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Apple's Services Bundle Might Finally Be Ready

By Evan Niu, CFA – Aug 14, 2020 at 8:00AM

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"Apple One" could launch as soon as October.

Investors have been hearing rumblings about Apple (AAPL 1.37%) working on a services bundle for over two years now, and the package may finally be ready to launch within a couple months. Bundling is a time-tested, powerful strategy in just about any industry, and such a move would very likely strengthen Apple's booming services business, which now has over 550 million paid subscriptions being billed through its various platforms.

Record labels were previously reported to be a particular roadblock, as the music industry has already been bemoaning the broad decline in average revenue per user (ARPU). Here's the latest on Apple's bundling efforts.

MacBook Pro laptop displaying Apple Music app interface

Image source: Apple.

"Apple One"

Bloomberg reported this week that Apple is gearing up to launch "Apple One," a bundle of services that would allow users to subscribe based on different tiers. The most basic tier would bundle Apple Music and Apple TV+ together for a discounted price, which could have broad appeal, as music streaming and video streaming are generally among the most popular categories for consumers.

Apple One could potentially launch as soon as October, which is when the Cupertino tech giant is expected to start shipping its 2020 flagship iPhones. That would be less than a year after Apple TV+ first launched. Apple has been giving away free one-year subscriptions -- bundled with hardware purchases -- to its video-streaming service because the value proposition isn't as strong as competing offerings from Netflix and Disney due to a relatively smaller content catalog.

Since the launch of Apple TV+, the big question has been whether those subscribers will renew when the free year is up. Apple One could nudge them in the right direction.

Additional tiers could include services like Apple Arcade (mobile gaming), Apple News+ (news aggregation), or iCloud storage (cloud data storage), according to the report. It's unclear how the company plans to price the various tiers, which could easily change between now and the expected launch. Regardless, there would be discounts associated with any bundle -- the main incentive for consumers to sign up.

A new fitness service

Apple might even be working on a new fitness-oriented service that would compete with companies like Nike (NKE 0.34%) or Peloton (PTON 3.41%). CEO Tim Cook is known to be a fitness enthusiast and also sits on Nike's board of directors as lead independent director, although the potential for conflicts of interest has grown as Apple continues to push deeper into fitness and digital health. Cook has reiterated a belief that the tech giant's greatest contribution to mankind will be health, and Apple Watch continues to incorporate more and more health features.

Peloton has also been enjoying a surge in demand for its subscriptions during the pandemic as consumers seek to exercise from the safety of their homes. In addition to Connected Fitness subscribers that use the company's equipment, Peloton also offers Digital Memberships that do not require its hardware. Those subscribers jumped 64% last quarter to over 175,000.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, one of the biggest Apple bulls on Wall Street, believes that a bundling strategy could boost revenue by 5% to 7%.

Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple, Netflix, Peloton Interactive, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple, Netflix, Nike, Peloton Interactive, and Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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