Apple services will personalize the entertainment experience

Kartik Nath, Contributing Writer

Apple held their annual March event at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, CA on March 25, 2019. The company’s service business entered the limelight when Apple introduced: a magazine service called Apple News Plus, a revolutionary new credit card known as Apple Card, the gaming service Apple Arcade, and a video streaming service called Apple TV Plus. This roll-out is part of an effort for Apple to diversify their portfolio, reducing the revenue reliance on electronic hardware. The distinguishing factor that Apple promotes across their services is privacy, highlighting the lack of advertising and lack of personal data collection in their product descriptions.

Apple News Plus, one of the new services, is a $9.99 per month subscription service that lets anyone access articles from different publications including more than 300 magazines. This service is based on the startup Texture, a company that uses a Netflix for magazines model, that Apple bought in 2018. According to Apple’s website, the service offers access to “hundreds of magazines and leading newspapers” with “personalized recommendations” and “online and offline reading across your devices.” Through these services, Apple is monetizing the media industry and capitalizing on their large and loyal fanbase. Nick Statt of The Verge writes in his one-week review of the service that “Apple News Plus is the most comprehensive magazine subscription service on the market”. The biggest question for consumers, as Statt writes in his review, is whether one will actually use the subscription, and if it is worth as much as a Spotify or Netflix subscription, when consumers must fork over $120 a year.

Apple Arcade will make history as the world’s first games subscription model, with the idea of creating an “all you can play” type service. This service will be introduced to the Apple App Store later this fall, to almost a billion active users. According to Apple’s website, the service is one fee for over 100 games that one can “Play Offline, anytime, anywhere” with “No ads” and “no in-app purchases.” Apple has also joined efforts with developers, such as Sega and Disney, to create exclusive games for Apple Arcade, accessible on all Apple platforms including iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. This is part of Apple’s effort to expand the mobile gaming sector and as Tim Cook remarked, “to make gaming even better”.

Apple TV Plus is Apple’s innovative streaming service that will compete with other services, such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime. Subscribers will be able to download top-tier picture and audio quality content and watch offline, accessing many TV channels including services such as CBS All Access. Apple is partnering with many producers and celebrities including famed director Steve Spielberg to create exclusive original shows, movies, and documentaries. Apple’s senior VP for internet development and software, Peter Stern remarked onstage that “[Apple] designed a new TV experience where you can pay for only the channels you want, all in one app, with the password you already have.”

Apple Card is Apple’s redefinition of the credit card, offering a card on the Mastercard network. According to Apple, the card represents all things Apple stands for: “simplicity, transparency, and privacy”. Apple card lives in the Wallet app on the iPhone, and customers will get cash back on their purchases, called “Daily Cash.” Apple card promotes security, utilizing the advanced security features of Apple Pay, and the titanium, laser-etched physical card has no card number or CVV code. Tim Cook says the card would be the “most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years.” The card will be officially released this summer.

The March Apple event is one of four large announcements planned by the Apple executives. In June, Apple is expected to unveil details about the new iOS 15 and other devices. These new products will have large shoes to fill after following the innovative March products.