Apple launches virtual fitness service and subscription bundle targeting people working from home
Apple launched Apple One, a new virtual fitness service and a subscription bundle. The launch of Apple One was a holiday-season product launch on services which forms a critical component of the company’s growth strategy. The service targeted Apple customers who work at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apart from this, Apple launched a new Apple Watch Series 6 that checks the levels of blood oxygen. The Apple Watch Series 6 costs US$399 while a more basic Apple Watch SE costs US$279.
However, the investors were disappointed by the numerous hardware and subscription price updates. The disappointment is evident as Apple shares closed up 0.2%.
With the introduction of the subscription bundle, monthly subscription for the Apple One bundle will cost US$15 for a family plan that consists of games, television, and music. A bundle that adds news, the fitness service and extra storage are offered of US$30 per month.
Ben Barajin, principal analyst for consumer market intelligence at research firm Creative Strategies stated that the pricing is assertive. He noted that the pricing adds to the $US15 that Apple customers are already paying every month for family plans to some of the content servers of the company. Most of these customers are likely to find the largest bundle something easy to decide.
Spotify Technology criticized the bundle, Apple’s Top streaming music rival, by arguing that Apple was abusing its dominant market position in favor of Apple Music. Spotify is currently pursuing an antitrust case against Apple in the EU. Besides, Spotify has held talks with the US authorities investigating Apple. Spotify offers US$10 monthly subscription for its streaming services which competes with Apple but will not be eligible for the bundle offered by Apple.
In response to Spotify’s criticism, Apple stated that the bundle targeted the current users and that customers are free to encounter and experience other substitutes to the services offered by Apple.
As stated by Apple, the new watches and a new eighth-generation iPad will be available on pre-order from Tuesday. The two products will be available on Friday. Another service introduced by Apple is the Apple Fitness + Service, which is powered by its watch. The Apple Fitness + Service deliver virtual workouts for US$10 monthly or US$80 annually. It will be available before the end of the year.
The fitness service is a close competitor of Peloton Interactive, which manufactures connected exercise gear and sells a subscription to online fitness classes. Most of the Apple workouts can be carried out with equipment or minimal gear such as a set of dumbbells. On the other hand, workouts provided by Peloton need a treadmill or a bike. Shares of Peloton closed up 4%. Despite the difference, the ability of Apple Watch to check blood oxygen level is a similar feature to what is provided by Fitbit watches. Alphabet’s Google is buying Fitbit doe US$2.1Billion.
According to Apple, Apple Watch will be able to measure blood oxygen accurately on-demand when the user is still. Fitbit devices are still showing variations in blood oxygen level or a set of measurement when the user is sleeping.
For the first time, Apple offered a ‘Family Setup, ’ which is a way that the Apple Watch can be used without having to pair it one-to-one with an iPhone.
A faster chip was also added to the base of the new iPad priced at $329 for consumers. The iPad will cost US$299 for education customers. The new iPad Air will also cost US$599 and have a similar appearance to that of iPad Pro models. The new A14 processor chip will be the first to use a 5-nanometer chip manufacturing process.
An update of the iPhone, Apple’s largest seller, will be announced next months. The executives had earlier said that the launch would be delayed by several weeks as a result of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apple also stated that the heart rate and blood oxygen data from the Apple Watch would be studied by fly investigators in Washington State to identify its ability to identify early signs of respiratory conditions such as Covid-19 and influenza.
Pulse oximeters have been used by doctors in various countries, including India, to remotely check Covid-19 patients and make sure that the patients’ oxygen levels do not become extremely low.
Even though the virus has crippled economies across the globe, Apple shares have soared, thanks to the booming sales of work-from-home gadgets.
After climbing by more than 50%, Apple shares traded flat on Tuesday. Apple shares rose at a higher rate compared to NASDAQ, which had a 23% gain. Besides, despite Apple stock falling from a high record earlier this month, it is almost reaching a US2-trillion stock market valuation.Source