Apple targets payments, news, TV and videogames in event detailing new subscription services
Apple Inc. deepened its push into services on Monday, announcing a credit card launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as well as new streaming services centered on news, videos and gaming.
The company’s announcements were largely expected but nonetheless show Apple’s AAPL, -1.21% commitment to bolstering its services offerings as its core revenue stream — iPhone sales — faces a tough path toward growth. Though Apple didn’t disclose pricing for most of the services, the company is looking for ways to boost recurring revenue and further drive loyalty to its ecosystem of products.
Here’s everything Apple announced at its Monday event:
Apple’s efforts with video programming are twofold: The company intends to make it easier for users to purchase subscriptions to services like HBO and Showtime through its new Apple TV offering, and the smartphone maker will also provide original content with big-name stars on a Netflix-like NFLX, +1.45% streaming service called Apple TV+.
Apple gave a preview of some of its new programming during the event, inviting stars of its various original shows to speak more about their work. Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell discussed their new series “The Morning Show,” and Oprah Winfrey took the stage to talk about two documentaries she’s working on as well as her plans for a televised book club.
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Traditionally, the tech giant hasn’t made it easy for users to access their Apple content through other companies’ services, but it will be changing its approach with the latest updates to the Apple TV offering. The service will work on Roku Inc. ROKU, +4.68% and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.54% smart devices and also be accessible on certain smart TVs, while other streaming services will be available in the app.
Apple left out arguably the most important detail of its new service: the price. There has been debate among the rumor mill about whether Apple plans to offer its original shows for free to Apple TV users or whether it will charge a fee. Users may have to wait until the fall, when Apple TV+ launches, to find out the answer.
Apple also plans to launch a streaming service for videogames, though the product seems mainly focused on independent studios. Arcade, the new service, will feature “over 100 new and exclusive games” and will be free of both ads and in-game purchases. Participating publishers include Bossa Studios, Klei Entertainment, Mistwalker Corp. and Snowman. Big publishers Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI, +0.23% , Electronic Arts Inc. EA, -0.60% and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. TTWO, +0.01% don’t appear to be a part of the package.
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Arcade will launch in the fall and will be playable across Apple devices, including Apple TVs. The company didn’t release pricing information for this service.
Apple will bundle subscriptions to more than 300 magazines as well as certain content from The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times in a new offering, which will cost $9.99 a month. Vogue, The Atlantic, National Geographic and Golf are among the participating magazines. Apple will allow subscribers to share the new Apple News+ service with their family members.
The company will allow viewers to browse subscription content by issue and also provide them with targeted story recommendations from across publications based on topics that they’ve read about in the past. News+ will also feature animated magazine covers to take advantage of the digital platform.
After experimenting with peer-to-peer payments and other forms of mobile payments, Apple is trying its hand at physical cards. The company announced the Apple Card, a titanium credit card with digital components, which users can apply for via their iPhones.
The Apple Card offers a cash-back rewards program, giving cardholders 1% back on general purchases, 2% back on Apple Pay purchases and 3% back on purchases made within the Apple ecosystem. Rewards will be transferred to the Cash Card, a digital card that’s part of the Apple Wallet and that can be used wherever Apple Pay is accepted.
Apple promises to be more transparent than other card companies about various aspects of spending, including by providing more precise details about where purchases are made and giving a simple, on-device view of purchase history. The company will also let cardholders interactively visualize the impact of credit-card payments of various sizes. The Apple card has no annual, late, international or over-the-limit fees, according to a release. Cardholders can receive support for customer-service inquiries via text.
Users will get a titanium card once they are approved. Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs GS, -0.24% and Mastercard Inc. MA, -0.15% on the card, which will be available this summer.
Apple stock ended the day’s session down 1.2% at $188.74. Shares have gained 14.4% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.08% has gained 8.2%.
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