Apple just wrapped up its services event, giving us nearly two hours of news -- well, more like an hour-plus of news and 45 minutes of details on its forthcoming original programming. Still, there's a ton to unpack, even though the vast majority of Apple's announcements won't be useful for you, dear reader, until later this year. We'll run all the major details down here, as well as when you can give these new subscription services and apps a shot.
Apple News+, a new magazine subscription app, arrives today for $9.99 per month
- Apple News+ is a bundle of 300 magazines as well as some additional digital news subscriptions for the Wall Street Journal, LA Times and the Toronto Star. All that content will be available to subscribers for $9.99 per month, and Apple is offering a free month trial for starters. It'll work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac after you update your OS.
- As in the current News app, Apple News+ will learn what subjects you're interested in and recommend articles and full magazines based on your history. New issues of magazines will be downloaded automatically so that you can read them offline.
- Apple stressed privacy and security in this service, as it has with so many other things lately. The company says it can't see what you're reading and advertisers and publishers can't track what you view in the app.
Apple Card is a digital-first credit card for your iPhone
- Apple Pay has been a major success, so Apple is going forward with its plans to launch a credit card. The card, backed by Goldman Sachs and MasterCard, appears in your iPhone's Wallet app after you sign up; Apple will also mail you a fancy titanium physical card for stores that don't use Apple Pay. You won't be able to sign up until this summer, though, and it's only launching in the US for starters.
- Naturally, the Wallet app shows your card usage in some pretty nice ways. It provides a fast way to see your balance and available credit, spending history, billing details and other things right in the Wallet app.
- Apple has also made it a bit easier to track your spending. Instead of the byzantine lines you'll see on most credit card statements, the Apple Card uses machine learning and Apple Maps to clearly identify names and locations of where the card has been used.
- As with most credit cards in the US, Apple has some cash back rewards. It's called Daily Cash: card owners get 2 percent back on every purchase, and that balance is updated daily, in real dollar amounts. It can be used for statement credits or you can transfer it to a bank or your Apple Pay Cash card. Apple is also giving 3 percent back on anything purchased from an Apple Store or through the company's various digital storefronts (like that New+ subscription).
Apple Arcade is a Netflix for games on all of Apple's hardware
- Apple Arcade wasn't rumored much ahead of today's event, but it's the third new service Apple announced. Coming in the fall in more than 150 countries, it'll give subscribers access to more than 100 games that can be played across the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.
- Arcade games will be found via a dedicated tab in the App Store, and there will be no in-app purchases or ads. Like News+, Arcade will work with Apple's family sharing plans.
- Sadly, there's no word on how much Apple Arcade will cost. But we do know that the sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky -- 15 years in the making -- will be on the platform. As will Where Cards Fall and games from developers including Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman and ustwo.
Apple TV+ is finally revealed with Steven Spielberg, Big Bird, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah and many more
- As we all expected, Apple finally announced its high-level plans for a subscription video service, called Apple TV+. But Apple didn't have a ton of details to reveal about the product just yet. We know it'll work in the TV app for iOS and Apple TV, on the Mac via a forthcoming TV app this fall and on smart TVs that can now run Apple's software.
- There's no price yet.
- Apple flexed its star power today: stars who revealed their projects include Oprah Winfrey (who is making two documentaries); Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Anniston and Steve Carrel (who formally introduced The Morning Show); Alfre Woodard and Jason Momoa (who announced a post-apocalpytic show See); Big Bird and another Muppet-type character and many more. Near the end of the presentation, Apple showed off a slide with dozens more A-listers who've signed on to make shows and movies with the company.
- The whole drama around whether or not Apple had made enough partnerships with existing media companies to go along with its own original service appears to have been completely sidestepped. Apple announced an upgrade to its TV app called "Channels" which basically is another attempt at aggregating all your content from your cable subscription and any premium services you pay for all in one app.