Apple has raised prices for its Apple One service subscription bundles, charging up to $5 more per month than before. Here's how to decide if it's worth it in late 2023.
Apple One bundles up to six Apple subscriptions for a single lower monthly price, offering three tiers: Individual, Family, and Premier. Individual is priced at $19.95, $3 more than before. Family also rises $3 to $25.95. And Premier jumps $5, now priced at $37.95.
Each service includes unfettered access to Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade. They also include additional iCloud+ storage, ranging from 50 GB to 2 TB.
It's worth considering that Apple provides free trial versions of each service, and also gives customers who purchase its hardware products special deals.
You can get six months of free Apple Music, for example, by buying a new set of AirPods or Beats or a HomePod speaker. New iPhone, iPad, and Mac buyers can sign up for three free months of Apple News+ or Apple TV+.
It's also possible to score deals on Apple One from some mobile carriers. So check around before you take the plunge, you might be able to find a better deal.
But eventually, everyone's free trial runs out, and it's time to decide whether to keep paying for the services you want individually. Unless you're a student and eligible for a different rate, that's where the bundles come in.
What's included in the Apple One Individual Plan
Apple One Individual bundles Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade together with 50GB of iCloud+ storage together for $19.95. On their own, the services would cost you $28.96 per month, $9 more.
The question for many customers remains whether the services that are bundled are worth it. Consider that even with the price increase, if you plan to use all the services included in the Individual Plan, it's a clear winner.
Even subscribing to Apple Music and Apple TV+ on their own would cost you almost $1 more than the Individual plan, without the benefit of 50 GB of additional iCloud+ storage and Apple Arcade.
Apple TV+ has improved in leaps and bounds since its 2019 debut, adding original content each month in the form of new series and original movies, including many that have broken through to mainstream popularity like Ted Lasso. Apple's also provided access to major sporting events, including games from Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.
Apple releases new Apple Arcade titles periodically, now featuring access to more than 200 games. None of the games sport any sort of ads or in-app purchases.
Apple has expanded the scope of Apple Arcade since it was first launched. While the company continues to add new, original games to the service, it's also added a couple of categories, "Timeless Classics" and "App Store Greats."
The two categories feature games playable on both iPhone and iPad, updated from their original form in some cases with content specific to Apple Arcade, and to remove advertising and in-app purchase requests.
It's this absence of IAP and advertising that makes Apple Arcade so particularly appealing to parents. You can be assured that if you give your kid an iPhone or an iPad with access to Apple Arcade, you're not going to be facing down the barrel of a runaway IAP purchase. And as a game player, it's nice not to be hit over the head with ads in between every level of an otherwise-encumbered game.
What's included in the Apple One Family Plan
The Family Plan for Apple One includes the same basic services as Individual, bundling together iCloud+, Apple TV+, Apple Music and Apple Arcade together for $25.95.
While the specific services offered in the Family Plan are the same as the Individual Plan, up to five family members can share them. What's more, the Family Plan increases iCloud+ storage to 200 GB.
Factoring in the cost of a 200 GB iCloud+ storage plan ($2.99) and a family Apple Music account ($16.99), the cost to subscribe to each service separately would be $36.96, or $11.01 more than you'll pay in the bundle.
What's included in the Apple One Premier Plan
The Apple One Premier Plan adds two services not included in the other bundles: Apple Fitness+ and Apple News+. It also ups the amount of iCloud+ storage to 2TB.
As with the Family plan, up to five people can share a Premier Plan.
Purchased la carte, each of the services would set you back $66.94 per month, so there's certainly value to be had here to getting them bundled. It partly depends on how much value you find in the added content from Fitness+ and News+.
Apple Fitness+ works on the iPhone and iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watch. It provides you with workout routines ranging from beginner to advanced, lasting from 5 to 45 minutes. Apple Fitness+ includes 12 different workout types ranging from High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to dance, meditation to yoga.
Apple News+ offers curated access to hundreds of different magazines and newspapers, including publications like Time, The Wall Street Journal, People and many others. It also provides you with audio content and local and regional news.
Apple News+ doesn't provide you with the exact same content you'll find behind each publication's paywall — as we said, it's curated — but there's plenty to keep you busy. Including now the addition of crossword puzzles, a new addition for 2023.
Is the value there for Apple One?
It seems you can hardly go a week without news that someone, somewhere, is jacking up the rates for the services you already pay for and providing you with questionable value in return. So let's be honest: subscription fatigue is real and more perfidious than ever.
In this respect, Apple is no different. The company clearly feels that the content it's providing its customers is worth more than it did six months or a year ago.
You can also be certain that this isn't the last time you'll hear about Apple One's prices increasing.
Doing the arithmetic is a simple proposition for most of us, however. And it's good to remember that you're never "locked in" with Apple One, as there are no early termination fees or contract gotchas.
Pay for it when it makes sense for you to do so, and if you don't think you're getting appropriate value, you can always stop.