Apple moves into TV streaming services

Last night saw a change of direction for Apple with the announcements of a new TV streaming platform, a gaming portal, an enhanced news app and a credit card.

The event, which was held in California, saw a number of celebrities take to the stage to make some of the announcements. Apple chief executive Tim Cook opened the event and made it clear that the announcements made would be about new services instead of new devices.

With sales of iPhones dropping over the last couple years, there has been speculation that Apple will be turning its main focus away from smartphones and changing its direction towards services. 

Peter Stern talks about the new Apple TV app, coming in May. Photo: Apple

One of the announcements made last night was the highly anticipated TV streaming service, competing with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. However, unlike its competitors Apple TV+ is a subscription service only showing Apple originals. 

Revealed by Steven Spielberg, the Apple TV+ app will launch this autumn and Spielberg himself will be creating some material for the new platform. 

The new app, which is only available through apple’s TV app rather than being standalone, will be made available for the first time on rival devices including smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio in addition to Amazon’s Firestick and Roku. 

Apple has said that the streaming service will be ad-free and it’s planned to launch in over 100 countries. The company will unveil costs and details for Apple TV+ when it launches this autumn. 

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston on stage at Steve Jobs Theatre. Photo: Apple

Along with the announcement of the TV streaming service, Apple also announced Apple Arcade, a new games platform that will offer over 100 exclusive games from the app store. 

Differing from Google’s streaming gaming platform Stadia, Apple Arcade games will be playable offline. 

Subscription fees haven’t been announced yet, but the platform will be launched in 150 countries this autumn.

The company also unveiled Apple News+, a new service giving users access to more than 300 magazines for £7.50 per month. This service is available immediately in the US and Canada and will come to Europe later this year.

Roger Rosner presents Apple News+, a new subscription service that offers a personalised, curated experience within the Apple News app. Photo: Apple

Lastly, and perhaps most surprising of all the announcements, is the Apple Card. 

Apple Card is a credit card which can be used anywhere apple Pay is available. It will be available on the iPhone and as a physical card. 

This new upgrade to Apple Pay allows users to check what their spending in a quick and easy way. It also promises cashback incentives on every purchase made with the card and will have no late fees, annual fees or international fees.