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