Higher Prices for Apple Services and “Other” OS Updates

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Apple hikes the price on some services, a look at other OS updates from Apple, and USB-C will charge ‘em all … eventually …

Prices Going Up on Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple One

Wasn’t it just yesterday that Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani said that Apple would eventually raise the price of Apple TV+, but it would need more content first? Never mind, I guess. The iPhone maker’s streaming entertainment services are going up in price. 9to5Mac wrote up the changes on Monday. According to that:

The Apple Music monthly price has been upped by ~$1 for individuals and ~$2 for families. Apple TV+ is rising by $2 (which only has one tier and supports Family Sharing on all plans). Apple One is also going up by approximately $3 per month.

Running down (or up) the prices:

Your Apple Music Subscription

  • Individual: $10.99 per month (from $9.99)
  • Family: $16.99 per month (from $14.99)
  • Individual Annual: $109 per year (from $99)

Apple TV+

  • Monthly: $6.99 per month (from $4.99)
  • Annual: $69 per year (from $49.99)

Apple One

  • Individual: $16.95 per month (from $14.95)
  • Family: $22.95 per month (from $19.95)
  • Premier: $32.95 per month (from $29.95)

Cupertino offers a couple of explanations. On the music side, they seem to say it’s not them. On the TV side, it’s like a Fatboy Slim song — because they can can can. 9to5Mac has an Apple spokesperson saying:

The subscription prices for Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple One will increase beginning today. The change to Apple Music is due to an increase in licensing costs, and in turn, artists and songwriters will earn more for the streaming of their music. We also continue to add innovative features that make Apple Music the world’s best listening experience. We introduced Apple TV+ at a very low price because we started with just a few shows and movies. Three years later, Apple TV+ is home to an extensive selection of award-winning and broadly acclaimed series, feature films, documentaries, and kids and family entertainment from the world’s most creative storytellers.

While Apple says the cost increases are effective today, your next charge may not be higher. 9to5Mac says people who are already subscribed will get an increase notification 30 days before being charged the higher price. The site says folks outside the U.S. should expect to see similar price increases coming soon. 

Apple’s Other OS Updates

I mentioned on Monday that Apple was set to release macOS 13 Ventura, iPadOS 16.1 and iOS 16.1. That happened, but what I failed to mention were the tag-alongs. A few pieces from MacRumors address the releases of watchOS 9.1, tvOS 16.1, and version 16.1 of the HomePod software. 

Apple Releases watchOS 9.1

On the watch, Apple’s release notes say the device can now download music in the Music app through Wi-Fi or cellular even when the watch is off the charger. The update also adds support for the smart home connectivity standard Matter. And there’s a bit of energy tweaking for late model watches. Quoting Apple’s note:

Battery life extended during Outdoor Walking, Running, and Hiking Workouts with the ability to reduce the frequency of heart rate and GPS readings on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) and Apple Watch Ultra

Also — security updates and bug fixes. You can grab the watchOS 9.1 update in the Watch app on an associated iPhone. 

Apple Releases tvOS 16.1

To the parlor we go, where we find tvOS 16.1 waiting. Notable changes are aimed  at Apple’s virtual assistant. They-who-shall-not-be-named gets a more compact interface, according to MacRumors. There’s also a way to enable “Hey… you…” when listening to ‌Apple TV‌ with AirPods. And moving from non-existent to practically ubiquitous, the tvOS update adds support for the smart home connectivity standard Matter.

All of that and security updates. If you’ve got Apple TV set to update automatically, it should update automatically. You can also prompt the update through Settings on your Apple TV. 

Apple Releases HomePod Software 16.1

Wondering what’s new for HomePod Software 16.1? You will never guess of course you will it’s Matter. According to Apple’s release notes:

Software version 16.1 adds support for Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard that enables a wide variety of smart home accessories to work together across ecosystems. This update also includes performance and stability improvements.

HomePod‌‌‌‌‌‌s will update automatically if you let them. You can also prompt any updates through the Home app on an associated device. 

Monterey and Big Sur Get Updates

Macs that can’t handle the trip to Ventura may still have an update today. AppleInsider says the Cupertino-company released macOS Monterey 12.6.1 on Monday, as well as macOS Big Sur 11.7.1. Security focused releases both, the piece says they address issues tied to AppleMobileFileIntegrity, Ruby, and Sandbox systems.

Apple Releases iTunes 12.12.6 for Windows

One more update form Apple about which to tell you. Another piece from MacRumors says Apple has released iTunes 12.12.6 for Windows. The piece says the update adds “support for the new iPad Pro and iPad…” It’s also said by the report to address security vulnerabilities.

Tales of the Hard(ware) to Believe!

AppleInsider: Earliest Apple Pencil Won’t Pair with Latest iPad Pro

Two random tales of hardware today. First, if you’ve got a first-generation Apple Pencil you want to pair with this week’s new iPad Pro, you apparently cannot. “You can’t pair the first Apple Pencil with a USB-C iPad Pro,” according to a piece from AppleInsider. 

The report says, “Apple’s new adapter is only intended to connect a first-generation Apple Pencil to the new iPad,” referring to the sort of entry-level tenth-generation tablet. The piece goes on to say that that adapter “can’t be used to let the older Pencil work with iPad Pro models designed to have the second-generation one.”

That reminds me of the time I bought an Xbox One and one controller, assuming that one of the controllers for my Xbox 360 would work with the new console. Except this feels worse somehow. There’s plenty I don’t know about hardware, but it’s hard to see why the old pencil wouldn’t work with the new hardware. You know… without assuming the worst. 

Feels ugly. 

EU USB-C Charging Port Rule is Official

The other hardware story is more future looking. After months of hearing that the European Union was going to mandate that all portable electronics sold in member nations use a USB-C port for charging, that decision is finally official. The EU issued a press release Monday saying that final approval had been given, and that “in 2024, a USB-C port will become mandatory for a whole range of electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and headphones.” 

This is likely to affect you, even if you don’t live in the EU. Apple, Samsung, and so many others will not want to give up business in the European Union. At the same time, they probably won’t want to go through the trouble of making one model of hardware for one region, and another model for the rest of the planet.

We hit a partial list of affected devices before, though the press release was more specific. According to that, “the new rules will apply to a wide range of portable devices,” including:

  • mobile phones
  • tablets and e-readers
  • digital cameras and video game consoles
  • headphones, earbuds and portable loudspeakers
  • wireless mice and keyboards
  • portable navigation systems

If I’m reading the press release correctly, the port rule will apply to devices released in November/December 2024. The rules also affect laptops, though they do not have to comply until spring of 2026.

‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ Is Free to Stream Over Halloween

And finally today — waiting for “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” to hit broadcast this year would be — well… like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin. Spoiler alert: Not gonna happen. However, viewers who want to can still catch it at no cost — this weekend only. 

While we’d heard Apple would be doing this for the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials, a piece from Macworld says Apple is making the halloween special free to stream — no Apple TV+ subscription required. 

You will need high-speed  internet, of course, as well as a device on which to stream it. You’ll also need an Apple ID (kind of a drag, but at least they’re free). As for where and how to see it, Macworld says it’ll be viewable:

  • Through the TV app on the iPhone, iPad, or Mac
  • On smart TVs with the Apple TV+ app
  • On an Apple TV device
  • On the web at tv.apple.com

The window has not opened yet, and it won’t be open for long. The piece says “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” will be free to view from Friday 28 October through Monday 31 October.  

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I talk over the price hikes on Apple’s music and video services. Plus — U2 frontman Bono has spilled the beans on the gift of music a lot of iPhone owners didn’t want. We’ll hit all of that today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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