A Apple live event is always a big deal. If you have the Apple TV, they have a channel where you can view all their events. This event was speculate to be about the media division. As many know, Apple is slowly pulling away for their technology devices, since the mobile market is slowing, and switching gears to maintain a steady revenue stream. It didn’t seems to disappoint.
Apple was quick to take on their news app. If you have an iPad or iPhone, you probably used the app for a great assortment of news based on the publications you enjoy. You can tailor it to the types of categories you like to read about. Personally, I have used Google News, SmartNews, and some others, but have found Apple News to be the best as far of layout, content, and accessibility.
While they may have streamlined the content a bit more with a re-design, they have an upgraded version called Apple News+. This is their magazine subscription service that will have over 300+ magazines in total and will be available for a single $9.99 monthly fee. However, the app can be shared on a family plan for that one price. Another benefit is that the magazines will not be able to track what you read. Privacy is one of the highlights of this event.
Apple News+ is available today, with a free first month. It’s launching in the US and Canada in English and French. There’ll be 30 Canadian magazines plus the Canadian newspaper, The Star. It’ll arrive in Europe and Australia later this fall, starting with the UK.
Apple Credit Card
Apple is releasing its own credit card. Apple Card promises to make the most of the company’s privacy, simplicity and (of course) integration with your iPhone. You can sign up for the Goldman Sachs-backed card directly from your device (it’ll be useful right away), and it’ll appear in an updated version of the Wallet app that can show your latest bills, transactions and spending history. Naturally, you can use Messages to ask for customer service.
Security is unsurprisingly important. The virtual version of the card’s data is stored in the same iPhone security chip that handles Apple Pay, and Apple doesn’t know anything about your purchasing history. It also promises that Goldman Sachs won’t share or sell your data to third parties for marketing.
There are financial incentives to use the card. There are technically no fees (not even international or over-the-limit fees), interest rates are “low,” and clear reward programs. Daily Cash, for instance, gives you 2 percent cash back the same day you make any Apple Pay purchase (3 percent if it’s for purchases from Apple) rather than making you wait until your billing period is over.
You will find a bit of a gotcha: while it’s true that you won’t deal with fees if you miss a payment, you will see “additional interest accumulating toward your balance.” You’ll still have to catch up if you slip behind, in other words.
The card won’t be limited to the digital realm. The company is prepping a real-world credit card made from titanium (yes, really) that has no long card number, signature or other potentially identifying info. If a store can’t handle Apple Pay, then, you have a way to use your card without fear that a thief could make easy use of it. All of your identifying info will sit in the Wallet app, after all.
Apple Card launches in the US this summer. There are still many unknowns, but it’s safe to say this is uncharted territory for the company. While it already dipped into finance with Apple Pay Cash, it’s now providing the same kind of service you’d expect from a bank, not a tech giant.
Apple Pay for Public Transit
Apple announced today that Apple Pay will be coming to mass transit systems in major US cities later this year. Portland, Chicago and New York City will be the first to support the payment service, which will allow passengers to quickly pay fares with their iPhone.
Apple Pay for public transit isn’t totally new, but it is new to the US. Subways and rails in London, Moscow, Tokyo and Guangzhou all support the ability to pay for fares with Apple Pay. Transit systems in Shanghai and Bejing allow users to add their pre-loaded transit cards to Apple Pay with a service called Express Transit. It appears similar functionality will be provided for riders of US metro systems.
A number of cities in the US have been gearing up for wireless payment services. New York City announced in 2017 that it would be moving away from MetroCards in favor of tap-to-pay turnstiles. Likewise, Los Angeles has been working toward introducing Apple Pay support.
As part of its big push into subscription services today, Apple announced Apple Arcade. From the sound of things, it’s going to be a “Netflix for games” that lets users pay a monthly rate to play as many different participating games as they want. And from the sound of things, it’ll work on the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. For starters, more than 100 new and exclusive games will be included. It’ll live inside the App Store as its own dedicated tab, rather than launching as its own app.
As with Apple News+, Apple Arcade works with family sharing — so you can buy once and share the service with your family. Once signed up, there are no ads and no additional purchases needed in any of these games. And to keep kids from playing too much, parental controls will be available inside the Screen Time tool in settings. And if you’re a frequent traveler, all these games will be available offline as well.
Apple says that it’s not only curating the games it offers in the Arcade, it’s also contributing to development costs and “working closely with creators” to bring these games forward. As for the studios involved, Apple cited Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman and ustwo as its first development partners.
When Apple Arcade is ready, it’ll launch in more than 150 markets, but it won’t be out until this fall. At the Apple live event, there aren’t any pricing details, either — we’ll, unfortunately, have to wait a while to try this out.
Apple TV Channels
With Apple TV Channels, the company has created a way for you to pick and choose your favorite networks and watch everything within its TV app. The selection includes traditional channels like CBS and Comedy Central, premium networks like HBO and Showtime, as well as online streaming services like Brit Box and Acorn TV. On top of giving you a single spot to watch all of this content, you’ll also be able to download shows and movies to your devices to watch online.
For the most part, Apple TV Channels seems more about organizing your streaming media, instead of giving you something truly new. Apple is pitching it as an alternative to services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, which offer cable TV channels in bundles. By offering an a la carte alternative, it could save some viewers money. Of course, the participating networks also have their own Apple TV apps, but jumping between isn’t exactly seamless, something that Channels would also solve.
It’s also bringing the “TV” app to Macs and smart TV brands, so you’ll be able to watch Apple Channels on devices beyond your iPhone and iPad. Back at CES, we were surprised to see AirPlay headed to several major smart TV makers, as well as iTunes on Samsung TVs, so it’s not a huge surprise to see Apple expanding its reach even further. The Apple live event didn’t offering any pricing details yet for Channels.
On stage at today’s “show time” event, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple TV+, an ad-free subscription home for the company’s new push into original content. With the Apple TV app now extending onto other smart TV platforms while collecting shows and movies from other outlets into Channels, it’s giving people even more of a reason to stick with Apple by adding exclusives you can’t get anywhere else. According to senior VP Eddy Cue, “Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet.”
We’ve heard a lot about its content buying spree over the last year or so before the Apple live event, but on stage, execs kicked things off with a video featuring big names like Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Octavia Spencer. Spielberg himself appeared on stage first to talk about Apple TV+ and the stories he wants to tell.
Apple TV+ is a subscription service with no commercials that will launch in over 100 countries this fall, full of original content from many big names in entertainment. Whenever it launches, all of the new TVs with support for AirPlay will be able to stream its videos, and once they have the Apple TV app it will be home to this service, the new Channels and all of your purchased videos from iTunes. What we don’t know yet is how much it will cost, and in a press release, Apple said that info will come in the fall.
Those are the highlights of the Apple live event. Let us know what you think about these in the comments and we will definitely be talking about this on next week’s episode of The Lazy Geeks.