Review of the Apple One Bundle
by Stan Lemon
Jan 22, 2021
It amazes me that I meet folks who haven’t heard of the Apple One bundle. Nonetheless I’ve met a lot of people who missed Apple’s announcement and subsequent rollout at the end of October 2020. The Apple One Bundle takes the various services Apple has built out over the last few years and packages them up into a single billing structure. With the Apple One Bundle you’re charged once a month for all of the services in your bundle. Prior to this every Apple service you signed up for had a different billing date and a separate transaction.By bundling more than one service you also receive discounts on the total cost of having these services. But is the Apple One Bundle worth it?
- Current pricing for Apple services by themselves look like this:
- iCloud storage per month runs 50gb for $.99, 200gb for $2.99 and 2tb for $9.99
- Music runs $9.99/month for an individual and $14.99 for a Family of up to 5.
- TV+ runs $4.99/month
- Arcade runs $4.99/month
- News+ runs $9.99/month
- Fitness+ runs $9.99/month
- Bundle pricing looks like:
- Individual at $14.95/month (Single user, Music, tv+, Arcade, iCloud 50gb)
- Family at $19.95/month (Up to 6 users, iCloud increases to 200gb)
- Premier at $29.95/month (News+, Fitness+, iCloud increases to 2tb)
- Verbiage on the Apple site is confusing for the number of users. It often says, “up to 5 other people”. This means 6 users total, the subscriber plus five others. I’m honestly not sure what big families are supposed to do, but I think Apple is trying to limit people sharing these subscriptions with extended family members and friends.
- The trial for Apple One is extremely confusing, as they prorate based upon which services you’ve already used a trial for. If you’re currently running a multi-month trial (like the 3 month Arcade one with new iPhone) you’ll lose the balance of trial months.
- Like many bundles, this is more compelling the more services you are already using.
- In my situation I regularly paid for 2tb of iCloud storage, Apple Music for a family and Apple Arcade, so by upgrading to the Apple One bundle I gained News+, TV+ and Fitness+ (total of $24.97 by itself) for no additional cost.
- iCloud storage is absolutely worth having if you have an iPhone. Put your documents in it, use it for iPhone backups and store your Photos in it. It’s the safest and most secure option for you and your family. The only other service I would even consider recommending is Microsoft’s OneDrive, but that doesn’t offer iPhone backup storage or a Photos product.
- Apple Music is great, and if you’re in the Apple ecosystem it is, in my opinion, a better offering than Spotify. Sharing a single iTunes account for Apple Music among multiple people neuters the service of its personalization benefits, so if you have a significant other or kids you should absolutely be using a family subscription. Don’t believe me? It took years to get Taylor Swift out of my music recommendations. It’s not worth it.
- Arcade has high quality games with no ads. If you have kids, the ads in many free games are the thing you should be worried about. Games in the App Store are often not rated based upon the smut that comes across in app ads, so you could potentially be exposing your little ones to pure garbage. Plus, the Arcade games are really high quality. We have a rule in our house: I’ll approve installing ANY Arcade game for my kids. If it’s not an Arcade game and it has ads the kids don’t even ask me anymore.
- TV+ is a decent streaming service and I was happy to use it on a first year promo. I really enjoyed For All Mankind, The Morning Show, See, Defending Jacob, Greyhound and Tehran. My kids loved Ghost Writer. These shows had great writing and solid acting and because of them TV+ is a contender with other premium content providers. TV+ wasn’t enough content to keep me paying for the service by itself, though, at least not yet. I’m sure covid slowed down their production significantly, so I it’ll be interesting to see if TV+ can keep up with content now that Hollywood is back in action.
- News+ is hard to justify at $9.99/month unless you’re heavily into Magazines. Magazine junkies will find an extensive catalog of content of all sorts. That’s not me. I am a news paper junkie, though. The Wall Street Journal has a ton of complex packaging options, but if you plan on having a subscription for longer than 12 weeks then News+ is the most affordable way to get the WSJ. There are other great papers available too, like the LA Times, Houston Chronicle and the San Francisco Chronicle. The problem is the News app, which is a hot mess to navigate and never really shows me content from the sources I want most. If I just want to navigate through the sections of the WSJ it’s not a great experience. If, like me, you’re in that 2tb iCloud category then odds are the Premier Bundle makes sense for you, and then News+ is included, which is just fine.
- Fitness+ looks great, and though I’m not a fitness junkie I appreciate what they’re doing here. I did a whole podcast on this recently so I won’t go into depth here but you can check out the episode. If you’re in the Premier bundle then Fitness+ comes with the Premier bundle and is a sweet addition.
- All of these services continue to get great content added to them each month.
- If you’re in the 2tb iCloud storage block and have Apple Music for a family you can look at the Premier bundle one of two ways, for $5 extra you’re getting a ton of solid material. If you have any of the $5 services already, then you get it at no additional cost. If you have (or want) one of the $10 services, you’ll basically get it half off with a bunch of other stuff at no cost.
- The Family Bundle is the best all around deal if you have another person in your life.
- Historically Apple has NOT increased the cost of its services. iCloud storage, while pricey per gb, has never gotten more expensive. The same is true for Apple Music.
- Just about every streaming service has increased their rates over the past year, including Disney+.
- It remains to be seen if the prices of the Apple One bundle will stay put or not. I think they’re safe for the next few years, anyhow.
- I think that most people will find savings in the Apple One Bundle and almost everyone will get some additional content they didn’t have before.
Bottom line: I have no problem recommending the Apple One Bundle.