Cupertino needs to do more than offer free Apple TV+ content post-virus

Apple Store logo
Apple Store logo (Image credit: iMore)

Apple has become the latest entertainment provider to offer free streaming content in the age of the novel coronavirus. Though the decision to make some of its Apple TV+ free isn't explicitly tied to the outbreak, Apple deserves kudos regardless. Perhaps other useful freebies or discounts will follow from the iPhone maker as the world soon begins pivoting away from the virus and hopes rise to restart the stalled international economy.

As first announced by TVLine earlier this week, Apple is removing the paywall to non-Apple TV+ subscribers for select series and specials. For families, this includes Helpsters, Ghostwriter, Snoopy in Space, and The Elephant Queen. Also free are the first seasons of Little America, Servant, For All Mankind, and Dickinson.

Apple's decision comes just days after HBO unlocked 500 hours of streaming video content to non-subscribers. Sling TV, CBS All-Access, and Amazon are also offering free video content, among other providers.

More is Needed

The limited removal of Apple's paywall, no doubt, is a great way to bring newbies to the 5-month-old premium video service. However, I'm sure Apple's primary goal was simply to be a good corporate neighbor in one of the weirdest times in human history.

With that being said, Apple is a public company first. Soon, it will face the inevitable task of offering high-quality, premium products during a time when more people are unemployed than at any time in the history of the company. For plow ahead successfully, Apple will need to do more than slash prices on iPhones.

One of the most creative companies in terms of products is going to have to bring that imagination to the financial side of the business or face significant problems, at least in the short-term.

New Thinking

Yes, this starts with discounting existing iPhones and perhaps delaying the launch of the iPhone 12 series beyond this fall. Apple should also rethink it's pricing on other products, especially those used in education.

Recently, the Pennsylvania governor announced that public schools won't re-open until this fall. As the father of a 13-year-old seventh grader, this means at-home education is here to stay. This means rather than waiting until Christmas to buy her a MacBook Air, I might decide to do it now. A nice price break would push me even more into that direction.

For creative students, Apple would be wise to heavily discount the price of the Apple Pencil or even make it free with any iPad purchase. There are millions of students under stay-at-home orders now; imagine the arts designs that are just waiting to get designed on a tablet.

One of the most creative companies in terms of products is going to have to bring that imagination to the financial side of the business or face significant problems

In addition to targeted price cuts on existing products, Apple could make an effort to introduce lower-priced items also. We've heard for months, for example, that the company plans on announcing a stripped-down version of the AirPods Pro and smaller HomePod. Where are they, Apple?

Thinking more long-term, Apple should rethink the hands-on customer instruction it has typically offered in retail stores. No doubt, even when the economy re-opens, many will decide to stay closer to home and avoid stores packed with customers. Moving Genius Bar online would fill an ongoing void.

We've all changed

Now is a challenging time for individuals and businesses alike, and I don't expect that to change any time soon. Apple, like other great companies, will figure out a way to adjust to this new world, while also sticking with what it knows.

As a forever Apple fan, I don't expect the company to become a discount house suddenly. At the same time, price cuts and less frilly products are probably going to be needed to keep even the most loyal customers happy and coming back.

What are your thoughts?

Offering free content from Apple TV+ is an important first step. I can't wait to see what Apple does from here. What say you? What plans would you like Apple to reveal as it makes it way post-virus? Let us know below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.