Apple’s “It’s Show Time” event has ended, with the company announcing a new on-demand video-streaming service called Apple TV Plus, a subscription news service, an Apple credit card, and more.
Here’s everything we learned about at today’s event:
Apple TV Plus
Apple’s new on-demand streaming service is called Apple TV Plus, and it takes direct aim at Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other streamers. The new service will feature content from artists like Stephen Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Reese Witherspoon, and more.
It will launch in more than 100 countries this fall and feature a quality of content aimed at being on par with the top offerings from Netflix and other competitors. Apple is apparently setting its sights on the same kind of awards show performances that those other tech giants have earned over the past several years.
The company did not announce pricing at the event, but it will likely be on par with Netflix, Hulu, and others.
Apple’s Original Shows
After the initial announcement of Apple TV Plus, the company invited up many creators to talk about their new projects on the service.
First, Spielberg took the stage to discuss the first season of his Amazing Stories project, which will tell interesting stories like that of a WWII pilot who travels through time.
Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon then talked about their new project, The Morning Show. It will showcase the power dynamics and stories behind male/female stars in an imaginary world of morning news. Steve Carrell, who will play one of the lead characters on the show, then joined the pair on the stage.
Jason Mamoa and Alfre Woodard then talked about their new show, See, which will take place in a futuristic world where nobody can see.
Kumail Nanjiani of The Big Bang Theory was up next, His new project will highlight stories from his own life as an immigrant in the United States. Called Little America, the show will focus on the lives of immigrants, with episodes set all over the country.
Big Bird then walked out to announce Helpsters, a new show from the Sesame Street team that will star a helpful new character called Cody, who focuses on teaching children about coding, building, and more.
Sara Bareilles and J.J. Abrams followed Big Bird to talk about a new show called Little Voice, which centers on an aspiring songwriter in New York.
Oprah Winfrey, the last celebrity invited to speak at the event, announced a new documentary project about sexual harassment, a new book club, and a multipart series about mental health.
CEO Tim Cook and the Apple team discussed a new Apple TV app that will feature something called Apple TV Channels, which will allow you to pay for just the content you want, watch everything on-demand and ad-free, and watch online or off. It’s also shareable with the entire family.
Apple TV Channels include Showtime, HBO, and Starz, with the new Apple TV app amalgamating all available shows and movies from whatever services and cable companies to which you subscribe. The new Apple TV app will also suggest new shows and films to watch, using advanced machine learning.
The new Apple TV app will be updated in May, launch on Mac this fall, and also be available on Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio Smart TVs. Roku and Fire TV will also get the Apple TV app. It will be available in 10 countries to start, with a planned rollout to more than 100 countries.
Apple News Plus
The first service discussed by Cook was Apple News. Cook said the service is currently the most-used news app on the web, and that the news service is hand-curated by a team of Apple editors.
To go along with its current assortment of curated articles, Cook announced a new service called Apple News Plus, which will add magazines to its service for a flat monthly fee. Dubbed the “Netflix of news” by some, the new service will allow people to read and dissect even more content than they typically could, all for $10 per month. That price will extend to your entire family, who can access the service on their own devices. More than 300 magazines across a wide variety of topics will be available on the service, including Men’s Health, Vogue, Time, National Geographic, The New Yorker, and more.
In addition to traditional page-by-page views of the magazines, the company will also allow things like moving “live covers” and other specially designed features. The service is available in the United States and Canada starting today, and will come to the U.K. later.
Apple Card, a new service that looks to take the place of the average consumer’s credit card, was also announced at today’s event. Once you sign up on your iPhone, the card is available to use within minutes. It can be used worldwide anywhere that takes Apple Pay, and aims to be a simpler and easier way to manage your payments, interest, and cash back. The cards will feature low fees and interest, with accounts that will be managed by Goldman Sachs. The new Apple Card will be available this summer.
Apple Arcade is a new video game service that will focus on what used to be paid-only games. The subscription service will feature more than 100 new and exclusive games that will be constantly updated.
Games will be available to be played on all Apple devices, and every game will be playable offline. There will be no ads and no additional purchases required.
The announcements of the new services at one of Apple’s signature press conferences signals a major shift in strategy for the tech giant, which has previously been very focused on hardware. In fact, they come just a week after Apple announced several hardware upgrades for existing devices, including iMacs, iPads, and AirPods.
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