When we all thought that last month’s “one more thing” event was really Apple’s last thing for the year, the Cupertino company surprised once again.
On December 8, the AirPod Max was unveiled, alongside details on the Fitness+ service. Both will be launched in time to make some splash in the 2020 holiday shopping season.
The long-awaited AirPods Max
The over-the-year headphone has been widely anticipated, even though some expected it to be called AirPods Studio. The AirPods Max has been described by Apple as “a perfect balance of exhilarating high-fidelity audio and the effortless magic of AirPods”.
The device is priced at a rich $549 and is available today for delivery in the US as soon as December 15 – although certain colors, like Sky Blue, currently have a shipping delay of up to 14 weeks. It will compete with Apple’s own Beats Studio3, which sells at roughly half of its new cousin’s intro price, and other products from more established peers, like Bose.
Apple’s home and wearable devices have become valuable recently, because of the “upsell factor”. The company spent most of the past decade and a half, building up its user base. Now, it can monetize on customer loyalty for the ecosystem.
On the services side, Apple had already announced connected fitness application Fitness+ in September. The price of about $10 per month or $80 per year was also know. Now, we have learned that the service can be purchased on December 14.
It is unclear how impactful Fitness+ will be to Apple’s financial results. When it comes to services, the company has had a spotty track record, with iCloud, Music and App Store being probably the only big winners so far.
The launch of Fitness+, however, underscores Apple’s focus on the ecosystem and the upsell opportunities. It may also help to increase demand for the top tiers in Apple One, the service bundle that was launched earlier this quarter.
In any case, Fitness+ may not be a game changer, but it will likely be accretive to a segment that has been doing well in the past several years.
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