How Many Subscriptions Can You Handle?

It's the question every company is racing to answer.

Apple Holds Product Launch Event In Cupertino
Michael ShortGetty Images

Today, at a star-studded event in Cupertino that featured no hardware or gadgets at all, Apple spilled the details on its new suite of products. The new services run the gamut from TV to news to gaming, but one question connects them all: Just how many subscriptions are you willing to pay for?

Apple News+ will pull some 300 hundred magazines into the Apple News, with their print articles reworked to make use of the more versatile digital form. Apple Arcade takes a page from promotions like Sony's PlayStation Now and Microsoft's Xbox Games Pass: It will give you access to more than one hundred games for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV published by Apple itself. Apple TV Plus promises a bundle of new shows attached to names like Oprah and Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, the product of billions of dollars of Apple's investment into original content.

All of them, of course, will cost you a monthly fee. Apple News Plus is $10 per month, while Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus still have no official price, so potentially higher.

Subscription services are nothing new, and yet they're suddenly all the rage. The halcyon days of cord-cutting as a potential alternative to pricey cable packages spawned dozens of streaming services over the years, from old-heads like Netflix that kickstarted the trend to aging giants like CBS that also want in on the action.

But while Apple isn't inventing the strategy, it is offering a unique value for your money: Privacy. Unlike Facebook, Apple News+ doesn't track what you read or sell you out to advertisers. Whereas Google's Stadia gaming service announced last week is tied very explicitly into the potential for interactive YouTube ads, Apple Arcade doesn't care about your gaming habits or share them with publishers. As a company that traffics in hardware (and now, it seems, subscription services) instead of ads, Apple is uniquely incentivized and able to protect your privacy.

Despite what Apple might be able to offer in terms of either privacy or exclusive content, though, the company can't avoid the problem that's beginning to loom over the tech-entertainment complex. The proliferation of paid subscription services is building to a fever pitch. At some point, no exclusive show you don't actually have time to watch is going to be enough to coax you into yet another recurring monthly fee.

Until we reach that point, the tech industry is going to keep asking us: Well, how about just one more?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Apps