For example, a Mac’s price usually is higher than a Windows PC. But the cost of owning even a less expensive PC can end up being higher than a Mac; add in resale value, time and money spent on virus and malware applications, etc. Plus, Windows PCs usually are priced about the same as comparable Macs. What about Apple’s add-on services?
Count The Numbers
Relative to competitors Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, Apple’s iCloud storage is exorbitant. Both price and cost– total cost of ownership– is more than the others. The difference in the fee could be made up by ubiquity– iCloud integrates into more applications on Mac and iOS than others.
What about iTunes and the new Apple Music? Can we separate price vs. cost? Perhaps, but let’s look at the price first. At $9.99 per month for unlimited downloads and streaming music, Apple Music does nothing except to perpetuate a subscription service pricing mechanism for the masses (in this case, Apple’s masses are 800-million iTunes account holders).
So, if $9.99 isn’t a value proposition, what is? The $14.99 family plan for up to six users. That starts to look good for any family (or friends; it’s doubtful Apple checks legal status) with a few members who want to take advantage of the 30-million songs in the iTunes Library and who listens to plenty of music.
There’s nothing lost and nothing gained by quitting Apple Music. Stop paying and you stop listening to the library but you can still listen to all the music you’ve recorded and saved on iTunes. $9.99 a month can buy nearly $120 of music per year, or almost $180 per year if you’re sharing music with others on the family plan.
Your mileage may vary of course, but I don’t spend $180 per year for music; perhaps slightly more than half of that, and most of that on tracks from iTunes Store. So, for a little more money each month, on average, our family can have access to over 30-million tracks to mix and match and store however we want. It all works. As long as we pay the monthly fee.
The only difference is what you get for what you pay. If you buy music, you keep it, and can share as you prefer. If you rent music by the month, you keep it as long as you pay, and the only penalty for non-payment is that the music stops playing. Start paying again and all the music flows to you again.
Therein lies why Apple Music seems a convoluted mess of features. If all streaming music subscription services have access to the same tens of millions of tracks, available to stream at roughly the same quality and monthly price, where’s the differentiation to Apple Music? There’s no real difference in cost or price, and there’s nominal difference between owning and renting (depending upon how much music you would normally buy during a year), so what does Apple bring to the table of music listeners that competitors do not?