Editors' Note: Updated at 4:17 p.m. PT with the release of iOS 12.2, which brings Apple News+ support.
It was a big day for Apple today (March 25), as the company held its Show Time press event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, introducing a ton of new services from a subscription news offering in its News app for iOS and Macs to original content coming via Apple TV+. We also heard about a premium game subscription service in Apple Arcade and a comprehensive credit card replacement in Apple Card.
To rewatch the event, you can head to Apple's web site, where the company has a video of its announcements. You'll need a Mac running Safari on macOS 10.12 or later or an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12. PC users can watch on a Windows 10 machine. If you've got an Apple TV, just launch the Events app to follow the stream.
Here's a closer look at everything Apple announced during today's event.
Apple will work together with some of Hollywood's greatest creators in order to create original stories in Apple TV+. Among the Hollywood heavyweights to take the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater were Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, Kumail Nanjiani Sara Bareilles , J.J. Abrams and Oprah Winfrey. And that's just a sampling of the extensive library of original content Apple is lining up for Apple TV+
Apple TV+ will be available via the Apple TV app, and will be available as an ongoing subscription service. Customers will be able to stream content, or download it to watch at their leisure. The service will be available this fall, with a price to be determined.
Apple TV Channels
Original programming isn't the only change coming to Apple's video offerings. For the first time, Apple will soon offer standalone channels through its Apple TV app. (You could watch standalone channels before, but you couldn't buy them directly from Apple.) Whether you subscribe through standalone services, or full-fledged cable replacements, you'll be able to find your content in Apple TV Channels. Services such as Amazon Prime, CBS All Access and Showtime are present and accounted for.
In other words, the Apple TV app will continue aggregating content, much as it has always done. The service will be better at keeping track of both the movies and TV shows you're watching, holding your place in unfinished media, and personalizing your recommendations as you watch more and more content.
Apple will also add a new Kids section, which will aggregate popular content from PBS, Disney and other kid-friendly providers.
The new TV app will come to iOS and Apple TV this May, and MacOS (for the first time) this fall. The service will also be available on smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio. Roku and Amazon Fire TV will also have access to the Apple TV app.
Apple Arcade is a new service aimed at mobile gamers that will help users connect with higher-quality paid games, as opposed to the more popular freemium offerings on iOS. Apple Arcade will work with iOS, MacOS and Apple TV.
The service will offer more than 100 games that are either exclusive, or at least not available on any other mobile platform. Save data will carry over across devices, and each game will also be playable offline (perhaps sometimes in limited capacities). There are no ads, and no DLC packs to buy — everything will be included in Apple Arcade.
The service will be available this fall, with pricing details to be determined.
Apple Pay will soon be accepted for public transit in Portland, Chicago and New York City. But that's not the biggest feature coming to Apple's mobile wallet this year.
The company will also offer Apple Pay's functionality as a standalone credit card service. The service will be called Apple Card. Users can sign up for Card on iPhones, and use it within a few minutes of applying. Card automatically becomes part of the Wallet app, and is accepted wherever Apple Pay is.
Apple will work in conjunction with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard in order to make the Card a reality. The Card will also be able to give you plain English explanations of the companies and locations where you spent money. With the Wallet app, people can also track how much they spent on various services, such as Food and Drink.
Apple Card will offer cashback rewards in the form of Daily Cash. Users will get 2 percent of any purchase at Daily Cash, which they can spend any way they choose.
You can also decide how much to pay in any given cycle, as well as how frequently to pay. This can help users select the right level of interest to suit their needs. There are no late fees, no annual fees, no international fees, and no overlimit fees. How Apple plans to make the Card as profitable as a traditional credit card is anyone's guess.
The Card will also come as a physical design, with no card number, no CVV, no expiration date and no signature. This could make purchases more secure — but it could also make tasks like online shopping less convenient. The service will be available this summer.
Tim Cook has lauded the reliability and curation behind Apple News. By at least one metric, Apple News is the top source for news consumption in the United States.
Apple News will now support magazines as well, with current issues and full-color photography, as part of a newly launched subscription service costing $9.95 a month. (The first month's free, according to Apple.) You can try out the service now, with today's release of iOS 12.2, which adds News+ to the existing News app.
Among the magazines included in News+ are Time, Vogue, People and others — in fact, Apple News+ will launch with more than 300 magazines representing fashion, news and politics, lifestyle, health, travel, cars and just about anything else you'd find on a physical newsstand. A few newspapers will be available, too, including The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Apple says it won't allow advertisers to track users through News+, and Apple assured users that it would not be able to track what they read. We will have to wait and see how the company pulls that off.
For now, Apple News+ is only available in the United States and Canada, though it will come to Australia and the U.K. later in 2019.
About Apple Services
The announcements today are part of Apple's push to bolster its services, which already included the App Store, Apple Pay, iCloud and others. Cook provided some insight to the functionality behind Apple devices, which he summed up as follows:
- Easy to use
- Attention to detail
- Private and secure
- Expert curation
- Family sharing