Apple has its eyes on the likes of Netflix, Visa and Amex, after the iPhone maker announced a decisive push towards services overnight.
A slew of new services – Apple News+, Apple TV Channels, Apple TV+, Apple Card and Apple Arcade – were unveiled at a special event in the Steve Jobs Theater in California on Monday morning.
Perhaps the most highly-anticipated of the new services was Apple TV+, a video subscription service that will go head-to-head with streaming kingpin Netflix.
“Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet,” said Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue.
And it appears as though Apple is going to leverage star-power to get its new service off the ground, with Oprah Winfrey speaking at the launch.
Original content from the media star, along with Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan and Jon M. Chu will be available for customers. Pricing is yet to be announced.
Beyond original content, the new Apple TV Channels will look to bring all streaming subscriptions, television channels and other add-ons into one place.
But in a clear indication of just who Apple considers to be its biggest rival in the space, Netflix will not be available in the new portal.
Channels will be available as an update to the existing Apple TV app in May.
A credit card?
Yes, a credit card.
After Tim Cook said during the launch of Apple Pay in 2014 that “people have dreamed of replacing these [credit cards] for years”, Apple has now come full circle.
The card will exist both virtually, within the Apple Wallet app and physically.
Although it is being marketed as a security-focused credit card, it is likely that Apple has chosen to launch the product as a result of the slow uptake of Apple Pay in recent years.
Of the ‘big four’ banks in Australia, only CommBank and ANZ offer Apple Pay.
'Designed for iPhone', the Apple Card introduces a number of new features designed to helped users better understand their money.
“Apple Card is designed to help customers lead a healthier financial life, which starts with a better understanding of their spending so they can make smarter choices with their money, transparency to help them understand how much it will cost if they want to pay over time and ways to help them pay down their balance,” said Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey.
There are no fees associated with the card, including annual, late, international and over-the-limit.
Apple also states that it hopes to offer interest rates “that are among the lowest in the industry”.
A partnership with MasterCard has been announced for the Apple Card.
Apple has not yet any announced any plans to take the card outside of the United States.
News and games
Also unveiled at the event were Apple News+ and Apple Arcade.
Apple News+ takes form as an add-on to the existing Apple News app, but with a focus on high-quality curation.
A new deal sees over 300 magazines, including The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic, National Geographic, Men’s Health and Vogue all available for $US9.99 per month.
Apple claims it would cost more than $US8,000 per year to subscribe to each of the titles on offer individually.
The service is expected to be on offer in Australia later this year.
Again with an emphasis on subscription services, Apple Arcade will bring together new and exclusive games with existing titles in a new ad-free format.
While free games are already popular among Apple users, Arcade aims to get more paid games in front of eyeballs.
“The App Store is the world’s biggest and most successful game platform. Now we are going to take games even further with Apple Arcade, the first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room,” said Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller.
“We are working with some of the most innovative game developers in the world to create over 100 new and exclusive games to play across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.”
It will be available in Australia on launch, expected to be in the coming months.