POS­I­TIVE THINK­ING

Ap­ple TV+ is just one ser­vice an­nounced by the tech­nol­ogy gi­ant

Llanelli Star - - TECH NOW -

THERE’S no show with­out stars, and Ap­ple cer­tainly rolled out the red car­pet for a few at its spe­cial event this week. Steven Spiel­berg, Jen­nifer Anis­ton, Oprah Win­frey, JJ Abrams, and even Sesame Street’s Big Bird took to the stage in Cal­i­for­nia to help the iPhone-maker launch its new ini­tia­tives.

While it’s no se­cret iPhone sales are not what they were, Ap­ple is not a com­pany known for rest­ing on its lau­rels.

With, as Oprah her­self put it, its de­vices be­ing in “a bil­lion pock­ets, ya’ll!”, it makes sense for Ap­ple to build a suite of on­line ser­vices for those de­vices.

This is not new – Ap­ple al­ready has iTunes, iCloud, Books, and the

App Store, among other plat­forms, to sell dig­i­tal stuff to iOS and Mac own­ers. But now it’s brought out the big guns.

Sev­eral new ser­vices were re­vealed at the event this week, and while we’ll have to wait for some, each one could well be a game-changer.

Here’s what’s on the way.

AP­PLE TV+

BILLED as “the new home for the world’s most cre­ative storytelle­rs”, Ap­ple TV+ is a new video stream­ing ser­vice which will launch in the au­tumn.

It’s es­sen­tially Ap­ple’s ri­val to the likes of Net­flix – but Ap­ple be­ing Ap­ple, it’s de­signed to be bet­ter than its ri­vals, and the ros­ter of tal­ent on show mak­ing pro­grammes for the new ser­vice shows just how se­ri­ous Ap­ple is.

Of all those at the top of their game in the film and TV in­dus­try to­day, it’d be eas­ier to list those who are not in­volved in some way or other.

From TV shows to doc­u­men­taries, from films to kids’ pro­gram­ming, Ap­ple has com­mis­sioned an as­ton­ish­ing ar­ray of shows for TV+.

While there was a lot of talk and not much by way of ac­tual footage, it’d be hard not to imag­ine at least some of it be­ing spec­tac­u­lar when it hits our screens later this year.

One no­table omis­sion from the de­tail, though – while Ap­ple said the ser­vice will launch glob­ally in the au­tumn, it did not say how much we would have to pay for it.

In ad­di­tion to the ser­vice, Ap­ple also re­vealed a new Ap­ple TV app, com­ing in May, which aims to of­fer lots of TV ser­vices in one place.

AP­PLE AR­CADE

GAM­ING is a big deal on Ap­ple de­vices, but the me­chan­ics of sell­ing on the App Store have not worked out as well as they might for some game de­vel­op­ers. Ap­ple Ar­cade aims to cor­rect this.

Lots of games on the App Store are free, and those in­die de­vel­op­ers craft­ing beau­ti­ful and in­no­va­tive ex­pe­ri­ences for gamers of­ten strug­gle to sell enough games at high enough prices to make it worth

their while – it’s hard to com­pete with free.

Ap­ple’s so­lu­tion is to cre­ate Ar­cade, which will of­fer more than 100 new and ex­clu­sive games by some of the finest de­vel­op­ers for a monthly fee. Yes, like Net­flix for games. Ap­ple says these games will be “cu­rated based on orig­i­nal­ity, qual­ity, cre­ativ­ity, fun and their ap­peal to play­ers of all ages”.

Cru­cially Ap­ple isn’t just hand­pick­ing these games, it’s also help­ing to pay for devel­op­ment, and work­ing closely with de­vel­op­ers to help them make the best games they can.

Also in­ter­est­ing was the fact that Ap­ple put the Ap­ple TV set-top box and the Mac front and cen­tre in the an­nounce­ment, too – these games are not just for iPhone and iPad, but will run across all Ap­ple de­vices.

The ser­vice will launch in the au­tumn, and pric­ing will be re­vealed later.

AP­PLE NEWS+

WHO reads mag­a­zines these days? Ap­ple ob­vi­ously thinks some peo­ple do as it re­vealed a new ser­vice built into its Ap­ple News app… pre­dictably called Ap­ple News+.

Only avail­able in the US and Canada at the mo­ment, the ser­vice of­fers, for $9.99-a-month, ac­cess to more than 300 well-known mag­a­zines, all for­mat­ted es­pe­cially for the screen.

There is also some kind of per­son­al­i­sa­tion al­go­rithm in the app, which aims to sur­face ar­ti­cles you might be in­ter­ested in from across the whole range of sources.

Ap­ple says News+ will be head­ing our way “later this year”.

AP­PLE CARD

PER­HAPS the most in­ter­est­ing an­nounce­ment of the day was the ad­di­tion to the Ap­ple Pay ecosys­tem of an Ap­ple-branded credit card.

Ap­ple Card will not be avail­able in the UK, and there was no sug­ges­tion it ever would be, but it cer­tainly show­cased Ap­ple’s abil­ity to of­fer a ser­vice that oth­ers al­ready pro­vide, but do it bet­ter.

There were all sorts of in­no­va­tions re­vealed for Ap­ple Card, not least the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of the whole credit card sys­tem.

Ap­ple said it was also go­ing to of­fer a much lower in­ter­est rate than com­peti­tors, al­though didn’t say what that would be, and said cash-back on pur­chases would be cred­ited to users’ accounts each day.

Big guns: Steve Car­rell, Reese Wither­spoon, and Jen­nifer Anis­ton at the Ap­ple TV+ launch event Oprah Win­frey at the launch of Ap­ple TV+

Ap­ple Ar­cade

Ap­ple News+

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