No Hardware, All Services. And Oprah.
Apple’s Big TV Event: A Quick Recap of Everything You Missed
Tim Cook opened the most recent Apple keynote by saying, “Today is going to be a different kind of event.” Instead of hardware, Apple dedicated the entire show to its new and updated services, specifically Apple Pay, Apple News, the Apple Store and Apple TV (the app, not the actual device). There’s a new subscription service for magazines and newspapers; a new subscription service for video games (from the Apple Store); and a new subscription service just for Apple’s original shows and movies.
Here’s a quick round-up of everything you might have missed.
Your Favorite Magazines and Newspapers, Now on Apple News
Apple News+ is a new subscription service that lives inside the current Apple News app. The subscription includes 300 magazines — including The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, National Geographic, Men’s Health and Vogue — in a single package. It also includes premium digital subscriptions to newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
At the show, Apple said: “If you were to subscribe to all these individual services, it would cost $8,000.” A subscription to News+ will cost $10/month and family sharing comes at no additional cost. It’s available now with the latest iOS updates.
Apple’s First-Ever Credit Card, the Apple Card
The Apple Card is the next evolution of Apple Pay and it works in much the same way as current Apple Pay. The new Apple Card is a digital credit card that will now be integrated into the iPhone’s Apple Wallet app. The app will let users view their latest transactions and check their balance in an easily digestible way. Apple claims that the software is smart enough to correctly label the stores and locations where the card is used, so you can recognize it’s a fraudulent charge. The card will also be able to file correct charges into their appropriate categories, such as “food and drinks,” “shopping” or “entertainment.”
The Apple Card is also a physical credit card that’s made our titanium; essentially it’s just a physical extension of Apple’s new service in case people want something they can actually put in their wallet. When used, the Apple Card has an interesting cash back rewards program. “Every time customers use Apple Card with Apple Pay, they will receive 2 percent Daily Cash,” reads Apple’s website. “Customers will also get 3 percent Daily Cash on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, on the App Store and for Apple services.” Other interesting incentives include no late fees, no annual fees, no international fees and no over-limit fees.
The Apple Card will be available this summer.
Apple Arcade, a Subscription Service for Mobile Gamers
Apple Arcade is a subscription service for video games that are playable on iOS, Mac, and Apple TV. The service will be populated with games that Apple kept saying “shouldn’t exist,” because they’re not free. According to myriad game developers that were shown in Apple’s keynote video, the subscription service has allowed them to develop more advanced and entertaining games — read: more like console games — that most people wouldn’t traditionally have the chance to play because they were too expensive.
A subscription to Apple Arcade will include access to over 100 new and exclusive games with every game being playable offline. Once subscribed, none of the games will have ads or require additional “pay for advanced features” costs. The game subscription service will be available this fall. Apple did not announce pricing information.
A Redesigned TV App for Cord Cutters
Apple announced a redesigned TV app with “Channels,” which is Apple’s way of helping cord cutters pay for only the channels that they want, and nothing more. They’ll be able to pay for individual channels that you usually get with a cable and satellite service, such as CBS, CNN and NBC, or pay for individual premium subscriptions such as HBO, Showtime, Starz.
Apple claims that the service is on-demand and completely ad-free. Family sharing is also free. No details were released as to how much these individual services or bundles will cost, however, so it’s unclear how good or not-so-good a deal this could be.
The new Apple TV app will be available on iPad, iPhone and Apple TV this May, and on Mac this fall. It will also be available on Roku and Fire TVs, too, as well as the latest smart TVs by Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony.
Apple TV+, Where Apple’s Original Shows and Films Will Live
The star of the event was Apple TV+, a premium service for Apple’s original shows and films. A number of stars and directors from these original titles came on stage to talk about Apple TV+ (or, more accurately, the shows and films they’re working on), including Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, Kumail Nanjiani, J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles. Oprah also made an appearance, revealing that she has two Apple-exclusive documentaries in the works.
Again, a lot is still in the dark surrounding Apple TV+, including, most importantly, how much it’ll cost. Apple did show a brief montage of upcoming trailers to give a brief glimpse into its streaming features. (You can check out the complete list of films and programs coming to Apple TV+, here.) Apple will kick off its premium streaming service this fall and it’ll be available in 100+ countries. And everything on the service will be downloadable. Anybody will be able to subscribe to the TV+ service so long as they have iOS or Mac device, or Roku or Fire TV, as well as smart TVs by Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony.