Apple has upped its game on the services side by announcing a premium video streaming service called Apple TV+, a paid magazine and news subscription service addition called Apple News+, and an exclusive gaming subscription called Apple Arcade. Apple also made a foray into to the financial services space with Apple Card, a unique cashback-driven credit card service to cash in on the success and reach of Apple Pay.
Making the announcement at a star-studded event at the Steve Jobs Theater at the Apple Park Campus in Cupertino, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “At Apple our services are about helping the customers get the most out of the products. Our services have to be easy to use, offer uncompromising attention to detail, and are designed to keep your personal information private and secure.”
Apple TV+ video streaming service: Everything to know
One of the big highlights for Apple TV+ will be Oprah Winfrey’s partnership with two documentary series in the works. The Oprah produced series will be made available in fall of 2019. The Apple TV+ video streaming service will also feature exclusive original shows like ‘Amazing Stories’ by Steven Spielberg, ‘The Morning Show’ with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, ‘Little America’ starring Kumail Nanjiani, ‘See’ starring Jason Momoa, a Sesame Street show, and ‘Little Boys’ by JJ Abrams and Sara Bareilles.
Apple did not confirm the pricing for its video streaming service. This along with availability will be announced later this fall. The subscription service will be available across Apple devices, it be ad-free and will be coming to 100+ countries by fall 2019.
It will be part of the Apple TV app, which means users will be able to access it on other smart TV platforms. The Apple TV app has been redesigned as well. In fact, this revamped app is coming to over 150 countries, and to other platforms including on Samsung, LG, smart TVs as well as Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV platform. This is the first time that Apple’s TV app will be made available on other platforms. The new TV app will come as a free software update this May, and to Mac in the fall of 2019.
Apple also introduced TV Channels which combines subscription services into the Apple TV app itself. This includes services like HBO, ShowTime, History Channel, CBS, Eros Now and others, which will be a part of the new Apple TV Channels. With Apple TV channels, users will have the option of watching only the channels they want to watch, while keeping this experience ad-free.
Apple News+ announced: Everything to know
With Apple News+, the focus will be on magazine subscriptions. The News service will cost $9.99 per month with over 300 magazines being made available to users. It will essentially include access to a number of magazine in one place with Apple News+. With the magazine content, Apple News+ and magazines, the focus will be on design and how the content is displayed.
Apple News+ keeps this focus alive, given how the content is shown with typography remaining intact, large in-laid photos. The magazine content will adjust based on whether you are viewing on the iPhone or the larger iPad. Users will also have the option of downloading the magazine and viewing it in offline mode.
Apple also stressed on privacy with their new subscription service saying they will not track what the user is reading nor will they allow advertisers to do the same.
Apple Card features
On the payments side, Apple Card, a new credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs was officially revealed. The Apple Card will be added to a user’s Wallet app on the iPhone or iPad, and one will be available to register for this instantly. The Apple Card is being made available in the US first.
Apple is also giving users actual daily cashback everytime they use the Apple Card for a purchase. There will no limit on the amount of daily cash that a user can get.
The Wallet app will let users see the interest on this credit card in real-time along with daily spends, payment dates, etc.
Apple Card will have no other fees like annual fees or late payment added to it like one finds on most credit cards. The Mastercard global payment network will be used on the Apple Card. The Apple Card number is stored in the secure enclave on the iPhone or iPad. Every purchase will have to be authenticated with Touch or Face ID.
Once again, Apple stressed on privacy saying they will not track a user’s activity with the card. Further, its partner Goldman Sachs will not sell any data associated with the card to any third-party or marketing company. For places where Apple Pay is not accepted, there will be a physical titanium card. It will have no card number, no expiration, no CVV, just the user’s name etched on it.
Tim Cook also revealed that Apple Pay will cross 10 billion transactions by 2019. He also confirmed that Apple Pay will come than 40+ countries by the end of the year.
Apple Arcade gaming subscription: Everything to know
Apple Arcade is paid subscription service, which will give users access to 100+ games. It will work on mobile, desktop as well. These games will be exclusive to the Apple Arcade service, which will get its own dedicated tab on the App Store.
Users will be able to download any game with their paid subscriptions. Apple Arcade will work on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Most importantly users will be able to play the game even if one is offline.
Apple Arcade will give users access to all the features of the game and there will be no in-app purchases or ads in games, which are under this service. Apple also stressed on privacy saying that developers will not be able to track user data in the Arcade service or sell it to third-parties.
Apple Arcade will be made available in over 150+ countries by fall of 2019. Apple Arcade will include original releases from renowned creators Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong, Will Wright and more.
The service will feature games from companies like Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games and others. Apple has not specified the price of its Arcade service, which will be revealed later.
Disclaimer: The writer is in California on the invite of Apple.