it so far and haven’t continued with either show. So we’re currently paying $17.94, whereas the Apple One Family plan would cost us another $2.01 each month and provide only one additional service—Apple Arcade—which we already sampled and discarded. And the Apple One Premier plan would cost $12.05 more per month, making it worthwhile only if we needed more than 200 GB of iCloud storage (unlikely in the near future) and wanted to subscribe to Apple Fitness+ (not inconceivable)—we’ve also already evaluated and left Apple News+.

Our issue is the lack of free time. If we had a lot more of it, we might be interested in reading some of the magazines available via Apple News+ or playing some Apple Arcade games. But as it stands, our days are booked solid from morning until night, and there’s simply no more time to spend on additional services. Perhaps we’re unusual, but I don’t think so—a lack of time is a common complaint among people we know.

Apple says the Apple One Individual and Family plans will be available “starting this fall,” in over 100 countries and regions. However, the Premier plan will be available only in Australia (where it is not fall), Canada, the UK, and the US, where Apple News+ is available now, and Apple Fitness+ will join later this year. Sorry to New Zealanders, who will get Apple Fitness+ but can’t get Apple News+.

One final note. It’s interesting that Apple offers a yearly option for Apple Fitness+ because it has previously done that only for individual (not Family plan) Apple Music subscriptions, where it costs $99. I wonder if that’s because gym memberships are traditionally sold on an annual basis, which in turn is often the case because gyms know that many people won’t actually come in all that often and can thus oversell their space. More charitably, gyms and Apple might be thinking that if people sign up for a year in advance, they’ll be more likely to stick with an exercise program. Nevertheless, it’s an option we’d like to see Apple offer for all its services, including the Apple One bundles, if only to cut down on the monthly accounting effort for those of us who track our expenses.

How about you? Are you going to try the Apple Fitness+ trial a chance? Will one of the Apple One bundles save you enough money to make it worthwhile? Let us know in the comments.

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Comments About Apple Subscriptions Expand with Apple Fitness+, Apple One Bundles

Notable Replies

  1. It’s not quite true that Fitness+ is Apple’s only annual subscription. I’m on the $99/year individual Apple Music plan myself. It comes to $8.33/mo.

    Frankly I was hoping for more with the bundles. I currently have the $2.99/mo 200 GB iCloud plan, and no Apple TV+ or Apple Arcade. That meansI currently pay $11.32/mo for all the Apple services I can make time for, which is less than the least expensive bundle.

    Like Adam, I tried and let lapse my Apple Arcade account, and I don’t need Apple TV+ when there’s already Netflix and CBS All Access (Star Trek!) competing for my vanishing free time. And as many have pointed out, iCloud storage remains overpriced relative to Google One, Dropbox, and OneDrive, its nearest competitors…

  2. But as it stands, our days are booked solid from morning until night, and there’s simply no more time to spend on additional services. Perhaps we’re unusual, but I don’t think so—a lack of time is a common complaint among people we know.

    No, I’m in the exact same camp. I have no interest in Apple’s services. I don’t rent my music, I’m not going to pay for their cloud storage, I don’t have time for Arcade, and I’m certainly put off by pretty much everything I read about Apple News+. With the limited time I have left I’ll continue to get my workout by running my 5-7 miles a day. Takes nothing but a pair of decent shoes.

    If Apple wants to “encourage more loyalty to the Apple ecosystem” in my case that would mean they should knock off the shenanigans and instead put laser focus on producing good hardware, and making a solid macOS and iOS. I don’t need them to attempt to enter new markets where existing players are more experienced, do a better job, and Apple is playing catch-up. IMHO the motto should be stick to what you do best and excel at that. Granted, that might not lead to world domination, but that’s the one thing that would definitely increase my spending with Apple for sure. Not by $14.99/month, by a couple grand a year.

    That said, thanks for the overview, Adam. Your article nicely summarized what the offer is.

  3. I already pay for Family music, 2Tb of iCloud storage, and currently (because we have a 10-year-old) Apple Arcade, Hence getting the bundle might make sense for me.

  4. We already have the Family Music plan, the 2Tb storage, Apple TV+ and use them all. My eldest likes Arcade from time to time and I admit I check it out only every now and then. We let News+ go, the Fitness+ has sparked quite a few of us. Jumping to the Premier when it launches. More for what we are already paying.

  5. I remember when Adobe started the monthly plans. Initial pricing was $20.00 - but then it went to $10.00. I think these prices are too high. They should throw out the low end plan and cut the prices of the others to $10 and $20. I suppose they could charge a bit more than that since you can generally fund these with Apple iTunes money which can be had at a 20% discount. For $20 monthly, I can get Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop and Planet Fitness.

  6. I was also hoping for more plan options, particularly a mix-and-match one. I already have iCloud and Music, and the only other paid service I would be interested in adding is News+.

  7. That’s a pretty solid deal. We’re already on a Spotify family plan at $15/month, and Apple TV+ at $5. For the same price, we’d also get a lot more iCloud storage. Not bad.

  8. Thanks! That didn’t pop up in my quick searches yesterday, but I’ll research more to see if it’s still available. I don’t think it is available for Family plans because we’d be all over that if so.

    Woo! Good for you! I’m still recovering from plantar fasciopathy so I’m only running about three days a week, but I’m trying to ride my ElliptiGO most of the other days. Hopefully, I’ll be able to run (and then snowshoe) all I want by the time the weather gets too cold for biking here.

  9. Yes, surprised they didn’t do a Pick-any-Three type offer.

  10. You missed a service. I still pay an annual fee of $25 for iTunes Match but wish they’d combine it somehow with Apple Music. Although Apple Music has a ton of content, I still have enough rare items and non-commercial music that having it available from any device is a godsend.

    As for the new packages, they might be tempting in a number of months but probably not until my free year of Apple TV+ runs out. And if rumors are correct, I may get a few more free months this fall when I get a new phone.

    Similar to Tommy, I had hoped they’d offer a create-your-own kinda bundle.

  11. Whoa, iTunes Match! You’re right, I completely forgot about it. As did Apple, seemingly. It only gets a support page that I see.

    I’ll try to find a few minutes to work it into the article.

  12. Thanks for the link to the support article. If I’m reading it right it sounds like I’m wasting money as it’s included with Apple Music:

    If you have an Apple Music membership, you get all of the benefits of iTunes Match, plus access to the entire Apple Music catalog.

  13. Does Apple still even sell iTunes Match?

    I switched to Spotify when Apple mangled the transition from iTunes to Apple Music.

    My playlists were still there, but no content in any of them. The problem was compounded when I moved out of the country and left the server with my music library in storage. It might have worked had I been connected to the library on the transition. My guess is Apple never planned or tested for the situation of a missing library.

    And to even get that far, I had to agree to a trial subscription of Apple Music.

    In any case, someday I’ll retrieve my server. Who knows if it will still work after sitting so long. Or if the Apple Library format will still even work.

  14. We spent $27.97 for Apple Music Family, iCloud 200GB, and News+ last month. Since we’ll probably keep TV+ once the trial ends, the Premier bundle will lower our monthly cost and deliver more services. Arcade and Fitness+ don’t really appeal but the 2TB iCloud tier would mean enough space to finally enable iCloud Photos.

  15. Is this still the case? I went looking for discounted iTunes gift cards recently and discovered Apple has discontinued them. They’ve been supplanted by the Apple Gift Card which can now be used in the app stores and iTunes store. Since they can also be used towards hardware, I doubt we’ll be seeing discounted gift cards in the future.

  16. I don’t know about the cards, but Apple occasionally has sales of 10-20% on adding money to your iTunes account. It’s not really a discount as you pay the full amount, but they give you extra credit. So a $100 spend gets you $110 or $120 in your account.

    I watch for those sales and then use it for Apple Music, iCloud, and other regular spending and it’s a good savings.

    (You can get to the “add money” screen via your Apple ID login [at the bottom of the iTunes app on iPhone, for instance] and tapping the “Add Money” option. )

  17. Just to note you can use your store credit for subscriptions. So you can pick up those special offers and use them for the bundle.

  18. Looks like the iTunes cards are gone - so 20% discount may be history - and if they offer $120 for $100 and you’re a subscriber - you should jump!

  19. Apple TV+ is also offered in both monthly ($4.99) and yearly ($49.99) plans.

  20. Here is my take on this. Apple Premier subscription will cost you at least $360 a year and a possibility of price increases since it is not a one time fixed price on subscribing. Any of the lower cost options adds $120 a year if you want fitness. So and individual subscription with fitness will run $300 a year with significantly less storage.The family plan with fitness will runs the same $360 as Premier if you add fitness but with much less storage.

    So what Apple seems to be doing is using an old and proven marketing trick to get their customers to pay $360 a year if they wish to have fitness, the most valuable app, by pricing it such that the lower cost options offer little value and that only their highest priced offering makes economic sense. It is similar to the theater popcorn trick where the large size with free refills is only slightly more expensive than the medium and the ‘regular’ seems tiny by comparison. Not only that but with the limited battery life of the watch and the cost of replacing it, if it can be replaced, results in it being cost ineffective to replace it, meaning in order to continue using fitness you will need to purchase a new watch every few years, and your occasionally your Phone at Apple’s inflated prices.

    Thanks but no thanks. I choose to wait a bit to see what their competition offers.

  21. (We’ll gloss over the moribund $25.99-per-year [iTunes Match]

    I Love iTunes Match, my get out of the house walkabouts, and 1’38" hour drives to visit my mother are so enjoyable with anuniquely personalized and eerily interesting random play: (Ghost Wrier/Mary Lou Lord -Octopus/Syd Barrett-fiesta en el solar/Marc Ribot y Los Cuanos Postivos-Strong Blood/Trixie Whitley-I’m Only Sleeping /The Vines-Something Beautiful/Sinead Oconnor-WIlbury Twist/Traveling WIlburys-Something’s Jumping in you /Lisa Marie and Malcoolm McLaren) As an artist, and producer I ask you to please support direct download releases from your favorite artists. Streaming services - even Apple Music -but others as well - do not compensate artists very well by streams. If you can go to the artist directly - that’s usually the most cost effective for the artist (lower service fees) especially in times when venues are difficult to open- like now- I really dislike subscription services as a way of life but iiTunes Match has always been one of the best Apple Products I’ve even used. .

  22. My one question: Where does that leave the new Apple TV+ bundle. Apple recently announced a $9.99 bundle of Apple TV+, Showtime, and CBS All Access.

    Is that still available through Apple One?

  23. Oops! I didn’t think anyone was actually paying for Apple TV+ yet. :-)

  24. I have been enjoying the AppleTV+ (free as I purchased a new iPhone last year). I love the quality of the productions and the easy access to all other streaming our family does. My current favorite is Ted Lasso: how to be a nice guy in an nasty world.

    We are considering the Premier Bundle as my husband and I have individual accounts for the various services. It wold definitely save us some money. However, I am very interested in the Fitness+ service since my pilates studio has been closed for six months.

    One concern we have is that we have both been using iTunes for years and I have iTunes Match. We do not want to lose what we already have. So, holding off until we get this figured out.

    Thanks so much for the synopsis!

  25. In theory, Apple says that Apple Music subsumes iTunes Match, but you might want to confirm that with Apple support before you subscribe to the Apple One Premier bundle.

  26. iTunes Match has features missing from Apple Music. We were just reading what Apple Music gives you and it doesn’t allow for music tracks that are not on the Apple Store. Music Match does.

    Or do I have that wrong?

  27. I just tested this. I have ripped MP3 files (with SoundJam!) from a non-commercial music CD I bought from an Asian guy playing an unusual instrument under a bridge in Central Park while in NYC for Macworld Expo some year. It’s completely unknown to Apple Music.

    I imported it into Music in Catalina using File > Import. Then I used File > Library > Update iCloud Music to update my library. The artist and album appeared on my iPad Pro running iPadOS 14. However, they have not yet appeared on my iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 14. My guess is that sync will happen at some point, but I don’t know how to force it in iOS.

    I do have Sync Library enabled in Music on the Mac in Music > Preferences > General, and in Settings > Music in both iOS and iPadOS.

  28. I think the bundle is $9.99 for CBS All Access and Showtime, available to you if you’re an Apple TV+ subscriber.

  29. Yeah, but will it also available with Apple One?

  30. I guess we’ll find out when Apple One becomes available.

  31. re. iTunes Match.

    I use iTunes Match, as I don’t really need (have time for) the Apple Music catalogue. iTM should work exactly the same as AM though; if you’re importing your own non-iTunes items (CDs, items from other sources, etc.), then they get DRM-free versions available to re-download from Apple, compared to tracks you download/stream (that you never owned) from the AM catalogue that all remain DRM’d.

    I’m still nervous about using AM though, as on its release, Apple managed to muck around and screw up huge numbers of people’s own DRM-free music (often in lossless ALAC, to boot!). Along with artwork and release notes being deleted or swapped for wrong ones – unforgivable if you have (read: had!) a large catalogue of items, and had to either fix these issues manually, or for some, simply couldn’t recover from the issue (see journo Jim Dalrymple).

    re. Apple One, extras.

    On a separate note, I believe Apple have intimated users can pay extra above even the top tier. So you can pay 30 for that, then supposedly another 10 for another 2TB more storage, and/or the TV bundle (ATV+, CBS, Showtime) likely to be another optional 5 on top.

    But how this is going to all work exactly is unconfirmed – likely at least until they announce/release iPhone 12, as that’s when a huge number of people will have the free ATV+ run out, and are wondering if Apple offer another free year due to Covid, with Apple not being able to meet their own production/release schedule accordingly, thus the lack of expected content available in this first year.

    Somehow, I don’t think another year of ATV+ is on the cards though, given they want to sell these bundles to impress shareholders that they’re taking services revenue to the next level. We’ll have to see.

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