Apple unveils streaming service

 

Apple has revealed to the world its brand new video streaming service in a star-studded event at its California headquarters early this morning.

If this isn't the dawning of a new era for the tech giant, it's certainly the start of a very important new chapter.

As media filed into the Steve Jobs theatre this morning, the excitement and intrigue was palpable. Sure, after spending more than $1.3 billion on producing original content in the past year or so, plenty of details had leaked out.

But there was an understanding that this was different.

The company has only used the venue named after its famous co-founder twice since it opened two years ago. To debut the iPhone X, and when it launched the iPhone XS and latest version of Apple Watch.

This time Apple was swapping gadgets for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. In lieu of smartphones, we got celebrities.

But first there were plenty of new and improved Apple services to announce. Strolling onto the stage, Apple CEO Tim Cook launched straight into the importance of Apple's services. "That is what today is all about," he said.

Here's everything you need to know.

APPLE NEWS +

Apple created its News App three years ago, turning the tech giant into the curator of online news for those who use the iOS app.

The company is now taking that a big step further with a paid subscription called Apple News+ which includes magazine subscriptions.

A year after acquiring Texture, an online service that gives users access to hundred of magazines, Apple is weaving it into its Apple News app. It gives users cover to cover access to 300 magazine titles.

They include the world's biggest magazines including Time, The Atlantic, Men's Health, National Geographic, Esquire, The Hollywood Reporter, Wired, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Popular Science and Marie Claire.

"Apple News plus is the only place where you will find all these magazines in a single package," Apple's Roger Rosner said.

The subscription will cost $9.99 a month in the US so Australian prices are probably going to be about $12 to $15 a month. But it comes with family sharing for free.

It is available today in the US and will be rolling out to Australia in the Spring. We will be among the first to get it, along with Canada and the UK.

While the likes of New York Times and Washington Post opted not to take part The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal are on board with Apple News + making their content available.

For news junkies with an iPad, it's easy to see how appealing this will be.

AN APPLE CREDIT CARD

Apple is a moving further into the financial world with a digital credit card service. The Apple wallet is about to become a bit more like a real wallet with the company's credit card service.

"There's some things about the credit card experience that can be so much better," Mr Cook told the audience, a better interest rate among them, he said.

The card is designed to giver you a "better understanding of your spending so you can make better choices with your money," Apple said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Steve Jobs Theatre during an event to announce new products Monday, March 25, 2019, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Steve Jobs Theatre during an event to announce new products Monday, March 25, 2019, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

 

It uses machine learning and Apple maps to transform the mess of credit card statement into something that is easy to read. Uses can keep track of your spending via categories.

Goldman Sachs is the bank that stand behind the Apple Card and Apple has partnered with Mastercard to ensure it will be widely accepted.

Apple card has no late fees, no annual fees, no International fees and a low interest rate. It also gives users real cash back of 2 per cent of every purchase which goes directly into your account to be used however you want.

APPLE TV +

Apple is launching a content subscription service within a revamped TV app complete with original and exclusive movies and TV shows coming later this year.

To spruik the company's push into original content, Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, the star of Aquaman Jason Momoa, comedian and writer Kumail Nanjiani and even Big Bird appeared on stage.

Aniston, Witherspoon and Carrell will feature in a comedy drama about a morning TV show coming exclusively to the app. "All of this has brought me back to television and I'm really excited about it," Aniston told the audience.

Meanwhile Nanjiani is teaming up with his wife from The Big Sick to produce a show about immigrants coming to America called Our Little America.

"The opportunity to work with these artists is truly inspiring" Mr Cook said.

The headline at of the service is Oprah, however. The TV icon got a standing ovations from some this morning.

Apple's streaming service, "allows me to do what I do in a whole new way and take it to a new level," Oprah told the audience.

"Because they're in a billion pockets ya'll," she said. "A billions pockets."

And that represents a lot of opportunity for "compelling conversations" she said.

Oprah is working on two heavy-hitting documentaries for the service, one exploring sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and another which focuses on mental health and addiction.

"If we do our jobs right, we're going to replace shame and stigma with wisdom compassion and honesty."

Pricing and availability for the Apple TV+ video subscription service will be announced later this spring.

A NEW APPLE TV APP

Apple has revamped its TV app. the newly designed Apple TV platform will host Apple's original and exclusive shows as well as integrating other streaming services into an easy-to-use ecosystem of content from news, sports and entertainment.

It has partnered with pay TV providers and streaming services to allow it to host streams within its app rather than kicking you out the third party apps like it has previously had to do.

The idea being that it will be a portal to all your entertainment needs but big services like Netflix won't be available.

"With so many choices sometimes it's hard to know where to start, that's why we created the Apple TV app," Mr Cook said.

It rolled out three years ago but has struggled to realised the vision Apple wanted for it - until now.

"We designed a new TV experience where you can pay for only the channels you want, all in one app," said Apple's vice president of services Peter Stern, .

"Watch everything on demand and ad free. Download your shows and take them on the go ... This is how TV should work."

It is also bringing the Apple TV app to Mac and smart TVs. The company recently announced an iTunes Movies and TV app for Samsung and it will soon roll out on LG, Sony and other smart TV manufacturers.

Apple is also set to launch a new gaming subscription platform called Apple Arcade to launch later this year.

APPLE ARCADE

Apple is also set to launch a new gaming subscription platform called Apple Arcade sometime later this year.

It will live in the App Store with its own dedicated tab and let subscribers play games across all of their iOS and Mac devices.

Mostly targeted at kids and teens, the service will have more than 100 games that aren't on any other platform or subscription service, said Ann Thai, senior product marketing manager of the App Store.

"This games are insanely fun and will appeal to the kid in all of us," she said.

You will be able to play games on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV and pick up where you left off when switching between devices. And the games will be available to be played offline.

Apple Arcade available later this year in 150 plus countries including Australia. Pricing details still to come.

The author travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Apple.



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