At the Special Event today in the Steve Jobs Theatre, Apple has announced Apple TV, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and Apple Card. In fact biggest surprise was Apple Card, a new titanium credit card, as a lot of the other announcements had got out one way or another.
Apple TV Plus
As predicted, Apple TV Plus, will be a new streaming service that, according to its CEO Tim Cook, "is unlike anything that's come before".
The streaming service will offer exclusive shows, movies and documentaries from famous filmmakers like JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan. The service will include shows like ‘Amazing Stories’ and ‘The Morning Show’, with stars like Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Jason Momoa are all signed up to be part of it. There's even a Sesame Street spin-off show for the pre-school crowd called Helpsters.
Apple TV Plus will be ad-free from the start and be available in over 100 countries. It will be available starting in Autumn 2019 on smart TVs, MacOS and iOS. As to the price, that was something which was not disclosed at any point throughout the star filled event with appearances from mega stars like Oprah Winfrey whose 1st documentary will look into "scourge and toll of sexual harassment in the workplace", while the second will be a multi part series focussing on mental health issues across the globe.
'The Morning Show' will be a ‘behind the scenes’ show looking at TV production as a workplace, with Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line), Jennifer Aniston (Friends) and Steve Carell (The Office). ‘See’ will have Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman) in a post-apocalyptic world thriller.
JJ Abrams (director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) took to the stage with singer-songwriter and actress Sara Bareilles to introduce Little Voice, focussing on the trials and tribulations of a rising star. Sesame Street’s Big Bird was on stage to reveal a new pre-school show called Helpsters featuring Sesame Street-like puppetry, with an educational focus.
So we know it will release in the autumn of this year but we don’t know how much it will cost. There haven’t been any announcements of any existing franchises coming to the new platform and the view seems to be it will be more like Amazon Prime than Netflix. On stage, Tim Cook made it clear that Apple TV Plus won’t be Netflix, at least not yet. While the service will offer original content, Apple TV Plus won't offer licensed content like The Big Bang Theory, Mr. Robot or Seinfeld. However, apparently you will still be able to buy those shows through iTunes.
Apple TV - The App
Apple TV (the app) will be released on iPhone, Apple TV, iPad from May, via a software update and to the Mac in autumn. The app will also appear on selected TVs, starting with Samsung in spring, followed by Sony, LG and Vizio. However in today's keynote, Tim Cook didn’t mention the platforms where Netflix is available like Android TV, PC desktops and laptops and non-Apple tablets.
Apple presented Apple Arcade as a “brand new slew of games that redefine games”. Apple chose to emphasise that they are working with gaming creatives to create emotional and visceral experiences rather than going on about streaming.
What they have announced is that there will be 100 totally exclusive Apple Arcade titles when the service launches, paid for by subscription, within the App Store, with games playable across all Apple devices, on and offline, once downloaded, with subscription meaning no ads and no in-app purchases.
The subscription model will apparently be similar to Apple News+ with the subscription being accessible to your whole family. Like Apple TV Plus it will be available in autumn with pricing details to follow.
Apple News Plus
Apple News has been around for a while but what Apple announced today is Apple News Plus. Apple claimed that the Individual subscriptions to everything on Apple News Plus would cost $8000, whereas they are pitching Apple News+ at $9.99 per month, again with access available to your whole family under your subscription.
After North America, the UK is the next place Apple News Plus will launch. One interesting privacy fact that has come to light is that article recommendations in Apple News+ are made on your device so Apple doesn't know what you are reading and advertisers can't track you.
Apple Card offers a new form of Mastercard credit card to users. Apple has chosen to partner with Goldman Sachs to deliver this new service and being Apple it will do things other credit cards can't do. You can sign up on your iPhone, and within minutes start using it right away - anywhere in the world.
Apple Card will be available across your devices, and you will also find it in your Wallet App, There will be spending tracking, with store names clearly listed, details on when your next payment is due and how much you've spent that month. Another difference between Apple Card and other credit cards is that they are claiming that there won’t be any late, annual, international or over-balance fees and Apple says it's committed to giving you a low interest rate with Card.
Apple Card will come with no fees. No international fees, late fees or even a higher rate of interest if you miss a payment. You can choose to make payments more regularly, or to change your schedule if you so wish.
However, there was no mention of a typical APR here, so while it's rather easy to sign up, it’s not clear how competitive Apple Card will be, but it does look as if Apple are planning to shake up the credit card market.
Apple Card will offer rewards, with Daily Cash giving you 2% cashback every time you spend, paid into your account every day. Use Apple Card to buy an Apple product direct from Apple and you'll get 3% cashback.
Every purchase will be verified with either Touch or Face ID, and all details of the card are stored on a secure area of your iPhone. On the security side, Apple say that they won’t be able to see what you've spent your money on, with all processing taking place on your device and not on Apple's servers. Apple also promises not to sell your information to third parties.