Apple Bets Big On Services

Today was one of Apple’s famous events. But not one piece of hardware was announced. Instead it was all about services. What services you ask? Here’s the list:

  • Apple News+ was first up with a rollout in Canada in both English and French. The Toronto Star is along for the ride as well as 300 magazines that Apple got access to when they bought Texture. The LA Times and Wall Street Journal are included with Apple News + as well. And they were really pushing the privacy angle as advertisers can’t track you if you use Apple News +. It’s $9.99 a month with family sharing being an option. You need to be running iOS 12.2 or macOS 10.14.4 to get it which are both available today.
  • On the Apple Pay front, Apple Pay for use with public transit is coming to three cities in the US this year. Those cities are NYC, Portland, and Chicago. No word on other cities just yet. But I am pretty sure that one of them isn’t Toronto.
  • Apple is coming out with a new credit card called Apple Card. Apple Card has a rewards system called Daily Cash which pops up every day and it gets put onto your Apple Pay Cash card. Which of course we don’t have in Canada. It’s 2% of the purchase. Unless you buy from Apple which makes it 3%. Apple scores points for making it clear how much you owe and how to pay your Apple Card outstanding balance back. Kudos to them. Plus it’s got no fees. Plus they claim to have low interest rates. Goldman Sachs and MasterCard are partners with Apple on Apple Card. It’s secure via unique device numbers and authorization codes. And it’s locked down via FaceID or TouchID. Plus it’s private as it is local to the device. And no selling to advertisers.And you’ll get a cool looking physical Apple Card made of titanium. With No card number, no CCV, no signature. But you only get 1% daily cash if you use it. It’s coming this summer.
  • Apple Arcade which is their game subscription service was announced. The collection is curated and backed by Apple. There was a clear shot at the Google gaming service by mentioning that games can be played offline. Apple Arcade will be available this fall with pricing to come then. It will be available in 150+ countries.
  • There’s a new Apple TV app which will allow you to get movies, TV and sports in one app. And you can pick and choose watch you pay for. Ad free and they can be downloaded to your devices. That service is called called Apple TV Channels. It is coming this May on iOS and to the Mac this fall. And you will be able to get it in up to 100 countries. If it becomes available in Canada, I would dump Rogers Cable in a heartbeat as this sounds great. One other thing, the Apple TV app will be available to smart tv sets including Samsung, Roku and Amazon. That pretty much means that Apple doesn’t care selling Apple TV devices and this is about you using their services.
  • Apple TV+ which has to be their streaming service is the star of the show and their “Netflix Killer.” On stage were Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa among other who are all bringing or being involved in original content for the service. Price wasn’t discussed, but it’s coming later this year in the fall.

Also Apple released iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, tvOS 12.2, and iOS 12.2 for the HomePod. Missing from that list was watchOS 5.2. Which I suspect is coming tomorrow as multiple sites are reporting that the ECG functionality may be coming to the European Union and it requires watchOS 5.2. If I look at the launch of the ECG functionality in the US, it was done the day after the release of the other software updates. So I wouldn’t be shocked if that were the case here. Also missing was AirPower, though that may be close as well. Finally, no word on a new iPod Touch which would dovetail nicely with Apple Arcade, plus it hasn’t been updated in a very long time. But what is clear is Apple has made a major shift from hardware to services. The question is, will it pay off?

The video of the event is here.


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