Apple on Monday held a special media event titled “It’s Show Time.” But unlike Apple’s other keynotes, the event wasn’t focused on new hardware or software updates. Instead, it was all about Apple’s services — and it was a big day for that sector of the company’s business.
The Cupertino tech giant announced several major updates to its services category, including a new original TV content service and a premium Apple News subscription for magazines. Continue reading to learn more about the seven key takeaways from Apple’s services-based event.
In a fairly surprising announcement, Apple unveiled an all-new Apple Pay-integrated credit card that sports a number of benefits over traditional plastic. For one, users can apply for the so-called Apple Card and start using it right away using Apple Pay on their iPhones (or with a physical titanium card).
But there are also no fees and no late payment penalties. More than that, Apple Card will reward users with daily cash back — including 3 percent on Apple purchases, 2 percent on purchases made with Apple Pay, and 1 percent with the physical card. The card is a joint partnership with Goldman Sachs, and also features baked-in financial health monitoring.
Apple’s original TV content service has been a poorly kept secret for more than a year now. But at Apple’s event Monday, the Cupertino tech giant gave the world its first taste of the platform with a parade of high-profile celebrities in Hollywood.
While Apple didn’t reveal too many details about the Apple TV+ service, it did tease several original TV shows that would be featured on the platform. All content will be on-demand, ad-free and available online and offline. Apple TV+ will be available later this fall on the first-party Apple TV app.
Like we expected, Apple has used its acquisition of Texture to seriously boost Apple News. The company debuted a new Apple News+ service that would allow access to more than 300 magazines, print newspapers and premium digital subscriptions for $9.99 a month.
That includes most of the content available on Texture, which runs the gamut from The New Yorker to Marie Claire magazine. At launch, it will also include editorial content from The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, as well as premium digital content from The Skimm, TechCrunch and more. It’s available now in the News app in iOS 12.2, and will be coming in macOS 10.14.4.
Apple TV Channels
In addition to first-party content, Apple also revealed an a la carte service that will allow Apple device users to pay for only the premium networks that they want. All of that content will be ad-free and available on demand — both offline and online. The idea is to integrate all of a user’s TV and film favorites into one place.
The Apple TV Channels service, which lives inside the Apple TV app, includes premium content from the likes of CBS All Access, HBO, Starz, Showtime and more. There will also be plenty of sports content, and all of a network’s shows will be easily accessible using the TV app across Apple’s devices.
Apple’s devices have become a juggernaut in the gaming industry, specifically when it comes to mobile games and apps. The Cupertino tech giant is obviously looking to capitalize on that popularity with its own Apple Arcade gaming service, which it announced Monday.
Apple Arcade is a service that will allow access to more than 100 games on iOS, macOS and tvOS for one monthly fee. Those games will be exclusive to the Apple ecosystem, but they aren’t cloud-based “streamables.” Instead, they’re full-fledged titles that are being created exclusively for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.
New Apple TV App
The aforementioned Apple TV+ content and Apple TV Channels service will be available in a completely reimagined Apple TV app. The app itself has been updated with a cleaner interface that will make finding things to watch much easier. It also features personalized human-curated and machine-learning recommendations.
The availability of the Apple TV app is also noteworthy, because Apple is expanding it to a variety of third-party platforms for the first time. The TV app will be available on macOS in the fall, but is also coming to Roku, Amazon and first-party smart TVs made by manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, LG and Vizio.
iOS 12.2 & More Software Updates
In addition to the full slate of updated services, Apple also quietly announced that it would be releasing new software updates today. That includes updates to iOS, macOS and tvOS. The iOS 12.2 update, available today, is packed with new features, including the just-announced Apple News+ service.
There's also a new update to Apple TV, tvOS 12.2, and a minor update to HomePod available today. Updates to watchOS (watchOS 5.2) and macOS (macOS 10.14.4), the latter of which will also feature Apple News+, are also expected in the near future.