Editors' Note: This article was originally posted on Feb. 12, and updated at 4:33 p.m. ET on Feb. 13 to include information on the video streaming service that could also be announced on March 25.
Apple is reportedly planning a March event at its Cupertino, Calif., campus. But new hardware like the rumored AirPods update, the long-awaited AirPower charging pad or any new phone, tablet or Mac models aren't on the agenda.
Instead, the March 25 event would focus on subscription services, according to Buzzfeed, which broke the story yesterday (Feb. 12) citing sources close to the matter. Specifically, Apple is rumored to be planning a $10-a-month subscription tier for its News app that would include stories normally tucked behind paywalls.
If a paid news service doesn't sound like much to support an Apple product event, it's just one of the things Apple is working on as part of a push to expand subscription services. The company also has a streaming video service in the works, with reports from earlier this year suggesting Apple is eyeing a mid-April launch date. That service would reportedly provide original content for free if you've bought one of Apple's devices.
Bloomberg today (Feb. 13) reported that Apple's planned video service would be part of the March 25 event alongside its subscription-based news offering.
It may seem odd to hold a hardware-free event, but it makes sense in light of recent shifts in Apple's strategy. The company has placed a greater reliance in boosting revenue from its services division, which includes the subscription-based Apple Music as well as things like the iOS App Store, Apple Pay and iCloud. That's becoming increasing important as iPhone sales, which make up the largest chunk of Apple's revenue, have slowed down.
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In the recent holiday quarter, for example, revenue from iPhone sales fell 15 percent from the previous year. Services grew 19 percent, though, bringing in nearly $10.9 billion in revenue.
Apple apparently hopes to spur that growth even more with its news subscription service. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Apple is pitching its planned service as "Netflix for news," with subscribers paying $10 a month for a curated news feed of stories not accessible in the current News app. Reports claim Apple wants to keep half the revenue from that subscription fee, with publishers getting the rest based on how much time readers spend on their respective stories.
As for its video service, Apple would focus on original content, according to multiple reports on the company's plans. Reportedly, you'll have the option to subscribe to programming from the likes of Starz, CBS and other sources, though CNBC says that HBO isn't among them, at least not initially.
We'll know soon enough whether this March 25 event is a go or not, as Apple would likely issue invitations to the press anytime fro the end of February of the first week or so of March.