Apple’s March 2019 keynote has come and gone, and with it came a slew of exciting new software announcements from the tech giant!
The keynote covered major advancements across a number of core Apple products, and then introduced a brand new one – a fledgling credit card service – building off of Apple Pay’s previous success.
If you missed the live announcements, never fear! Here’s our quick round-up of what’s soon to come in the world of Apple.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the topic that stole the show. Apple’s new streaming service, Apple TV+, has swiftly become a major talking point following the keynote, with many excitedly comparing it to other kingpin streaming services, such as Netflix, or Amazon Prime.
Apple called it a new home for some of the world’s most creative storytellers, suggesting that it will be a platform for exclusive new shows, movies and documentaries.
The line-up of writers, actors, and personalities they rolled out to display the level of quality we can expect from original productions was impressively broad. It featured big names such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Octavia Spencer, and more.
The unveiling of the platform was joined by the debut of an all-new Apple TV app, and several newly announced Apple TV channels, slated to release in May of this year.
The new Apple TV app aims to unify video content across all of the company’s hardware platforms; iPhone, iPad, Apple Mac, etc. As early as May, subscribers to Apple TV will be able to access services like HBO, Starz, the Smithsonian Channel, and more – all without needing any extra apps or accounts. Apple has also stated it will feature suggestions for shows and movies from other streaming platforms, like Amazon Prime and Hulu, based on trends in customers’ tastes. Finally, the Apple TV app will now play host to all the media currently in the iTunes store. New content is expected to be added each month.
Apple TV+ is slated to launch in over 100 countries around the world around September, and according to the tech leader’s official press release, this is around about when we can expect pricing information to be released too.
The next major announcement Apple made during their keynote was Apple Arcade. As the name suggests, Apple Arcade is a platform similar to the company’s other media outlets, but will be structured around games.
Apple explained that it will carry an exclusive collection of new games on the storefront. Instead of the current model of the Apple store, customers will pay a subscription in order to be able to access all the games free for further charges. No games on Apple Arcade will include in-app purchases, and Apple announced that the subscription to Apple Arcade covers all future updates to games that it carries also.
At first, many assumed that Apple Arcade would be a mobile-focused product, but the keynote included a few features that imply otherwise. The games on Apple Arcade will be playable offline, and allegedly many of them will also offer controller support. This means we can guess it will also target Apple Mac owners, which is something the company hasn’t done for a while.
Apple Arcade is also planned to be cross-platform, so subscribers can put down a game on their phone, and pick it up in the same place on their Apple Mac.
Potentially the most interesting update, despite being overshadowed by Apple TV+, Apple has also ventured into uncharted territory with Apple Card. They’re calling this a new type of credit card, designed specifically to help its user base be better with their money.
Apple Card is made to integrate with the Apple Wallet app on iPhone, and many of its features are accessible directly through the app.
Those familiar with Apple Pay will essentially find it to be a suite of upgrades for the already popular payment method. These include budget tracking, credit card repayment calculations, and a rewards program called Daily Cash.
Apple Card is carving its own space in the credit card space by offering no annual, late, international or over-limit fees. The company also stressed its focus on privacy and security, which was a common thread throughout all of the product announcements. In this way, Apple seems to be trying to distance itself from other tech giants that have faced recent backlash over privacy concerns. This makes a lot of sense, especially if they want customers to trust them with more financial details than ever.
Beyond the app itself, Apple Card’s most newsworthy feature is its physical embodiment; a titanium card, with the minimalist, sleek design that Apple has been championing for the past several decades. The physical card doesn’t feature any information directly on it – which Apple has touted as a security measure – all the information you need to use Apple Card in a store without Apple Pay is stored right in the Apple Card app.
Finally, Apple also announced Apple News+, another subscription service, rounding out their list of platforms by collating over 300 publications into the Apple News app. Some of the names they dropped included Vogue, Nat Geo, The Wall Street Journal, and the LA Times.
Apple News+ has only been confirmed as available in the US and Canada so far, and the company went out of their way to ensure there wasn’t any mix-up over how the service is evolving; any users in the US and Canada who don’t want to upgrade, along with users in the UK and Australia, can continue to use the free Apple News app as it currently is.
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