Apple finally unveiled its software news of new subscription services after days of daily hardware updates. This day brings Apple subscriptions across news, television, and video games just a week after Google unveiled the Google Stadia at the Game Developers Conference.
The event’s keynote also brought a new business venture for Apple with a new credit card service. All of the above services highlight privacy as Apple’s key differentiator, with each product noting that there will be no Ads, and your consumption behavior will never be shared with marketers.
What is interesting is that many of the products announced at the event did not receive a live onstage demo, and most will be available much later this year. Below is a recap of the biggest announcements from the Apple event.
APPLE NEWS PLUS
Apple is adding magazines to the Apple News lineup with Apple News Plus. The $9.99 monthly subscription is currently available in the US and Canada, and the price covers family sharing. The first month is free.
You can browse through magazines you subscribe to, and new issues are automatically downloaded for offline reading when they are released.
At the launch, subscribers can access up to 300 magazines. Other digital and traditional news partners are part of the service as well, including The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. Apple touts privacy in its app, noting that advertisers can’t track what you’re reading so you won’t receive targeted ads based on stories you click on.
Unlike cloud gaming services announced by Google last week at GDC, Apple’s version is more like a subscription to games that are available through the App Store instead of traditional titles that you can play on sets like the PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch.
Apple says that it will include access to more than 100 games that are exclusive to iOS. You can also play games across Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and a Mac computer, and games will be available for offline play.
APPLE TV CHANNELS
Previously, the TV app could only send you to other third-party providers and recommend what to watch. But now, Apple is attempting to make its TV app a final destination for watching shows. You’ll be able to catch Apple’s new video streaming service inside the app, and you won’t need to be redirected to other apps: as long as those companies have made deals with Apple.
The new Apple TV update will now include a focus on channels like HBO, PBS, CBS, Acorn TV, and Tastemade without pointing users to a third-party app. Named Apple TV Channels, subscribers can choose which channels they’d like to subscribe to and pay per channel instead of a traditional, large package from cable companies.
The Apple TV app will receive an update for Channels this May.
APPLE TV PLUS
In addition to the new Channels service for the Apple TV, there’s now also a Plus package for original programming. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t announce a lot of details other than the name and that it will be available in the fall.
Apple TV Plus will be ad-free, available on demand, and view-able both online and offline. Apple plans to launch it in over 100 countries sometime this fall, though it did not disclose pricing today. But you’ll access Apple TV Plus through the redesigned Apple TV app on iOS, Mac, Roku, Fire TV, and televisions from various manufacturers.
There will be original programming that includes documentaries about immigrant life in America, science fiction about a world where inhabitants are blind, and children’s programming featuring Sesame Street characters. Oprah will have two documentaries highlighting workplace harassment and mental health, and a Book Club.
Unlike traditional applications, you can apply directly on the iPhone and, once approved, the card is stored digitally on the Wallet app where you can view your statements, balance, and payment due dates. The app also tags locations and retailers to help you browse through transactions and remember where you may have made that purchase.
The card also generates new security codes each time you make a purchase. It doesn’t even have a credit card number, CVV, signature, or expiration date. According to Apple, there are no late fees or increased interest rates for late payments.
The Apple Card, backed by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, also offers a 2 percent cash back reward (3 percent for Apple purchases) that is paid daily into your Apple Pay account that you can use toward paying your credit card balance, in-app purchases, or transferring to friends. The card should be accepted wherever Mastercard is. Apple will also offer a physical titanium card for real-life uses or when you’re traveling, but rewards for those purchases are 1 percent cash back.