Yesterday Apple hosted an event dedicated to Apple services after the Cupertino giant made three hardware announcements last week, without being part of an event.
Apple has announced three new subscription based services dedicated for iOS, tvOS and macOS users: Apple News+, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+, but also a bigger approach on the fintech market by releasing a credit card called Apple Card. Basically, Apple is now competing with Google, Sony and Microsoft on the gaming market, with Netflix and Amazon Prime on the video streaming market and with companies such as Revolut on the financial market.
Apple News+ – all you can read newspapers and magazines
The Apple News app is currently available only in the United States and it works as a news aggregator providing the most important topics of the day based on the users preferences. Apple thinks that it can bring much more than news in the app by creating partnerships with more than 300 publications from the United States.
This is a new tab in the Apple News app and access is based on a subscription that costs $9,99 / month. For this fee, users have access to the entire catalogue of magazines and newspapers, they can follow publications or they can manually browse each publication. Moreover, magazines are created especially for Apple News+, offering animated covers, info charts, links, high resolution images and responsive design.
Relevant stories will appear including in the Apple News feed and magazines that match the user’s preference will appear in a dedicated section. Followed publications are automatically downloaded when they are released and can be read without an internet connection.
Apple brags with partners from all segments of the media market. The service will also include access to paywall services such as the Wall Street Jounal, LA Times or TechCrunch.
Apple says that Apple News+ offers access to content that would normally cost approximately $8000 / year. The first Apple News+ month is free after which it costs $9.99.
The Apple News+ service was launched last night in the United States and it is available through the most recent iOS and macOS update. The service will soon become available in Canada where it will also be offered in French. In the fall Apple News+ will arrive in Australia and in United Kingdom. We don’t know when Apple News+ will arrive in Europe.
Apple Card – Apple enters the fintech market with a physical and virtual credit card
Apple Card is the natural evolution of the Apple Pay service, through which Apple can process payments via the phone. Apple will issue credit cards through a partnership with Goldman Sachs and Master Card, however the process of opening an account and all banking operations are done exclusively via an iOS device.
Apple says that this is the first credit card especially created for the iPhone, being fully integrated in the Apple Pay experience. Basically, the Wallet app has been fully redesigned to host Apple Card services. Apple will provide a detailed history on your banking statement to be able to see where and how you spent your money, will provide weekly, daily and monthly states about your spending. If you have a problem with the Apple Card services you can get in touch with a rep via the iMessage app.
What Apple focused more on was the fact that it also comes with a Daily Cash incentive program. It transfers a percentage of the money you spent in a separate account, without having a daily limit. For regular shopping, you get back 2% of the money you spent, while for things you buy in Apple stores you get back 3% in your Daily Cash account and you can use the money as you want.
The Apple Card will not have any fees. There is no maintenance fee, transfer fee, payment fee or any other fees. Apple says that there won’t even be a fee for those who are late in paying the credit.
The credit card number will be stored locally in the processor of the device and each payment will generate a unique token. Authorizing the payments will be made exclusively through Touch ID or Face ID and the data stays on your phone. Apple doesn’t know waht you buy, when you buy and how much you spent.
The virtual Apple Card will work everywhere where Apple Pay is accepted however if you need a physical one you can opt to get a titanium Apple Card that only includes a security chip and your name, along with the Apple logo.
Apple Card will be available this summer in the United States and will expand in 40 countries in 2019.
Apple Arcade – gaming service for all Apple devices
When we’re talking about games we usually think about PCs or gaming consoles, however Apple claims that the iOS platform is the biggest in the world, with more than 1 billion users who download games. With 500,000 active users each month and 300.000 games in the platform, it’s easy to find a game, but it’s hard for a developer to stand out.
So Apple came up with the Apple Arcade game, a subscription based service that provides access to more than 100 premium games that can be played on the iPHone, iPac, MacBook, iMac or Apple TV. Apple Arcade will be a new tab in the App Store from where users can download all available games.
It appears that Apple is taking this new Apple Arcade gaming service very seriously and you will also be able to find games that Apple is actively funding, games that won’t be available for other platforms.
All games can be played on Apple devices, and game saves are automatically uploaded to the iCloud so you can continue playing on another device. All games will be premium so you won’t find any ads, micro-transactions and stuff like that. Games can also be played offline.
Apple Arcade will provide recommendations based on users preferences and will be available through Family Sharing. Apple says that developers will not get access to user data.
Right now we don’t know how much Apple Arcade will cost but the service will make its arrival in the fall in more than 150 countries.
Apple TV+ – Apple is rivaling with Netflix and other streaming services
The Apple TV+ is also available only in some regions, but it will expand and will include new features starting with this year. Apple wants Apple TV+ to become the place users use to watch TV shows, movies and sports, regardless if its local content, iTunes content or streaming content.
Basically, Apple wants users to be able to choose what they’re paying directly from the Apple TV service, offering integration with services such as Spectrum, DirecTV, Optimus, Hulu, PlayStation Vue or Fubo but also with channels with as Showtime, Stars, Epix, CBS, HBO, All Access and others. Basically, you will be able to watch the content you want without using dedicated apps for each service, and the content will appear in an unified interface.
The Apple TV service will be available in more than 100 countries in 2019 and the reason for this expansion is mainly the new Apple TV+ subscription.
Apple has not mentioned the price of the Apple TV+ but it has announced a range of series created by some of the most respected producers in Hollywood.
Steven Spielberg announced a new science fiction TV series, similar to Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell will star in a comedy show called The Morning Show while Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard will be the leading characters in a TV series called See, in which all people are blind.
Kumail Nanjiani, famous for the Silicon Valley TV series will create a documentary series called Little America which will tell the stories of U.S.A. immigrants while J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles will created Little Voice, a musical TV series.
Other confirmed shows are Dickinson, Central park and three shows signed by Oprah Winfrey. She will also have two documentaries on Apple TV+, one about workplace sex abuse called Toxic Labor and one about mental health.
Apple TV+ will arrive this fall however the price has not been confirmed yet. It appears that the service will provide original content because Apple has not talked at all about licensed content.