Apple has launched a major foray into the subscription services market.
The tech titan revealed its much-anticipated video subscription service, Apple TV+, that will take on Hollywood with its arsenal of original content and is slated to launch this fall.
Apple TV+ was debuted in a star-studded announcement featuring celebrities ranging from Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to Steve Carrell, Big Bird and Jason Momoa.
Among the other new services, Apple Arcade, is a game subscription service that lets users access more than 100 ‘exclusive’ titles from almost anywhere, including mobile and desktop devices, as well as from the TV in your living room.
In a surprising move, Apple also unveiled a new iPhone-linked credit card, dubbed the Apple Card, as well as Apple Arcade, a game subscription service that lets users access more than 100 ‘exclusive’ titles from TVs, smartphones and desktop devices.
It also took the wraps off of Apple News+, which offers access to 300 top magazine titles and top newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) revealed its much-anticipated video subscription service, Apple TV+, that will take on Hollywood with its arsenal of original content
AppleTV+, slated to launch this fall, was revealed in a star-studded announcement featuring celebrities like Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston (pictured)
WHAT SHOWS ARE COMING TO APPLE TV PLUS?
Apple took the wraps off of its new video subscription service, called Apple TV+, that’s slated to launch this fall.
The firm also rolled out Apple TV Channels, which lets users subscribe to channels à la carte, with no need to create a new account.
The channels include HBO, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access and more.
Among the actors, actresses and creatives featured on the Apple TV Plus are:
- Oprah Winfrey
- Steven Spielberg
- Jennifer Aniston
- Reese Witherspoon
- Octavia Spencer
- Steve Carrell
- J.J. Abrams
- Jason Momoa
- M. Night Shyamalan
- Jon Chu
- Hailee Steinfeld
- Brie Larson
- Chris Evans
- Jennifer Garner
- Kumail Nanjiani
The firm also launched a revamped video Apple TV app, called Channels, that includes access to live TV content, ranging from HBO, Showtime, CBS, Comedy Central and more.
The unveiling event confirmed many much-anticipated rumors that Apple would embark on a new chapter beyond the iPhone, iPad and Mac and into subscription services.
To usher in the new era, CEO Tim Cook took to the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s Cupertino, California-based headquarters.
‘Today is going to be a very different kind of event,’ Cook said on stage.
‘We’ve been creating a world class collection of services, and that’s what today is about.
Apple is launching a new dedicated section of the App Store that’s dedicated to Arcade.
It’s a ‘new kind of service’ that gives users access to more than 100 new and exclusive games with a single subscription.
There’s no advertisements, the games can’t track users’ activity without their consent and users can even play games offline.
Arcade will become available starting this fall in over 150 countries. Pricing is yet to be revealed, however.
The new Apple-branded credit card is launching in partnership with Goldman Sachs and will use Mastercard’s global payment network, so that it can be used anywhere around the globe.
‘With Apple Pay, we have completely rethought the Apple Card,’ Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, said on stage.
Apple revealed its much-anticipated video subscription service, Apple TV+. Director Steven Spielberg (pictured) will also reboot the TV series ‘Amazing Stories’ for the service
Apple Arcade is a game subscription service that lets users access more than 100 ‘exclusive’ titles from almost anywhere, including mobile and desktop devices and your television
In a surprising move, Apple also debuted an iPhone-linked credit card that has no fees and is located in the Apple Wallet, where it can show reminders like when users’ payments are due
It’s a sleek, titanium credit card that makes a surprising design departure from traditional debit or credit cards, featuring no card number, CVV or expiration date.
That information is now stored in the Apple Wallet and, instead, the card shows Apple’s distinctive logo, the card owner’s name and a chip.
There’s no fees, a simpler application process and users can receive 2 percent cash back on purchases made through Apple Pay using an Apple Card.
Users can sign up for a card on their phone and track purchases, check balances and see when their bill is due from the Apple Wallet app.
Apple Card is slated to arrive this summer and packs a range of benefits, according to the firm.
Available starting today for iOS 12 users in the US and Canada, Apple News+ costs $9.99 per month and can be shared with other family members for free.
Tim Cook unveiled the Apple Card, a sleek, titanium credit card that makes a surprising design departure from traditional cards, featuring no card number, CVV or expiration date
WHAT IS APPLE ARCADE?
Apple is launching a subscription-based gaming service that will let users play across mobile, desktop, and Apple TV.
Called Apple Arcade, the platform will live as a tab inside the App Store and gives users access to more than 100 new and exclusive games, the firm says.
It will feature games from Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games and dozens more.
Games will be across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. And, users will be able to pick up where they left off on a different device.
Apple has not yet revealed any details on pricing, but says it will be coming to 150 countries in Fall 2019.
Apple introduced Apple Arcade in a star-studded event at the Steve Jobs Theater
It adds the ‘best of the magazine experience’ into the News+ app, with ‘live’ interactive covers, curated stories and a range of magazine offerings catered to interests like gadgets, pop culture and sports, among others.
Among the other rumored offerings expected to be debuted are a video streaming service, populated with original content from Apple and programming from HBO, Showtime and Starz.
It’s also possible that Apple could launch a monthly ‘Netflix for games’ subscription, in addition to a credit card that’s tied to the iPhone and Apple Pay.
The announcement comes amid declining sales of Apple’s main revenue generator, the iPhone, as well as a number of recent updates to its other flagship products.
Leading up to Monday’s event, Apple switched on its livestream early on Sunday, in an attempt to drum up attention for the big announcements.
The landing page for the event showed a stream of an eerily empty Steve Jobs Theater, with different camera angles recording a rotating cast of characters that appeared on screen and, in one case, even on stage.
Throughout the hours long marketing stunt, a man appeared on stage to do a mic check and read some poetry, before being upstaged by an incoming call from actor Chris Evans, known for his role as Captain America, shown on screen.
Other highlights include a random CarPlay sequence of a GPS navigation to the Steve Jobs Theater, as well as a text conversation between Tim Cook and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant about meeting up to play basketball at Apple Park.
It’s unclear whether the stream was live or pre-recorded, but it has since ended with hours to go before the event kicks off this afternoon.
Among the other footage shown on stage were clips from director Ron Howard and M. Night Shyamalan, among others.
Users can sign up for a card on their phone and track purchases, check balances and see when their bill is due from the Apple Wallet app. The Apple Card is slated to arrive this summer
Some have speculated that it could be a teaser for what’s expected to come from Monday’s event.
Apple has dedicated $1 billion (£760 million) to its original content budget, buying the rights to dozens of original shows, some of which were created by in-house studios while other content will come from major industry players.
That includes a drama series about a network TV morning show starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, as well as a psychological thriller by ‘The Sixth Sense’ director M. Night Shyamalan.
The tech giant is also rumoured to have landed a deal with Oprah Winfrey to contribute to its original shows.
It’s unclear how much Apple will charge for its original content, but the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple could offer monthly subscriptions to Starz, Showtime and HBO for $9.99 each.
The offerings will all be made available to users in a new TV app, the Journal said.
At Monday’s event, Apple also plans to debut a revamped news subscription service.
Apple made headlines last March when it acquired magazine subscription service Texture and it now plans to build upon that deal with a new platform that bundles content from a wide variety of publishers.
Another announcement, though much less likely, could center around Apple’s long-rumored gaming service.
For a monthly fee, users will be given access to a bundle of paid games from developers that are available in the App Store, Bloomberg reported.
It adds the ‘best of the magazine experience’ into the News+ app, with ‘live’ interactive covers, curated stories and a range of magazine offerings catered to interests like gadgets and sports
Apple is rolling out a new subscription service catered to journalism junkies. The service, called Apple News+, offers users access to 300 top magazine titles, like Time and Vogue
Attendees gather in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters ahead of its ‘Show Time’ event on Monday. The firm is expected to unveil its new video service
These could include popular paid titles like Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto or NBA 2K.
If the gaming service isn’t unveiled on Monday, Apple could be holding off on the announcement until its annual Worldwide Developers Conference later this year.
Apple is turning away from its core hardware business as iPhone sales have increasingly sputtered.
It’s services revenue is on the rise, up 19 per cent to around £$1 billion (£8.3bn) in its most recent quarterly financial report compared to a 15 per cent drop in phone sales.
But it’s late to a market dominated by Netflix, Amazon and HBO, which launched streaming while Apple stayed focused on iPhones, iPads and computers.
While co-founder Steve Jobs began toying with the idea of building a powerful TV business before his death in 2011, it has taken CEO Tim Cook nearly eight years to bring it to fruition.
The original series on the new Apple service reportedly cost Apple more than $1 billion (£8.3bn), which is far less than Netflix and HBO spend each year.
Leading up to the event, Apple switched on its livestream early, in an attempt to drum up attention for the big announcements. One of the stunts included a call from actor Chris Evans
Apple is expected to begin a new chapter beyond the iPhone or the iPad when CEO Tim Cook takes the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater. The ‘Show Time’ event kicks off at 1p.m. (ET) today
‘Apple is very late to this game,’ eMarketer analyst Paul Verna said.
‘Netflix has become the gold standard in how to create and distribute content, using all the data they have about their viewers.’
Netflix’s prowess has attracted 139 million subscribers worldwide.
But Apple will have several other competitors fighting for consumers’ dollars.
Tom Chapman, associate consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants, said: ‘The issue here is that market cannot support many more of these services.
‘Hulu, Disney, Britbox, Prime Video, and a string of specialist services such as Curiosity stream and DAZN are already overburdening consumers with choices as it is.
‘Apple has three major advantages over Netflix and other existing providers however.
‘First, their hardware ecosystem is a force to be reckoned with, combining Apple TV, iPhones and iPads with Airplay technology will provide consumers with a truly seamless experience.
‘Second, Apple’s existing billing relationship with customers means it will be easy to drive sign-ups.
‘Third, much like Amazon, Apple TV’s proposition is one small part of the company’s broader strategy to lock consumers into its hardware and content ecosystem.
‘As a result, it can make competitive pricing decisions to undercut its rivals.
‘As for Netflix, their market share is vulnerable to erosion as new services such as Apple’s launch and grow.’
Walt Disney Co. is also launching its own service this year, armed with an imposing library that became more formidable with its purchase of 21st Century Fox’s films and TV series.
WHAT SHOWS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON APPLE’S NEW NETFLIX-RIVAL STREAMING SERVICE?
Apple is making a billion-dollar bet on its own on-demand television service that is tipped to launch in 2019.
The streaming platform, which will rival popular services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, is set for release as early as next March, reports suggest.
Since October 2017, the firm has bought a dozen projects – nine of which have been green-lit for a full series.
The shows are backed by a budget that is set to top $1 billion (£760 million).
The programming would only be available on a subscription channel, most likely bundled with the company’s existing Apple Music streaming service.
They include —
- A psychological thriller by ‘The Sixth Sense’ director M. Night Shyamalan about a couple searching for a lost child.
- A drama series about a network morning show starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
- A series on the life of hip hop magnate Dr Dre called Vital Signs.
- A drama series from ‘La La Land’ director Damien Chazellae.
- A revival of Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed 1985 anthology series ‘Amazing Stories’.
- A space drama from Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore.
- The company is also working on projects with comedienne Kristen Wiig and Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer.
According to sources close to the project, several of the projects have been delayed by Apple, which has pushed back on mature content.
M. Night Shyamalan’s show has reportedly been pushed back because Apple requested the removal of crucifixes from the house of the main characters.
The news network drama series has also been pushed back because execs were hoping for a more ‘upbeat’ show.
Vital Signs has been cancelled completely after Apple CEO Tim Cook took issue with scenes featuring cocaine, an orgy and ‘drawn weapons’.
AT&T is debuting another streaming service built around HBO.
Apple has plenty of money to spend, though, with about $245 billion (£186bn) in cash and marketable securities.
It must prove itself attractive to Hollywood even without a track record for supporting high-quality programming and then ensuring it gets widely seen.
As part of its efforts to make quick connections, Apple hired two longtime Sony television executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, in 2017.
The subscription announcements will come in the wake of a number of surprise device updates announced by the firm last week.
Apple debuted second-generation AirPods, two new models of the iMac with upgraded components, a 10.5-inch iPad Air and the iPad Mini 5.