Apple officially announced earlier this week that it will be holding a big media event this coming Tuesday, and while most initially assumed that it would be to announce the company’s entire fall product and service lineup — since that’s what it usually does — subsequent reports suggested that it might be mostly about the Apple Watch, with a separate iPhone event still to come in October.
If true, this makes a fair bit of sense. Since Apple is now holding virtual events rather than physical ones, it’s a lot less effort to split up its product announcements into multiple events, and there’s really no reason for it to pack everything into a single session, especially when the new iPhone isn’t expected to be released until at least October.
However, it’s also going to be pretty tricky to fill a whole event with nothing but the Apple Watch.
Some have speculated that the scheduled two-hour time frame still means that Apple has to announce everything, including the iPhone, but in reality just because Apple has scheduled a two-hour window for the event doesn’t mean that it’s actually going to use the whole time.
Many of Apple’s prior “two-hour events” that were conducted in front of live audiences have barely lasted 90 minutes.
Still, there’s got to more coming than just an Apple Watch. While the “Time Flies” tagline on the event invite would seem to indicate that the wearable will headline the event, there are also rumours that at least one new iPad is ready to go — possibly the fabled 11-inch iPad Air — and then of course there’s Apple’s AirTags, which are reportedly already in production, as well as the new “AirPods Studio” on-ear headphones which reports suggested were ready to go months ago.
While all of that is still up in the air, however, there’s one new announcement that’s already slipped out, and in a really amusing turn of events, the leak not only comes directly from Apple itself, but it comes via the Android platform.
There have been rumours since last year that Apple has been working on a way to bundle its collection of digital services — Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and Apple News+ — into a single bundle. In fact, this is something we expected from the very beginning.
By all reports, however, the idea has met with resistance from the music industry, which has slowed down Apple’s plans, although it appears that it may have decided to forge ahead without the music labels’ support.
Last month a report broke from Bloomberg suggesting that Apple’s digital services bundles were around the corner, and providing some insight into what they could look like, along with a potential name: Apple One.
While we were a bit skeptical of the name, since it would sound like a copy of Google’s “Google One” cloud service, it not only looks like this is the name Apple is going to go with, but also that the bundle is finally ready to go live, and will likely form part of next Tuesday’s announcements.
These Are the Droids You’re Looking For
The news of this actually comes from an unusual place: in the most recent update to Apple’s Music app for the Android platform, 9to5Google discovered that Apple actually has added code directly referencing the new “Apple One” bundle.
While the user-facing app doesn’t actually provide any indications of this (yet), the code monkeys at 9to5Google dug through the “APK” (the term for the package file that contains an Android app) and found several references to the new service, including strings like “Included in Apple One” and “Subscription Bundle.”
Perhaps the most telling piece of all was the phrase “Your Apple Music subscription will be included in Apple One starting %s. You will not be charged for both subscriptions.” This reveals both that Apple Music will not overlap with an Apple One subscription and that users will seamlessly be able to switch from one to the other.
Despite the code being found in the Android Apple Music app, however, it does look like Android users will still need to visit an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac to actually manage their Apple One subscription.
Unfortunately, the code doesn’t offer up much more than simply confirming the existence of the bundle, and its name. However, that’s big news by itself, since it matches up with the earlier Bloomberg report, along with timing that suggests that we will be hearing more about it on Tuesday.
That said, there will obviously still be a few surprises. We don’t know yet what it’s going to cost, which services will be bundled, or even whether there will be more than one tier. The Bloomberg report last month suggested that several tiers could be available, ranging from a basic bundle that combines only Apple Music and Apple TV+ all the way up to a high-end package even including a new Peloton-like fitness service. However, Bloomberg was also careful to note that its information came from preliminary discussions, so Apple was still likely spitballing at the time to figure out what would work.