Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt:
The company had just passed a milestone—1 billion devices in active use—and CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri took turns encouraging analysts to imagine how much money those customers may someday spend each quarter to pay for Apple services and devices.
“It’s an unbelievable asset for us,” Cook gushed, happy to be discussing something other than slowing iPhone sales growth.
Of course, Apple AAPL -1.95% already sells several services by the month, and starting last September it began selling iPhones that way too. For starters:
- iCloud storage ($0.99-$9.99/month)
- iTunes Match ($24.99/year, $2.08/month)
- Apple Music ($9.99-$14.99/month)
- iPhone Upgrade Program ($32-$45/month)
- Coming soon? TV Streaming (?? per month)
It’s not hard to imagine the company bundling these things together and selling a package of hardware, software, and cloud services for, say, $100 a month. With a billion devices out there and 800 million credit cards on file, you can do the math.
Monthification as a strategy is one Adobe has pedaled to the metal with Creative Cloud — quite successfully. Apple has dipped a toe in these waters with the iPhone Upgrade Program, but thus far the uptake has been, well — let's just say slow for now. Still, with Cook and Maestri's encouragement, it's not hard to see how bundling could quicken that pace.