Apple has unveiled an all-in-one monthly subscription in an attempt to put the tech giant squarely at the centre of people’s digital lives.
The “Apple One” subscription will charge up to £30 a month for a bundle of services such as Apple Music, iCloud and a newly-announced fitness programme, and is designed to boost revenues from outside its iPhone division.
It came as the company unveiled an Apple Watch with a blood oxygen sensor, saying it would work with researchers to investigate whether the wearable device could detect early signs of Covid-19.
Apple also unveiled several new versions of its iPad, sales of which have boomed as families have been stuck at home during the pandemic.
The string of announcements came during a virtual version of Apple’s September event, an annual affair in which the company typically unveils new iPhones.
The company has had to delay the release of its smartphone by several weeks, forcing it to focus on the supporting cast of products and services it is relying on to be its newer growth engines amid a mature mobile phone market.
Apple One is a subscription that bundles multiple services together, similar to Amazon’s Prime offering that includes delivery, video and online storage. It will cost a monthly £15 for a combination of Apple’s music streaming service, internet video, games and iCloud storage, with more expensive versions including its news and magazine subscription, as well as a newly-launched virtual fitness class offering.
Fitness Plus, which will connect to an Apple Watch to monitor heart rate and calories, will show workouts on a screen to let users follow along. It comes as gym closures and social distancing have seen a boom in online exercise classes from home.
The most expensive Apple One bundle, at £30 a month, compares to £52 if the services were all to be bought separately, and will be available in the coming weeks. The company has pushed heavily into digital services under its chief executive Tim Cook, and the division is now Apple’s second biggest after the iPhone.
The key feature of Apple’s latest watch, the Series 6, was a blood oxygen monitor that uses a series of sensors to measure light reflected off a wearer’s blood.
Blood oxygen levels are typically used as a measure of fitness and heart health, but the company said it would also investigate whether the indicator as well as the Apple Watch’s heart rate monitor, could be used to detect early signs of influenza and Covid-19.
It said it was working with Seattle’s Brotman Brady Institute for Precision Medicine and the University of Washington on the study.
Apple also launched a lower-cost smartwatch, expanding its range as it sought to make the Apple Watch a potential first device for children. The Apple Watch SE, the first time it has launched a cheaper watch alongside a new model, costs £269 compared to the £379 of its higher-end Series 6.
It came as Apple said children will be able to use the watch without an accompanying iPhone, with parents able to monitor their location and control with whom they are able to communicate.
The company announced cheaper and more powerful versions of its iPad tablet, with a new design that puts its fingerprint sensor in the power button. Sales of the iPad rose 31pc, the most of any of its products, in the three months to the end of June.