A week earlier, Apple quietly rolled out hardware changes that paved the way for some exciting announcements. Today, Apple finally unveiled a host of software announcements in the form of new subscription services. The company introduced everyone to new subscription services across news, television, and video games. This was just a week after Google introduced Google Stadia at the Game Developers Conference.
Without further delay, here’s a recap of all the biggest announcements at Apple’s March 2019 event:
Apple News Plus
Introducing Apple News Plus, the first subscription service that’s adding not only news but magazines right at your fingertips. The service costs $9.99 monthly and is available today in the US and Canada. The price will cover family sharing, and the first month is free as well.
The Apple News Plus service displays magazines with a new “Live Cover” presentation, and has light animation that covers for an interactive feel when you’re going through the feed and articles. In the cover, you’ll see highlighted stories that are listed with blurbs, and story recommendations that you might also like.
The service launched with up to 300 magazines, and more will be continued to add overtime. Digital and traditional news partners as on-board with the service as well, including The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. In addition to having many partners, the company touts privacy in its app. The company clarified that advertisers cannot track what you’re reading so you will not receive targeted ads based on stories you’re interacting with and reading.
Apple Card (Credit Card)
Apple has stepped into the credit card arena with its all-new Apple Card credit card. You can apply for the Apple Card directly on the iPhone, and once you’re approved, the card’s detailed are stored digitally in your Wallet app. In the Wallet app, you can view your statements, balance, and payment due dates.
A great addition Apple made is tagging locations and retailers to help you identify where you made purchases and keep track of all your transactions. Apple Card will also generate new security codes each time you made a purchase. Furthermore, the card doesn’t even have a credit card number, CVV, signature, or an expiration date. You can, however, generate one if you want, if you plan to make a purchase through a site that doesn’t take Apple Card but will take 16-digit credit card information. When you make those types of purchases, those details again, are stored locally to prevent ad targeting.
Apple Card is backed by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard. Cardholders are offered 2 percent cash back reward (3 percent on Apple purchases), and is paid daily directly to your Apple Pay account. They can be used towards paying your credit card balance, in-app purchases, or transferring to your friends and family. Because Apple partnered with Mastercard, it should be accepted anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Apple Card isn’t only virtual, either. Apple will also offer a physical titanium card for real-life use or when you’re traveling, but rewards for those purchases are limited to 1 percent.
That’s not all. The best part about the card is that there are no late fees or increased interest rates for late payments. We will, however, make sure to let you know of any limitations explained in the fine details. Through a graphic wheel in your app, you’ll be able to see how much interest you will end up paying based on the minimum payments you make so you can better make financial decisions.
The Apple Card will be available for everyone this summer.
Gaming on the iPhone was never the most popular, but that won’t stop Apple from bringing a new service called Apple Arcade. Through the Apple Arcade service, a gaming subscription service, is a service that is available through the App Store instead of traditional titles that you’ll likely find on PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch (unless those games are offered on iOS platform, such as Fornite).
While the company introduced everyone to Apple Arcade, there was no disclosure of subscription fees, but the subscription will include access to more than 100 games that are exclusive to iOS. In addition to playing them on your iPhone, you can play those games on your iPad, Apple TV, and even on your Mac computer, and you’ll be able to play those games offline too.
Apple TV Channels
Apple has updated its Apple TV to now include a host of new channels like HBO, PBS, CBS, Acorn TV, and Tastemade without having the need for users to go to third-party apps. Apple called this Apple TV Channels, where subscribers can choose which channels they want to subscribe to and pay per channel options as opposed to traditional packages that cable companies try to sell you.
Apple is set to bring the Channels in an update set for May. Channels app will come to Mac in the fall, and will also be available through smart TVs, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV starting this spring. Channel support will be brought to more than 100 countries, but the company did not provide specific timeline. Unfortunately, pricing for Apple TV Channels was also not shared in the keynote.
Finally… Apple TV Plus
While Apple introduced its TV Channels service, there was an even bigger surprise named Apple TV Plus. Through this Plus package, Apple will bring original programming. Unfortunately, the company did not provide many details other than several shows that actors and actresses announced at the keynote, and the fact that the service will be available online and offline for your viewing pleasure.
For majority of the keynote, Apple introduced directors, actors, and actresses to help Apple unveils TV Plus content, including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg, Jason Momoa, Steve Carell, Alfre Woodard, Sesame Street’s Big Bird, and Kumail Nanjiani.