Let’s face it. Times are changing. Way back in the day family members gathered around a radio to hear news and entertainment from afar. Television kept family members together awhile longer as eyes stared nightly into that glowing tube.
Times change and how we spend our money and our time have become more intertwined; a masterful dance of commercialism which blends wants, needs, and spendable disposable income into a rich song of monthly payments on a treadmill of endless upgrades. Today we pay for music by the month, apps by the month, smartphones by the month, and now it’s time to rent our iPads and Macs much the same way.
Credit vs. Subscription
In a capitalist society everyone is out to get your money, and everyone wants a share of what you may still have, though many of us have more month left over at the end of our money. If we buy what we want and need, we could pay by credit and then pay the credit card company. How quaint.
Today we’re on the cusp of a new era; monthly subscriptions. Apple Music, iPhone Upgrade Program, cell phone company incentives and plans. Even apps for our Macs and iPhones and iPad have reached the subscription era. Pay for Apple Music and listen to any of 3-million songs. Stop paying and the music stops playing.
Pay for iPhone and Mac apps and use the app as long as you want. Stop paying and the app may stop, or at best, never be upgraded again until the bounty is paid.
It’s easy to see why businesses love leasing equipment. It’s easy to budget and the payment is treated as an expense. Isn’t that exactly what is happening with Apple Music, iPhone Upgrade Program, application subscriptions?
Why not the Mac?
Maybe I should pause to point out the issues with terminology. Apple Music is a subscription plan. iPhone Upgrade Program is more of a lease-to-own system. Application subscriptions are more like rent to use system. If Apple can see the handwriting on the wall, I would like to have a new Mac every couple of years, so a lease-to-own system similar to the iPhone Upgrade Program makes sense. Businesses would love it, of course. Certainly students would appreciate the option.
Regardless, there is little to prohibit Apple from moving forward in two directions. Lease-to-own a Mac. And Rent-to-use-Services, more like the traditional music or app subscriptions that are growing throughout the marketplace.
Apple has about 1-billion customers and nearly that many credit card accounts. There are many hundreds of millions of iPhone users, tens of millions of iTunes users, and many millions of Apple Music subscribers. Services are now Apple’s fastest growing business segment, and profits now run into the billions per year.
One very obvious method to keep Apple’s customers within the fold, members of the ecosystem, is to make it easy to buy and use and upgrade products, and more difficult to leave and become a member of a competitor’s customer base.
It’s time for Apple to add a lease-to-own option for the Mac, so it joins subscription music, iPhone upgrade program, and the new app subscription plans.
After all, a modern life is only modern if we pay by the month.