On March 25, 2019, Apple held a special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino that was aptly called an "Apple Special Event." Unlike most conferences that Apple holds, there weren't any hardware announcements. Instead, this was all focused on new services being launched by the company.
None of the announcements really apply to Android, but if you want an idea of what our iPhone-touting friends have to look forward to, here's a quick breakdown of everything that was announced.
The Apple News app has been around for a few years as a way to find the latest news from a plethora of outlets, but with Apple News+, Apple's now integrating digital magazines into the experience.
Magazines have been designed to work seamlessly on supported devices, making it easy for photos to pop, browse through what's included in an issue, and more.
Apple News+ costs $9.99/month and gives you unlimited access to over 300 magazine subscriptions — including the likes of National Geographic, Time, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, and much more. In addition to all of those magazines, you'll also get access to The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Apple now has a credit card — seriously. It's called Apple Card, and it honestly sounds kind of interesting.
You'll apply for Apple Card on your iPhone, and if you're accepted, you'll get instant access to it through Apple Pay. There aren't any fees, Apple's promoting low interest rates, and you'll get unlimited 2% Daily Cash (essentially cash back) on all purchases and 3% back on purchases direct from Apple (at Apple Stores, App Store payments, etc.)
While it's clear that Apple wants you to primarily use Apple Card with Apple Pay, there is a physical card you can also get. You'll only get 1% cash back when using it, but it's made out of titanium and has a laser-etched Apple logo on it.
Following up on Google's announcement for Stadia last week, we now have Apple Arcade. Rather than competing with Stadia's ambition of being a go-to game streaming service, Apple Arcade is designed to give you access to over 100 exclusive games for an unknown subscription fee.
Apple Arcade games can be played on your iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, and Apple TV. They can be downloaded to be played offline, are promoted as offering all-new gaming experiences, and the service will be ready in Fall 2019.
Apple TV Channels / Apple TV+
Just like the rumors suggested, Apple used its event to talk about its new TV streaming efforts. This took the form of two announcements — Apple TV Channels and Apple TV+.
Apple TV Channels is essentially a repackaging of premium channels such as HBO, Showtime, Starz, Epix, CBS All Access, and more. The channels and all of their content are integrated directly into the new Apple TV app. Speaking of the Apple TV app, it's being expanded to smart TVs from Samsung, Vizio, LG, and Sony as well as Roku and Amazon TV devices.
Apple TV+ is an extension of the Apple TV app and is where you'll gain access to all of the company's original programming. Apple's promoting it as the go-to destination for the world's best storytellers, and while we do know that it's launching sometime in the fall, we aren't sure how much it'll cost.
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