Apple kicked off its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Steve Jobs Theater, Cupertino, California. The March 25th event was inaugurated by Tim Cook, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple who straight away began by saying ,”Today is going to be a very different kind of event.” At the end of the conference, it certainly proved to be an unique presentation amidst the Apple Universe.
Apple finally unveiled its software news with an onslaught of new subscription services. Apple brought subscriptions across news, television, and video games just a week after Google unveiled the Google Stadia at the Game Developers Conference.
The keynote also brought a new business venture for Apple with a new credit card service. All of the above services highlight privacy as Apple’s key differentiator, with each product noting that there will no ads, and your consumption behavior will never be shared with marketers. Interestingly enough, many of the products announced did not receive a live onstage demo, and most will be available much later this year.
Apple has added magazines to the Apple News lineup with Apple News Plus. The $9.99 monthly subscription has been made available, and the price covers family sharing. The first month, as demonstrated by Tim Cook is free for trial purposes.
Apple News Plus displays magazine covers with a new “Live Cover” presentation, lightly enlivening the covers for an interactive texture and feel. Underneath the cover, highlighted stories are listed with short descriptions, and the service recommends the stories an individual might like even if they’re from magazines that he/she doesn’t typically read. One can also browse through magazine subscriptions, and new issues are automatically downloaded for offline reading when they are released.
At launch, subscribers can access up to 300 magazines. Other digital and traditional news partners are part of the service as well, including The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. Apple proclaims privacy in its app, noting that advertisers cannot track what the reader is reading and hence won’t receive targeted ads based on the stories they click on.
Apple News also includes some of the most premium digital subscriptions like the Skimm.
Apple is following Amazon’s footsteps into the World of Credit Cards with the new Apple Card. Unlike traditional applications, an individual can apply directly on the iPhone and, once approved, the card is stored digitally on the Wallet app where statements, balance, and payment due dates can be viewed. The app also tags locations and retailers to help browse through transactions.
The card also generates new security codes each time a person makes a purchase. It doesn’t even have a credit card number, CVV, signature, or expiration date. Details on what has been purchased are also stored locally to, again, prevent potential ad targeting.
The Apple Card, backed by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, also offers a 2 percent cash back reward (3 percent for Apple purchases) that is paid daily into the Apple Pay account that can be used to pay for credit card balance, in-app purchases, or transferring of funds to friends. The card is slated be accepted wherever Mastercard is. Apple will also offer a physical titanium card for real-life uses but rewards for those purchases have been fixed at 1 percent cash back.
According to Apple, there are no late fees or increased interest rates for late payments, but we’ll read the fine details to see if there are limits. The app will offer a wheel that shows how much interest one will end up paying based on the minimum payments he/she makes to help make decisions.
The Apple Card will be available this summer.
The iPhone was never high on the list of traditional gaming devices, but it’s hoping to change that with the new Apple Arcade gaming subscription service. Unlike cloud gaming services announced by Google the week before at GDC, Apple’s version is a subscription to games that are available through the App Store.
The company did not disclose the subscription fee, but it says that it will include access to more than 100 games that are exclusive to iOS. The games can also be played across Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and a Mac computer, and would be available for offline play as well.
APPLE TV CHANNELS
The new Apple TV update will mainly focus on channels like HBO, PBS, CBS, Acorn TV, and Tastemade without paddling users to a third-party app. Called Apple TV Channels, subscribers can choose which channels they’d like to subscribe to and pay per channel instead of a traditional, large package from cable companies. However, the pricing was not shared during the keynote.
The Apple TV app will receive an update for Channels this May. The app will also come to the Mac in the fall, and it will be available through smart televisions, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV starting this spring. Support will expand to more than 100 countries, but the company did not specify a regional launch timeline.
APPLE TV PLUS
In addition to the new Channels service for the Apple TV, there’s also a Plus package for original programming. Apple didn’t announce a lot of details other than the name and that it will be available in the fall with online and offline viewing.
It spent the rest of the time introducing an array of directors, actors, and actresses to help unveil Apple TV Plus, including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg, Jason Momoa, Steve Carell, Alfre Woodard, Sesame Street’s Big Bird, and Kumail Nanjiani.
Famous people laughed, some forced everyone to participate in a light session. Also, Sara Bareilles, an American singer-song writer showed up and sang.
Ultimately, the audiences didn’t get any trailers for any of the individual shows these celebrities came to publicize. There will be an original programme that would include documentaries about immigrant life in America, science fiction about a world where inhabitants are blind, and children’s programming featuring Sesame Street characters. Oprah has two documentaries lined up, highlighting workplace harassment and mental health. More trailers are to come in the fall.
Overall, it stands to be a solid offering especially if an individual already exists in the iOS ecosystem. While some of it may seem similar to other platforms offering similar features to their users, the magazines from Apple News and the original content on Apple TV may separate Apple from its competitors. Although the competitors are offering their own original content, Apple seems to have gone really hard into getting some of the finest names in the industry of content creation.
All in all, it was an unique presentation by Tim Cook as the audiences have never seen such a service based demonstration from Apple before. This can be assumed to be an indicator towards the future of the company
Source: Apple.com, Thrillist, TheVerge
Image Credits: CNET, Apple.com, TheVerge