Archive for October 26, 2023

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Apple Services Price Hikes

Joe Rossignol (Hacker News):

The price changes in the U.S. are as follows:

  • Apple TV+: $6.99 per month → $9.99 per month
  • Apple Arcade: $4.99 per month → $6.99 per month
  • Apple News+: $9.99 per month → $12.99 per month


In the U.S., these are the first-ever price increases for Apple Arcade and Apple News+ since the services launched in November 2019, while Apple TV+ had its first price increase from $4.99 per month to $6.99 per month in October 2022.

Dan Moren:

This increase really shouldn’t come as a surprise: Disney+, Hulu, Netflix—almost every major streaming service has raised their prices over the last year. In some cases, this is to compensate for lost revenue from customers canceling cable packages where older more conventional networks and studios used to bring in money for selling their shows.


This is the second price hike for Apple TV+, which debuted at a $4.99 monthly price (free for several months in many cases)—with a rather paltry library of content—before subsequently rising to $6.99 a year ago. Apple’s built up its TV+ content substantially since launch, and the company seems to be making the argument that all of that new material is worth more money.


I do have to raise an eyebrow at the increased costs for both Apple Arcade and Apple News+. Neither of these services seem to have been blockbuster hits for the company, and perhaps Apple’s decided it’s not just going to make it up in volume.

John Gruber:

Subscription pricing requires a form of calculus to find the sweet spot that generates the most money. Set the price too low and you’ll reduce piracy but leave money on the table. Set the price too high and you’ll generate less money because more users — ones who might otherwise have subscribed at a lower price — will choose to bootleg. (Some people, of course, will always choose to bootleg. There’s no point trying to find a price to appease them.)

But pricing isn’t the only factor in this equation. The experience is too. Bootlegging’s obvious appeal is the price: zero. But it’s always been a bit of a pain in the ass. Weird apps and sketchy sources. Steve Jobs emphasized this aspect of the iTunes Music Store when he introduced it: 99 cents was an appealing price, but not as appealing as free. But the overall experience of searching for and downloading music from iTunes was so much better than bootlegging that it made you happy to pay for the songs.

Apple still gets that part: their apps for consuming their services are generally very low on annoyances. You almost never have to sign back in because your previous sign-in expired.

That’s a pretty low bar. I contend that the overall Apple TV experience is just not good these days. It’s so frustrating to navigate and search, and it doesn’t handle state well. It’s nothing like the breath of fresh air that iTunes was. I don’t want to be a pirate, and I don’t want to run a Plex server, but it’s tempting to explore that world because the supposedly premium interface is so obnoxious.

And, as Gruber says, with Apple News+ you are paying for something that’s worse than the Web.

Juli Clover:

In the United States, the price of the Basic [Netflix] plan will increase from $9.99 to $11.99 per month, while the price of the Premium plan will increase from $19.99 to $22.99 per month. The ad-supported tier price will remain the same at $6.99 per month, as will the $15.49/month Standard plan.

Netflix no longer offers the Basic plan to new subscribers in the United States, but prices will presumably increase for existing subscribers.


Update (2023-10-30): Ernesto Van der Sar (via Hacker News):

Blocking pirate sites is widely believed to reduce the number of visits to the targeted domains. However, new research based on data provided by WIPO and funded by the Republic of Korea, suggests that’s not always the case. Roughly a quarter of all domains for which data was available received more visits after they were blocked.

Update (2023-12-12): Adam Chandler:

I’ve listed today’s published costs of what these services cost if you were to sign up for each one individually.

If I were paying for these streaming services every single month, the total cost is $175.49 or $2100 a year. This is more than any cable package I’ve ever had.

Update (2023-12-29): Joe Rosensteel:

Yesterday people seem to be completely shocked by the email they received from Amazon that Prime Video was going to include ads by default, unless subscribers paid an additional sum. This news was from months ago, and I mentioned it here on this blog too.


The only move you have to protest Prime Video’s inclusion of ads, is to cancel Prime (you won’t do that) or to stop using Prime Video “to send a message” (they don’t care).


People are still completely oblivious to why any of the subscription fees are going up. They were too low. They were financed by investors that prioritized growth, when investment money was basically free.


Also, people seem to have this opinion that other companies don’t have ads, so Amazon is a second-rate streamer (whatever that means), but they all have ad-supported tiers, except Apple TV+, and that’s just a matter of time.

Update (2024-02-16): Todd Spangler (via Hacker News):

A lawsuit seeking class-action status accused Amazon of false advertising and deceptive practices because Prime Video now serves commercials by default.

They started the ads within the membership year of people who had signed up before there were ads.

macOS 13.6.1 and macOS 12.7.1

Apple (full installer):

This document describes the security content of macOS Ventura 13.6.1.

Apple (full installer):

This document describes the security content of macOS Monterey 12.7.1.


macOS 14.1

Juli Clover (release notes, security, developer, enterprise, full installer, IPSW):

With macOS Sonoma 14.1, Apple has added a new warranty section that lets you see the AppleCare+ status of your Mac and connected AirPods, plus there are now options to favorite songs, albums, and playlists in the Apple Music app.

See also: Mr. Macintosh and Howard Oakley.

Apple (via Rosyna Keller):

Starting in macOS Sonoma 14.1, cameras and video output devices that don’t use modern system extensions won’t be available to use unless you restore the legacy settings.


Update (2023-11-22): Howard Oakley:

This article explains what has happened, and what you can do to retain use of your camera.

watchOS 10.1

Juli Clover (release notes, security, developer):

There are several new Apple Watch features enabled in watchOS 10.1, including NameDrop. NameDrop lets you tap an Apple Watch to another Apple Watch or iPhone to exchange contact information with someone.


Along with these two features, there are a handful of bug fixes, including an issue that could cause cities not to sync in the Weather app and a bug that could cause the elevation to be incorrect for some users.


The new double tap gesture for Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available today with watchOS 10.1, bringing a fast and convenient new way to interact with Apple Watch.

Juli Clover:

Using Double Tap requires you to tap your thumb and index finger together twice, and when you do this, you’ll see a little icon on the Apple Watch to let you know that the tap was recognized. Double Tap uses the sensors in the Apple Watch to detect minute movements and blood flow when the fingers are positioned in a certain way.

There are a number of things you can do with Double Tap, and Apple has made it work with some of the most common actions that you might need to perform with one hand.

John Gruber:

It’s a good feature, but it’s not nearly as useful — yet? — as I was hoping. The one thing you have to get used to is that the watch only listens for the double tap gesture when the display is fully-on. You need to tilt your wrist to look at your watch before double tapping.

Benjamin Mayo:

watchOS App Store is not exactly thriving … but what an indictment of its health that Double Tap is not supported in third-party watch apps at all. It’s not even teased as a coming soon API.


tvOS 17.1

Juli Clover (developer, security):

The Enhance Dialogue feature first announced in tvOS 17 for the second-generation HomePod has expanded to the original HomePod and the HomePod mini in tvOS 17.1, though the HomePods will also need the HomePod 17.1 software that came out today.

tvOS 17.1 also includes a new favoriting option in the Music app on the Apple TV, along with some other minor Music changes.

Benjamin Mayo:

Apps that integrate with TV app now get a standalone section, which is actually a nice feature change. Before it was just Channels that got that. Otherwise, new sidebar is only noticeable change.


iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1

Juli Clover (release notes, security, developer):

In the new updates, Apple has added support for continuing a large AirDrop file transfer over the internet when out of AirDrop range. The Apple Music app includes options to favorite songs, albums, and playlists, and there are now song suggestions at the end of every playlist.


Though not mentioned in the notes, Apple says the update “fixes” iPhone 12 radiation levels in France by disabling a feature that boosts cellular signal when the iPhone is not held by a person, and it improves Screen Time syncing across devices. There are several bug fixes, with iOS 17.1 addressing an issue that could cause display image persistence and a bug that could cause the Significant Location setting to reset when transferring or pairing an Apple Watch for the first time.

Juli Clover:

While Apple outlined some of the major new additions in its release notes, there are also several hidden features that were not mentioned.