Technological advancements have brought massive change to humankind and more is on the way. Automation and productivity advancements have impacted the job market. How and where we spend our money today is different than just a generation or two before.
For example, my parents spent $10 a month for television and telephone. TV was free. The land line was about $10 a month. What do you pay for monthly internet access, your iPhone or smartphone, and cable TV? See? That’s a massive upheaval in just a few decades. More is coming.
Apple And Apps
There was a time in the not too distant past when my wife and I have a collection of music that date back a generation or two but included albums, 45-rpm records, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, Napster leftovers, and finally, iTunes music and media. Finally? Not quite. We have Apple Music and so entered the age of subscription pricing.
Many co-workers, neighbors, and some family members see the same model slowly making its way through our daily lives. iPhone Upgrade Program gets you a new iPhone every year or two with little more than monthly payments which also include Apple Care. A few years ago both Adobe and Microsoft entered subscription pricing with monthly and annual payments for Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office applications. Get the whole shebang for a monthly fee.
Ever trendy Apple has helped to push the application industry toward subscription pricing by building in such an option to both Mac App Store and iOS App Store. It used to be we could buy an app and use it forever. Then along came upgrade pricing, usually a discount on a new version with more features. Subscription pricing is more like a rental system. Pay to use an app and when you quit paying each month you can’t use the app any more.
Apple Music is subscription-based and is a very lucrative business. About $10 a month gets you access to more than 30-million songs. Use Apple Music for five years and you will have paid out $600; $10 a month, 12 months a year. Stop paying and you stop listening. Apple also sells Beats headphones, AirPod wireless earbuds, professional audio and video recording applications, and, coming soon, HomePod– a speaker system for the home. Apple loves music because there is money in music.
The trend toward subscription pricing for apps has taken off on both macOS and iOS. For example, the popular Ulysses writing app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone uses subscriptions. Ulysses is an excellent writing tool and you get access to all three versions– Mac, iPad, iPhone; they sync well and play nice-nice to each other. For $5 a month or $40 a year. Five years later and the price tag hits $200.
$10 a month can get you more than a single application. It can get you dozens of useful Mac applications, including Ulysses, thanks to the SetApp subscription service. Those dozens of Mac apps fall into nearly a dozen categories from Maintenance to Lifestyle, from Productivity to Creativity, from Finance to Writing. Many apps. One month price tag.
Not only is Apple’s own Apple Music a subscription-based model with tens of millions of subscribers, you can
buy rent-to-own an iPhone the same way thanks to the iPhone Upgrade Program. Select the iPhone you want, enter the program, pay by the month for 12 or 24 months. After 12 months you can re-subscribe and get a new iPhone. Or, at the end of 24 monthly payments, you own the iPhone.
This is the future, folks. Get used to it. Owning just isn’t what it once was.