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It’s only two days until Apple’s highly anticipated Apple TV+ streaming service launches, and now Apple has just announced its first service bundle, and it sounds like a great deal — if you’re a student, that is.
Apple has been offering discounted Apple Music subscriptions to students for a few years already, allowing college and university students to sign up for the music service at $4.99 — half the normal price of an individual plan. In a surprise announcement, however, Apple has just announced that students who subscribe to Apple Music will get Apple TV+ included at no extra charge.
In another interesting twist, the bundle deal was first revealed by Hailee Steinfeld, the star of Apple’s new Dickinson TV series, in a story on her Instagram account, and later shared more widely by Apple’s official Apple TV+ Instagram account.
Steinfeld didn’t have much to offer in the way of specifics, but simply revealed that Apple Music student subscribers would be able to access Apple TV+ “for free” when the service launches on Friday, but this could be a limited-time offer rather than a permanent deal.
It’s also worth noting that a normal Apple TV+ subscription includes support for Family Sharing — allowing up to five other family members to access the same content through their own Apple IDs. It’s unclear whether this bundled student deal would provide the same capabilities, especially since the corresponding Apple Music plan is only for a single user.
Then again, since Apple owns, rather than licenses, content on its Apple TV+ service, it’s not hampered by its deals with the music industry in the way that it is with Apple Music, which is the only one of Apple’s services that actually costs more for Family Sharing; Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+ all offer support for up to six family members for the normal price.
Still, even if it only works for a single user, it’s a fantastic deal for students, since they’re either getting Apple TV+ for free with an Apple Music subscription, or Apple Music for free with an Apple TV+ subscription, depending on how you look at it.
Apple also undoubtedly hopes that this will help to draw more students away from rival services like Spotify, which offers its own student plan for the same price, but clearly has no other services that it can bundle in to sweeten the deal.
Bundles for Everyone?
Sadly, Apple is not yet offering a bundle for everyone else, which seems even more unusual considering that Apple Music subscriptions are double or triple the price for non-students. However, we’ve heard reports that Apple is in talks with the music industry about offering a “super bundle” that would at least include Apple TV+ alongside Apple Music, but it’s struggling to get the labels on board.
At this point, it seems likely that what Apple is actually doing with this new student bundle is giving away Apple TV+ completely for free — just like it’s doing for users who are purchasing a qualifying Apple device — since it still needs to collect its $4.99/month from Apple Music to be able to pay royalties to the music labels. Again, this is another advantage of Apple owning all of the pieces of its Apple TV+ service, since it’s beholden to nobody but itself (and its shareholders) when it comes to pricing.
Ultimately, though, it seems clear that Apple’s goal for the debut of Apple TV+ is to get as many eyeballs onto its service as it possibly can, with making a profit from subscribers being secondary, for now at least. Offering the service to students is likely both seen as a way to create buzz among a generation of younger viewers, as well as a longer-term play to build a loyal audience for the future.
Apple TV+ launches this Friday, November 1 and will feature a staple of eight high-profile shows right out of the gate, including the Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon led The Morning Show, the epic fantasy See starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, and the Ronald D. Moore revisionist history drama For All Mankind. The service will be priced at $4.99/month with a one-week free trial, although users who have purchased any new iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, or iPod touch after September 10 will receive their first year of access to the service for free.