As expected, there were several peaks among today’s presentation from Tim Cook and company, including confirmations of previously rumoured launch details on Apple’s Netflix-esque video streaming service and an equally rumoured Apple News retooling. As has been reported in great detail over the past few years, Apple has been said to be gearing up for a huge push into the streaming video arena for some time now.
“Today, we’re excited to extend our services even further,” Cook said before introducing the next wave of Apple News. Following a reiteration of Apple’s dedication to highlighting news from “trusted” sources, Cook revealed his team’s latest take. “We’re bringing magazines to Apple News,” he announced. “With amazing design and striking photography, in-depth journalism, magazines are iconic and part of our culture.”
The resulting new service is dubbed Apple News+ and will take the feature to a “whole new level.”
A demo of the new subscription service was also offered. Magazines are able to offer readers live covers, which—as with a Live Photo, for example—allows for the cover image to incorporate video.
Promising the “best mobile magazine experience ever,” an Apple News+ subscription will run $9.99 per month and also includes separate digital subscriptions and content from the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. All told, over 300 magazines are included.
Cook then introduced Apple’s effort at changing up the credit card industry, the aptly named Apple Card. “[It] was created by Apple and built on principals that we stand for,” Cook said. Apple Card can be signed up for via phone, with Apple promising receipt of a card in “minutes” if approved. The card acts and stores on the web and is available across all of a user’s devices. A corresponding update to the Wallet app will add a breakdown of your Apple Card history, including payment dates.
The card notably offers extensive cashback benefits and a detailed explanation of the “true cost” of different payment options. There are also said to be “no fees,” including late fees. Apple is working with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard on this endeavor. Additionally, for those situations in which Apple Card via phone is not accepted, Apple will offer physical titanium cards that include no physical card number. The feature is expected to launch within the Wallet app this summer.
From there, the App Store took the mic. Specifically, the wildly popular Gaming segment of the App Store will be receiving some tweaks, with an emphasis on paid games. The new Apple Arcade feature is a mobile gaming subscription service boasting a curated selection of titles.
Apple Arcade lives in the App Store and includes access to over 100 new and exclusive games. The feature launches this fall. Pricing info will be announced soon.
Television, as expected, was next up. “TV, at its best, enriches our lives and we can share it with people we love,” Cook told the crowd. “Today, there is so much to watch in more ways than ever before.”
The new Apple TV app features preexisting cable and satellite TV plans access and a pay-for-what-you-want feature that’s ad-free. Apple TV Channels, which lives in the new Apple TV app, will include content from major players like HBO and more. The main goal appears to be making the Apple TV a user’s go-to for television matters, regardless of their subscriptions. The movies and sports divisions have also been overhauled. The app itself will also be available on the Mac this fall, as well as on Smart TVs. Samsung’s edition launches first this spring. The new app will be available elsewhere in May.
“Apple has always tried to make the world a better place and we believe deeply in the power of creativity,” Cook, introducing the biggest facet to Apple’s push into this world, then said. “Our products help people express their creativity and tell their stories because great stories can change the world.”
Apple TV+ was then unveiled to applause. Steven Spielberg, Octavia Spencer, and J.J. Abrams were among those enlisted via a pre-filmed video segment to introduce the new extension to Apple’s original content empire. Spielberg also appeared in person, addressing the crowd. “My Amblin team and I are going to be resurrecting Amazing Stories,” he said of his entry into the Apple TV+ universe.
Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston took the stage after Spielberg, announcing their new project The Morning Show. “We pull back the curtain on the power dynamics between men and women in the high stakes environment of morning shows,” Witherspoon explained of the project. Their presentation also included a pop-in from Steve Carell, who’s also a part of the project.
Apple wants Apple TV+ to become the go-to destination for the “highest quality originals.” As the first step toward pulling this off, Apple will launch the new feature this fall.
To close out the proceedings, Cook introduced Oprah. “We all crave connection,” she said, introducing two new documentaries she has in the works with Apple, one of which centers on mental health. “We search for common ground. We want to be heard, but we also need to listen.” Oprah is also launching a new book club in collaboration with Apple.