Apple Vaguely Claims a Services Bonanza

Posted on January 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Cloud, Games, Mobile, iOS, Mac and macOS, iPadOS, Apple TV+ with 21 Comments

Apple today said that its Services business grew dramatically in 2019, but it offered little in the way of hard numbers.

“2019 was the biggest year for Services in Apple’s history,” Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue said in a prepared statement. “We introduced several exciting new experiences for our customers, all while setting the standard for user privacy and security. We begin the new decade with incredible momentum and gratitude to our customers who have shown such enthusiasm for all of our Services, and we continue to celebrate the work of the world’s best creators, storytellers, journalists, and developers.”

Here’s are the cherry-picked milestones that Apple provided. There’s not much here, frankly.

App Store. Over half a billion people visit the Appe Store each week, Apple says. Customers spent a record $1.42 billion between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a 16 percent increase over the previous year, and $386 million on New Year’s Day 2020 alone, a 20 percent increase and a new single-day record.

Apple Music. Apple provided no growth claims or hard numbers for its Spotify alternative.

Apple TV+. Apple TV+ “is the first and only streaming service to debut instantly in over 100 countries and regions.” So there you go: More countries than content.

Apple Arcade. Apple’s new gaming service now offers over 100 new, exclusive games, and the firm says that the service will add new games and expansions every month.

Apple News. This is the big surprise, given the lack of quality and the fact that no one reads any more: Apple says that News has “over 100 million monthly active users in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.” Somehow.

Apple Podcasts. Apple’s podcast service now offers over 800,000 shows in 155 countries. None of which are exclusive to Apple.

Apple Card and Apple Pay. Apple expanded its Pay service with a new credit card last year, and Apple said little else about it.

Apple iCloud. Over 75 percent of iCloud users are now protected with two-factor authentication, Apple says.

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Comments (21)

21 responses to “Apple Vaguely Claims a Services Bonanza”

  1. bhatech

    Did they claim 100 million active users for the Apple News+ subscription or just the Apple news app? Big difference since the former is paid monthly subscription inside Apple news app which is installed default on every iPhone and has lots of good free news content.

  2. helix2301

    I say this about Apple News I use it and love the app read my news on it everyday but I don't subscribe to it so how many of those 100 million users pay for the monthly service where Apple makes money.

    • captobie

      In reply to helix2301:

      I'm currently a "subscriber", taking advantage of the three month free trial they offered on Black Friday. I doubt I'll pay for it when the trial ends, but I'll definitely keep using the app.

    • Paul Thurrott

      I use Apple News every day as well. It's no better than the other news aggregators. I see all kinds of house ad faux posts making their way to the service (like a site like Mashable advertising some low-cost "learn this skill now" bundle.) This speaks badly of the supposed human curation there.
      • ivarh

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        I started paying for apple news for around 6 months but my problem Was that after a while a large amount of the news headlines they showed me pointed to paywalls. Since I am not a big magazine reader i saw no point in paying them. I thought the whole point was that they entered into a deal with news providers so that anews+ subscribers would have direct access to the articles they were presented. Now I hardly use the app.

  3. ejuly

    The issue with techies (especially those under 35) is that they do not understand (or care) about history.

    Amazon's Kindle e-book reader will fail, Steve Jobs says, because Americans simply don't read. From The New York Times:

    “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

  4. RobertJasiek

    Eddy Cue is a lier when claiming that Apple services would set the standard for user privacy and security:

    • iTunes on Windows creates a security risk by integrating itself as three Windows system services and acts as malware when attempting to connect to Apple servers without first asking the user for permission.
    • The license agreements violate EU / German laws when pretending to allow Apple to log the device user's music meta information.
    • Apple needed months before complying with the EU court's Safe Harbour judgement.
  5. Chris_Kez

    A 16% increase in App Store revenue during that last week of the year seems pretty good; but yeah, the rest of it doesn't really tell us anything.

  6. brduffy

    "...given the lack of quality and the fact that no one reads any more..."

    Maybe few people read newspaper but plenty of people read the news in digital format on whatever device they use. In fact, one of my biggest pet peeves is closing video players that popup automatically on news sites.

    • Daekar

      In reply to brduffy:

      Oh Dear God, this. I came to your site to read. I don't WANT a flipping video. What takes you several minutes, lots of production time, and the volume un-muted on my phone or PC can be done in 25% of the time without making any noise and with much lower production time/cost by just writing a flipping article.

  7. thalter

    Apple TV+ has some decent content (outstanding, in the case of The Morning Show). That said, I know of no one that actually pays money for this service.

    Everyone I know with a subscription only has it because of a recent purchase of an Apple device. (Maybe that is the point. I don't know).

    • ejuly

      In reply to thalter:

      "Apple TV+ has some decent content (outstanding, in the case of The Morning Show)."

      ha, ha, ha, ha. So does Pluto and they are free with more original content.

  8. lvthunder

    The App Store brought in $1.42 billion in one week. Wow that's huge. I mean look at the average selling price of an app. That's a lot of sales going on.

  9. Pbike908

    As a Windows 10 and Android user (and a former Iphone user) one can't argue with the total INTEGRATED solution that Apple offers -- Imessage and Facetime for starters. Plus if one is inclined to use a tablet -- and I think tablets have a place -- the Ipad BLOWS away Android tablets.

    I am also frustrated with the endless Windows 10 upgrade process. The current release runs infinitely better than the prior version on my laptop, but who knows what the next update will bring.

    I am growing frustrated by the scaling issues with Android apps -- inconsistent EVERYWHERE especially on tablets. Frustrated with using my Spotify app on my Galaxy S8 -- it routinely stops playing and Spotify is AWARE of the problem yet refuses to fix it. I am getting fed up with lack of timely Android updates not to mention Samsung only provides 2 years of updates for Galaxy S devices, and more.

    What can I say -- I am thinking seriously about going all in with Apple! Their hardware is WAY MORE price competitive than it used to be.

    • disco_larry

      In reply to Pbike908:

      agreed on the tablets. I had an iPad 3, but after breaking the glass twice, I decided to fork over $50 on sale for an Amazon Fire HD tablet. I figured it would be decent for browsing the web, and I wouldn't be concerned over breaking it or leaving it on a plane.

      But this Christmas I found the iPad Air 3 on sale for $400 (same I paid for my original one back in 2012) and bit. I'm so much happier. The Fire HD had so little RAM and CPU that it effectively is a useless tablet if you browse to a website with ads. So essentially the entire Internet was off-limits. Even at $50, the Fire HD is not worth it.

    • LocalPCGuy

      In reply to Pbike908:

      iPads are indeed reasonably priced, have a great display, and are dramatically superior to Android tablets. Apple laptop and desktop computers, not so much. macOS hardware, with the exception of their now extinct butterfly keyboard are not very price competitive, when it comes to performance.

  10. ivarh

    I have worked with supporting unix users (HP/UX, Solaris, AIX, and later Linux) since the beginning of the 90’s. This made me try one of the lamp shade imac’s back in 2004 and I have stayed with apple since. When they ported to intel I replaced my work issued windows based laptop with a macbook pro running windows in parallels so I can get the convinience of running on real unix and still have access to full performance windows for the really old legacy win32 apps still used today) I have never wanted to go back to a windows pc. 4 Years ago the company I worked for merged with dell and these days I have to hide my macbook but my virtual work image still works. Since most of the newer apps are web based and most new apps these days also come in mac versions the only thing I have to do in my VM is timetracking and email.

    Using a iphone and a apple watch allows my pc (macbook) to auto lock when I leave my desk and open by a keypress when I am back. This feature alone prevents me from trying a android phone/watch since the password unlock integration is not there and that function is one of the features you had no idea you wanted but once you got it you never want to let it go.

    I realize that I am not representative for normal PC users as I work with unix systems support on a daily basis and working on a unix plattform myself makes things a lot easier. If Apple decide to leave x64 cpus for their arm cpus I fear for my fututre use of them as emulation is no replacement for the real instructionset when it comes to running other intel based operating systems.