In Depth

Apple’s March event: a TV service to rival Netflix, a virtual credit card and more

All the latest news from the tech giant’s first keynote of the year

Following years of rumours and speculation, Apple finally unveiled its Netflix-rivalling video streaming service during its first keynote of the year last night.

The event, held at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, saw guest appearances from A-list names such as Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey, who are set to star in original shows that will be aired on the streaming platform.

But the streaming service, which is called Apple TV+, wasn’t the only product to be unveiled. 

The tech giant will also be offering a monthly subscription bundle for digital magazines that will accompany the free Apple News app. In addition, the firm announced it would be launching its first credit card. The new card won’t have a card number or security code.

Here’s a round-up of all the key announcements from yesterday’s event:

Apple TV+

The headline product of yesterday’s event was the new Apple TV+ service. It’s a video streaming platform that’s set to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime video.

Unveiled by Steven Spielberg during the keynote, Apple TV+ will feature content from existing titles, such as Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, as well as original TV shows and movies, says the tech news site Polygon

Spielberg will be relaunching his Amazing Stories series, for instance, an eclectic mix of short tales that originally aired in the mid 1980s, says TechRadar. Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon will launch a new series called The Morning Show, which delves into the “complex relationships between men and women in the workplace”.

The service isn’t exclusive to Apple products. A number of smart TVs from Samsung, Sony and LG will be able to access the service, as well as viewers with an Amazon Fire TV stick. 

Prices have yet to be announced, but Apple TV+ is expected to be a monthly subscription service just like its rivals. 

Apple says the service will launch “in the fall”, which means somewhere between September and November. 

Apple Arcade

Joining Apple’s TV subscription service is a new video gaming membership programme called Apple Arcade.

The service, which Engadget calls the “Netflix for games”, allows gamers to play a host of titles on their iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs as part of a monthly subscription. Gamers will be able to get hold of around 100 titles that are exclusive to the service. More titles are expected in the future. 

Unlike many of today’s console games, where users can spend real-world money to unlock new items, Apple Arcade will only feature titles with “no ads and no additional purchases”, the tech news site says. Controls will allow parents to limit the amount of time their children spend playing games. 

Apple Arcade launches in the autumn. Pricing is due to be revealed at a later date.

Apple News+

Subscription services aren’t just for TV shows and games. Apple News+ is a new monthly membership plan that lets users access over 300 digital magazines from their iPhones, iPads or Mac computers. 

For $9.99 (£7.60) per month, subscribers can flick through articles from magazines such as the Vogue, GQ and Wired without having to sign up to publications individually. One subscription can be shared by up to six people through Apple’s Family Sharing feature and users are given a one month free trial before being billed, says The Verge.

Apple News+ is available in the US and Canada now. A UK launch is expected later this year. 

Apple Card
Apple Card

Apple

Given that Apple’s entire keynote focused on its new entertainment services, the announcement of a new credit card came as something of a surprise. 

Apple Card, which has been created in partnership with Goldman Sachs and MasterCard, takes the form of both a digital and physical payment method. Users can use their credit card by simply going into the Wallet app on their iPhone. A physical, titanium-made card can be used for shops that don’t accept contactless payments. 

The physical card is typically Apple in design. It has an all-white look and has no card or security number imprinted on its surface. There’s no signature on the back, either. The only markings are the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner, a chip and the user’s name etched into the titanium surface, says CNet

There’s no payment upfront and users get cash back when they use the card, the tech site says. For instance, using the physical card will net users 1% cash back on purchases, while digital card payments will get 2%. Meanwhile, users who buy products from an Apple store will get 3% of their purchase back.

Much like a standard credit card, there will be credit limits on Apple’s cards. But these haven’t yet been announced. Nor have the card’s interest rates. 

Apple Card arrives in the US this summer. No mention has been made of a global release.

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