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iOS 13.5.5 beta code might’ve leaked Apple’s next major product push

Published Jun 4th, 2020 9:54AM EDT
iOS update
Image: Arcansel / Shutterstock

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  • Code in an iOS update has revealed that Apple seems to be getting closer to, or at least laying the groundwork for, a subscription mega-bundle, now that the iPhone maker offers a range of services like Apple Music and Apple News+
  • This kind of subscription product has been hinted at for a while now.
  • Code referring to the possible bundle was found in the iOS 13.5.5 beta that Apple released recently to developers.

Word had already trickled out about this possibility back in the fall, and now new code found in an iOS update makes it seem even likelier that Apple is preparing to do something that users of its myriad subscription products will surely appreciate — offer a kind of all-in-one, subscription mega-bundle. Where you could pay one monthly price, in other words, and get access to Apple services like Apple TV+ and Apple News+ that, as things stand now, cost you individual monthly rates for each.

Citing anonymous sources close to the talks, The Financial Times previously reported that Apple had already entered into discussions with music companies about some kind of all-inclusive subscription package ahead of the November 1 launch of Apple’s new Netflix-like subscription TV service. We’ve just passed the six-month mark since the launch of Apple TV+ (for which Apple is now buying older movies and TV shows, to give the service a library that makes it more valuable to subscribers) and MacRumors is reporting that code has been found in iOS 13.5.5 that suggests this kind of subscription package is now a little closer to reality than mere rumor.

Speculation about some kind of Apple Prime subscription (which is the unofficial name some people have been calling this idea, with a nod to Amazon’s Prime membership that includes a wide array of benefits) has suggested that it should at least include Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Music. Those currently cost $4.99/month, $9.99/month, and $9.99/month, respectively, which would suggest a bundle costing less than that roughly $25/month total.

From Apple’s point of view, there’s certainly untapped potential for cross-pollination across its different subscription offerings, as a recent tweet from Jaeden Martell, who stars in the Apple TV+ series Defending Jacob, makes clear:

Even so, all of this is not to suggest that such a bundle is necessarily a foregone conclusion. Record labels, for example, are reportedly skittish about the requisite deal term revisions that would no doubt have to be struck if Apple Music gets put into this bundle, which would change up the payout that’s generated from song streaming. Nevertheless, not all of Apple’s subscription services have been met with the same degree of enthusiasm from users, shall we say, so it would stand to reason that depending on how aggressively Apple prices a bundle like this, it might be less of an ask to encourage consumers to sign up for it rather than to try and convince those same consumers that they need another standalone news app or something like Apple TV+.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.