Initial Observations on Apple’s “Show Time” Event PP

Apple Event 2019 - Show Time

Apple announced a few new services today, so I’d like to take a moment and write my initial thoughts and observations down whilst they’re still fresh in my mind. I may well flesh this out in a future article.

Apple News+

  • Apple News+ is available for $9.99 a month. Unlike Apple Music, this flat fee covers every family member at no additional cost, so long as Family Sharing is setup. It’s launching today for the US and Canada, but I believe it’s due to reach the UK later in the year
  • Magazines are shown on the Today tab, mixed in with existing news articles, and have their own dedicated page for browsing through all the titles
  • The magazines sport Live Covers. (Think Live Photo’s but for their front page content). It wasn’t made clear whether all magazines will, or must, support Live Covers but a couple were briefly shown on stage
  • Apple made it clear that their new service won’t make compromises on security. “On device intelligence” makes recommendations to you but only after the News app has downloaded content. They went on to stress that there’s no-one who will be able to see what you’re reading, which should satisfy the more privacy conscious readers amongst you
  • On the subject of recommendations, the keynote demonstrated how a publication you might not regularly read could be thrown up as an article of interest. I can see how this may introduce people to magazines they wouldn’t have otherwise touched, extending their readership. That can only be a net win for the publishers

Apple Card

  • Honestly, Apple have introduced a credit card. No, I’m not joking around
  • This is strictly for the US right now. No mention of support in other countries whatsoever
  • This is Apple’s take on the traditional credit card, so as you might expect it’s going to be different. Apple Card is designed to be used from the iPhone primarily. You sign up on device and it’s added to the Wallet, “within minutes”. There was no mention of their approval process, if there is one, but I guess that wasn’t sexy enough for the keynote. (It’s important stuff though, especially if you’re going to consider switching)
  • The Wallet will display all of your transaction data, expenditure trends and information about your balance. If you need more information on a transaction, or need to update your address, a conversation with Apple can be struck via Messages. This is useful information but I hope there’s a way to actually phone someone up. When it comes to money, I want to be able to reach an actual human being if I have a question
  • Apple Card can be used in apps and stores worldwide, wherever Apple Pay is accepted. If you’re looking to pay for something at a venue where Apple Pay isn’t supported, there’s a good old fashioned card to fall back on

 

 

  • Apple Card rewards customers with cash back. Any purchase made with the physical credit card will get 1%, whilst purchases made with Apple Card on iPhone or with Apple Watch get 2%; Rising to 3% when paying for Apple services or subscriptions. If you’re paying for Apple Music or iCloud Storage, there’s a sweetener right there. I reckon it’ll drive adoption for many of Apple’s high spending customers
  • The physical card has the Apple logo in the top left, your name underneath and the chip. That’s it. No long card number, expiry date or CVC code on the back. The information is all held within the Wallet app if you need it, but I appreciate their efforts to minimise physical card fraud. These cards are near enough useless to thieves if they don’t have your PIN

Apple Arcade

  • Apple says there’s approximately 300,000 games on the App Store, many of which aren’t getting the exposure or success they deserve. They are pitching Apple Arcade as a way to get premium, console grade, games at a fixed monthly price
  • Yep, this is (another) subscription that will have about 100 games at launch. Keep in mind they’re only going to be available to play with Apple Arcade, which in a way contributes to the problem Apple said they’ve set out to fix?
  • Offline play is supported across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. (I wonder how many of these games will translate well between touch first, keyboard/mouse and the Siri remote. You can get controllers for Apple TV but they’re a niche)
  • Frustratingly, Apple didn’t announce any pricing or a launch date for Apple Arcade. The only information I can pass onto you is it’ll be reaching 150 countries in the Autumn. They should have had the price ready for the keynote, especially with all the build up these past few weeks

Apple TV App, Channels and TV+

  • A refreshed TV app is coming in May via a software update, which I reckon is needed to access the new Apple TV Channels and TV+ content. Interestingly the TV app is going to be available on the Mac. I’m going to call it now, that the TV app is going to be ‘universal’ like macOS Mojave’s Home, Stocks and Weather apps. It won’t be a ‘native’ application
  • “Pay only for the channels you want”. That’s the elevator pitch for Apple TV Channels. They’ve secured some ‘traditional’ cable and satellite channels like HBO, CBS All Access and Brit Box but it’s thin on the ground. It could expand outwards in the future, but time will tell
  • Apple are going to make this available on smart TV’s too, which is a rare move for them to take. It’s the right one though if their aim is to get as many eyeballs as possible. Look no further than Apple Music on Android
  • Apple TV+ is Apple’s umbrella name for its own content. “A new service dedicated to the best stories ever told”. The vibe I’m getting is that if Apple can’t successfully partner with content providers, then they’re going to head out and create their own. For their sake I hope the content is strong and the library grows out continuously. That’s going to be key in keeping their customers interested
  • When will Apple TV+ be available? How much will it cost? Where will it be launching? None of these questions were answered, which for a keynote announcement comes across as unpolished and half baked. We’re all here to learn about what’s next, but you can’t tell us a lot of the key details?

25 March, 2019