Apple Launches New Services

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Apple announced several new services including Apple tv + with original programming by the likes of Steven Spielberg and Opray Winfrey.

Apple tv + will offer the “highest quality original programming” and the “highest quality story telling,” claimed Apple at a star-studded press event today.  Apple tv + includes original content from Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment. Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston along with Steve Carell are featured in “The Morning Show,” a cultural show on the new service; and Kumail Nanjiani leads a show called Little America, which tells stories about immigrants.  There’s also a Sesame Street-themed show which can help teach pre-schoolers about coding.

Oprah took the stage at the Apple event announcing she joined because Apple is “in a billion pockets.”  She will initially contribute two documentaries; one on mental health and the scourge of anxiety, and another on workplace toxicity. She will also host “the most stimulating book club on the planet,” she said.

Apple tv + will be available on a new Apple TV app. Programming may be watched on and off line, with new shows joining monthly. It starts this fall.

Apple also introduced and updated several other key services.

Apple tv channels

A new service called Apple “tv channels” combines into one app, streaming services, cable channels and iTunes. Users only pay for the channels they want. The app is designed for easy access to its partner channels, which include Starz, Showtime, HBO, corn and more.   Users can watch shows ad-free and on-demand with Siri calling up programming.  The service launches in May and comes to the Mac this fall. Apple tv channels will also come to Smart TVs with Samsung this spring, followed by Sony, LG and Vizio.  It will also be available on Roku and FireTV.

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Apple Pay and Apple Card

Apple CEO Tim Cook, announced a new Apple Card, which he called “the most significant change in the credit card in 50 years.”

Apple Card is iPhone-based and can be used anywhere Apple Pay is accepted.  It gives users free 2 percent cash back on purchases, which is awarded daily. If you buy from an Apple Store or service like Apple Music, the cash back rate is 3 percent.  Apple Card forgoes the usual fees like late fees or a missed payment fee and the interest charged will be among the lowest in the industry, said Apple.  It resides in the Apple Wallet app and will launch this summer with partners Goldman Sachs and Mastercard.

Additionally, Apple announced that Apple Pay will be extended to public transit payments in Portland, OR initially and New York City and Chicago later this year.

Apple Arcade

The Apple App Store is now the largest gaming platform in the world, said Cook.  Over 1 billion games have been downloaded from the App Store, which offers 300,000 games.

Today, Apple announced an original game subscription service called Apple Arcade. It’s “the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room,” claimed the company. It is a collection of games that are backed by Apple, which is working directly with developers.  It will include 100 new and exclusive games and will appear as a new section of the App Store.

It will be available starting this fall with pricing to be announced.

Apple News

In other services, Apple announced its Apple News service is now the number one news app with 5 billion articles read every month.  Apple announced it is adding magazines to the service with 300 magazines at launch as well as the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

The new magazine service is called Apple News + at $9.99 per month with family sharing at no extra charge. The service launched today.

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