Apple’s bundled subscription service Apple One has gone live in India, at a much lower price than the service’s US pricing. Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade (the on-demand game app service), and iCloud storage are being bundled for individual subscribers at ₹195 per month, and ₹365 per month in India, as the company had announced earlier. In the US, Apple One costs US$15–20 per month, which is over five times the rate in India. Apple One does not include Apple Fitness+ and Apple News+ in India, as neither service is available in the country.
The launch is significant for two reasons: one is, of course, the price, which is so low it almost seems to be subsidised by Apple One sales in other territories (much like YouTube Premium), and the second is the way it leverages Apple’s marketplace dynamics towards itself. Apple can afford two things its competitors cannot: pricing efficiencies in bundling, and an (obvious) exemption from having to pay a 30% fee on the App Store.
Estimating Apple One revenue for India
With these dynamics, how much can Apple One earn in India?
Let’s go with the best case scenario: Apple convinces every single iPhone user in India — which techARC chief analyst Faisal Kawoosa estimates to stand somewhere around 12 million — to subscribe to Apple One. Even if they pull that off, Apple will have two headwinds: one is the 18% Goods and Services Tax and the 2% equalisation levy that it charges on digital purchases. A sixth of the subscription revenue earned goes to the government. The second is the fact that many subscribers will go for a family subscription, driving down average revenue per user.
After taxes, Apple only gets around ₹162 to ₹304 every month for each subscription. Depending on how many devices are covered under each subscription, let’s consider that Apple’s revenue per purchase comes out to around ₹150 (remember, best case scenario). With all the fantastic assumptions we have made so far, Apple would make a maximum of ₹180 crore per month from Indian subscribers, or ₹2,160 crore per year. That might sound like a lot, but it translates to less than US$300 million annually (at current exchange rates) for a company with quarterly profits exceeding US$50 billion.
Of course, Apple is not likely to sign up every user in India to Apple One, nor is it likely to make the sums of money estimated above anytime soon. There’s also the fact that services like Apple Music and Apple TV+ are simply given for free for months on end for Apple device owners. All this goes to say that India is getting an extended free trial of Apple’s services as the company focuses on selling hardware and establishing its device ecosystem in the country, before asking Indians for a substantial sum of money for what is objectively a bundle of services worth a whole lot more. Of course, users here are not likely to go out on the streets celebrating low Apple One prices — India is, after all, the costliest country to buy an iPhone.
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