Last Monday, Apple unveiled a new video streaming service with a parade of celebrities rarely seen on a stage outside of Hollywood’s awards season, with heavyweight directors like Steven Spielberg and J. J. Abrams, and celebrities like Octavia Spencer, Oprah Winfrey, and Jennifer Aniston.
Oprah Winfrey served as the closer for the two-hour long event at the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple’s campus. “They’re in a billion pockets, y’all,” Ms Winfrey said of Apple’s global reach. “A billion pockets!”
After years of record profits, the iPhone manufacturer is slowing down. Phone sales are cooling, and despite the relative popularity of products like the Apple Watch, the next big thing has eluded the Silicon Valley giant.
Just shy of another game-changing gadget and facing tough competition from rivals like Amazon and Netflix, Apple is now trying to make sure you never leave all those Apple devices you have acquired over the years. The company unveiled an expansive strategy to push consumers to do more than just buy its hardware products. It has plans for new monthly subscription services for TV programming, video games, and news, as well as a new credit card.
Apple TV Plus – which is Apple’s alternative to Netflix – will have shows and movies starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Kumail Nanjiani, Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard. At the heart of Apple, TV Plus will be new original programs. It will not carry advertising and will begin this fall in more than 100 countries. It will also include programs from television networks like HBO, Showtime, Starz and CBS.
“In essence, Apple is seeking to become a Netflix of everything in services; music, news and magazines, video and games,” said Paolo Pescatore, a technology, media and telecoms analyst at PP Foresight.
The other service introduced, Apple News Plus is a subscription which will include access to 300 magazines. The subscription will cost $9.99 a month and has already been made available in the United States and Canada. Apple said about five billion articles are read monthly on Apple News. The Wall Street Journal said it’s business stories and analysis would remain exclusive to its paying subscribers, but it sees an opportunity to reach a new category of readers for general interest news.
For video games, the company said it would start a subscription service called Apple Arcade this fall. The company also unveiled a credit card called Apple Card. Working in tandem with Goldman Sachs, the company said the new credit card is meant to work mainly on the iPhone — users can apply for the card on the phone and be instantly approved. The credit card offers a 2% cash back for spending on Apple Pay. Apple touted how it simplified credit card rewards with “daily cash” deposited back into the digital wallet on the iPhone shortly after purchasing an item.