Apple Plans Paid Subscription Model for New AI-Powered Features

Apple is considering implementing paid subscriptions for its upcoming AI-powered features under the “Apple Intelligence” branding, mirroring its existing iCloud+ services. This move reportedly aims to create a new revenue stream for the company while enticing new customers and retaining existing ones. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman discussed this in his Power On newsletter, emphasizing that Apple has prioritized device longevity over significant hardware updates in recent years. By integrating advanced AI functionalities, in collaboration with OpenAI, and potentially placing them behind a paywall, Apple could drive hardware sales and generate additional income.

Revisiting Siri’s Impact

Gurman states that Apple’s revamped AI capabilities, including a more sophisticated Siri, will be a core part of the marketing strategy for the upcoming iPhone 16, much like the initial launch of Siri with the iPhone 4S boosted sales in 2011. Initially, the Apple Intelligence features might be available for free, with plans for a paid subscription service—Apple Intelligence+—to follow later. Despite the enthusiasm for generative AI, its actual usage among the general public remains relatively low, with only about one in fourteen adults in the U.S. using chatbots regularly. This implies that while AI integration might attract attention, the practical demand may not be as high.

Partnering for Progress

In the competitive landscape of generative AI, Apple remains undeterred by these statistics. The company is expected to partner with at least one more chatbot maker by the launch of Apple Intelligence. While Apple has expressed no interest in Meta’s Llama model, Google’s Gemini and Anthropic’s Claude are potential partners. There has also been some skepticism and hesitation among current iPhone users, who are already seeking ways to opt out of generative AI features. Overall, Apple’s strategic shift to monetize software through AI tools could diversify its revenue sources beyond hardware sales and software tweaks.

Future Impact

Apple is exploring the possibility of offering paid subscriptions for its forthcoming AI-powered features, to be branded under “Apple Intelligence.” This strategy is similar to its current iCloud+ services and is part of an effort to generate a new revenue stream while attracting fresh customers and maintaining the loyalty of existing ones. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who discussed this in his Power On newsletter, Apple has recently focused more on ensuring the longevity of its devices rather than making significant hardware updates. By incorporating advanced AI capabilities, potentially developed in partnership with OpenAI, and offering them as premium, subscription-based features, Apple aims to boost its hardware sales and supplement its income. This move would align with Apple’s broader strategy of expanding its services division, which has become an increasingly significant aspect of its overall business model in light of the growing interest in artificial intelligence and its applications.

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