In a new post today, Apple highlights a successful year for services. The tech giant has doubled down on this sector of its business in recent years with the introduction of various new products such as Apple Fitness+, Apple News+. Apple TV+, iCloud+, Apple Arcade and Apple Card. Apple enjoyed a large install base with extremely high rates of customer loyalty. And by focusing on useful services that offer high quality and good value, Apple has been able to capitalise on that install base.
“Apple’s world-class portfolio of services proved essential in 2021, as people worldwide sought new ways to keep entertained, informed, connected, and inspired,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services. “With over 745 million paid subscriptions, Apple continues to connect the world’s developers, artists, and storytellers with users across more than a billion devices, delivering powerful tools, content, and experiences that enrich their lives in profound ways every day.”Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of services
The App Store
Apple reports that over 600 million people every week on average access the App Store across 175 countries. Developers have now earned over $260 billion since the service launched in 2007. The store enjoyed double-digit growth over the festive period compared to 2020.
Apple has also published a list of the most downloaded Apps and Games on the App Store.
The catalogue of high-quality games increased to over 200 last year. All free from in-app purchases and advertisements. Many of the titles have won awards and include new editions such as remastered or reimagined versions of Crossy Road, Monument Valley, Cut The Rope, The Oregon Trail, Galaga Wars and countless more.
Music was a big focus for Apple in 2021. The company started to upgrade its music catalogue to lossless audio and now the vast majority of its 90 million+ catalogue of songs can be enjoyed in this format. And Apple also added support for Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos with dynamic head tracking. Other notable new features have included autoplay, lyrics sharing, motion cover art, improved search and support for Apple’s SharePlay technology. Apple Music has also been integrated into its photo memory feature.
Apple also rebranded its popular radio service (formerly Beats 1) to Apple Music Radio and launched a new, more affordable music plan called Apple Music Voice. For half the price of the standard subscription, you get full access to the Apple Music catalogue using Siri voice requests.
The video streaming service focuses on original content. And it seems to be paying off as it grew significantly over 2021. Apple TV+ content has now been nominated 763 times for awards and that includes 190 wins including Emmy Awards. And the service has expanded its offering of original content greatly over the last year with new films and shows such as “Invasion” and “Mosquito Coast”.
Apple has also expanded the number of places you can access TV+ by integrating the TV app into lots of third party platforms. Various TV’s in addition to games consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X can now access the Apple TV app and by extension, Apple TV+.
Just today Apple introduced new features to its popular home fitness service. This includes curated workout collections with featured playlists. And ‘Time to Run’ that offers guided running workouts featuring famous guests. The service now boasts 2000+ 4K UHD workouts across 11 categories, “HIIT, Strength, Core, Yoga, Pilates, Dance, Cycling, Rowing, Treadmill (for running and walking), and Mindful Cooldown — with new content added each week.”
Apple New+ was the number one news app in all countries and markets that it was available over 2021. And the service was expanded last year with local news in certain cities. While this is also available to free users of the service, for paid users hundreds of exclusive stories and narrated audio content were made available across the year.
Apple Podcasts saw a major redesign with built-in support for paid subscriptions. The feature enables creators to share paid content. Premium content and additional features have also been added in the past 12 months such as early access, additional episodes and advert free listening.
The store now has a library of over 8 million books and audiobooks. And over 100 million customers use the service every month. Last year the app was redesigned for the Mac and new search features were added to iOS and iPadOS. Now a new Audiobook store has been added with $9.99 collections.
Apple received the JD power award in the U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. And Apple continued to innovate in the credit card space with Apple Card Family. Using their Family Sharing feature, it enables the card to be shared with up to five people. And furthermore two people can share and merge their credit lines.
Apple Pay launched in more countries and is now available in 60 worldwide with almost 9000 partnering banks. And Apple expanded the capability of Apple Wallet with the ability to store vaccination status cards and health insurance certificates. Apple also began to add support for driving licenses and government-issued ID’s in 2021 with the feature expected in many more places over 2022.
Various new features were introduced to iCloud in 2021 with the arrival of iCloud+. Features such as Hide my Email, Private Relay and Custom email domains have been made available to users that already pay for additional iCloud storage.
It was a big year for Apple’s services business. Countless new milestones and features were added to its entire portfolio across the year. No doubt this will result in a particularly healthy bottom line when Apple announces its Q1 results later this month.