We pay by the month for almost everything these days, so why not pay by the month to use a Mac or an iPhone? In some ways, especially if you’re on the credit card merry-go-round, you’re already paying for everything by the month.
It may not be rent-to-own but it works that way. Apple has something similar to rent payments already. iPhone is rent-to-own with iPhone Upgrade Program. I use it. It’s pay by the month own. What about Apple Music?
Own vs. Rent
Color me a bit older than the average Apple Music listener. I have songs on my Mac’s iTunes app that date back to the Napster days, plus thousands more ripped from CDs, a few hundred more ripped by cassette tape and vinyl, but even those many thousands of songs pale in significance to the 40-million or so songs available for less than $10 a month* on Apple Music.
It’s not rent-to-own, though. Stop paying and you have to listen to your own collection of music in iTunes. I bring up this rent-to-own and rent-to-use trend because Pandora bit the bullet and copied Spotify and Apple Music. $15 a month family plan. It may be too little too late. Pandora has barely 5-million paying subscribers. Apple has over 50-million and is closing fast on industry leader Spotify which claims 75-million.
Still, you see the trend.
Already you can watch television via a subscription plan. Your cable television network has had if for years, but Google is in the game now, along with Sling TV, Hulu, Ntflix, HBO, Amazon, Playstation, and others. Streaming is the game, rental is the name.
Rent-a-Mac. Rent-an-iPad. Yes, a credit card purchase is already like rent-to-own. You own the Mac when you’re done paying the piper for making that advance payment to Apple, but what I’m talking about is Apple getting into the banking business beyond Apple Pay.
I want Apple to take the next step and go all in on pay-by-the-month. Apple could be your bank but will not be your bank because banking is messy. Banks are negative. Apple is positive. It’s that whole customer experience and Disneyesque ecosystem thing.
Yet, here we are with a growing trend of software as a service. Think application rentals, also called the subscription model. Pay for an app by the month or year. Microsoft does it. Adobe does it. Many, many applications on the iOS App Store and Mac App Store have gone subscription, and this trend will continue.
The popular 1Password password management app lets Mac users upgrade, but there is a monthly subscription model, too. This trend has legs and it is easier to implement on software than hardware. After all, software can be turned off, but it’s more difficult to repossess hardware when the user stops paying.
For the future, it’ll be software as a service. Pay by the month or by the year. But don’t expect hardware as a service unless it’s through your credit card.
Hmmm. Apple Pay credit card, anyone?