Apple News, Apple TV, Apple Card, Apple Oprah…

Category: Features

Living under a rock? Apple held what I’m sure they’re calling their event of a lifetime with a slew of Hollywood elite in attendance both on stage and in the crowd. From Ron Howard to JJ Abrams to the Aquaman guy, Spielberg, Oprah and more it was a who’s who that only Apple could amass for such an occasion.

Effectively announcing their own film and TV studio Apple unveiled their first (real) foray into the video entertainment space under the banner of “Apple TV +”, a streaming service that would be baked into the new Apple TV app available in over 100 countries (likely including Australia) around October this year. No pricing was offered during the presentation rather it capitalised on the star quality available and highlighted some of the shows they’ve been producing, which will launch with the service.

Shows covered a wide range of viewer demographics including Spielberg’s already known about Amazing Stories return, a “behind the camera” dramatised look at the relationships of men and women on morning TV shows spearheaded by Reese Witherspoon & Jennifer Aniston called The Morning Show and of course Oprah returning to “TV” with two documentary series and a live version of her book club show.

Apple TV App

In addition to the new Apple TV + service the hardware we once new as Apple TV has been effectively digitised into a one stop video app that will not only host Apple’s new content but serve as a hub for all of your digital subscriptions (if you’re an American). The app will also be coming to a wider range of TVs with Apple announcing new installs coming for LG, Vizio and others.

A new a la carte menu effectively allows you to subscribe to the content you want – right down to the granular channel level of your cable provider – and NOT be stuck with “bundles” of unwanted content at elevated pricing.

Cable and digital providers such as dish, Amazon Video, Hulu and more can also be linked into the app and provide a single hub interface to search and browse through all of your available to stream content.

There was no word on finer details and availability but I’d expect this to be heavily US focused for the near and distant futures.

Apple Card

I was not expecting Apple to get into the credit card business. I don’t think anyone was really. But they have and it’s different but it’s something that when examined in detail is just bringing products and services that most first world countries already have available as a part of credit services.

The Apple Card experience looks to me that they’ve taken Up Banking’s approach and just dropped the savings account part. Transactions are listed in the updated Wallet app along with a series of nice graphs and more relevant data as to where you purchased something from instead of the obfuscated incorporated name behind the cafe you just bought a coffee from.

Subscribers will receive a physical card also, a titanium, laser-etched one at that, which I assume has a magnetic strip in it still and only makes me wonder if they contacted Billy McFarland of Fyre Festival fame to obtain the tech used in his metal credit card company prior.

The funniest part of this presentation was Tim Cook speaking to a map where Apple had supposedly introduced the wonders of Apple Pay to with Australia showing a 99% adoption rate. Little does the world know that had nothing to do with Apple Pay.

News +

The announcement of Apple’s News + service was also largely expected and for the most part exactly what the rumours portrayed it to be. An all you can eat buffet of magazine and newspaper subscriptions with some digital ones like TechCrunch and The Skimm thrown in too.

Tent-poled by the inclusion of The Washington Street Journal and the LA Times the News + service will only be available to the US and Canada initially priced at US$9.99/month.

The service can be shared amongst family members and in my mind for its killer feature has NO advertising or tracking. It’s sad that’s such a big deal in 2019.

The demoed issues of National Geographic showed off the many formatting options available to publishers whom are about to embark on the platform including video covers of their issues and the ability to style the articles with the customary fonts and colours. A lot of it reminded me of Adobe’s publishing platform back when the iPad was first released and all the wonderful things magazines could do but ultimately found too hard and just let Apple’s scrapers do the work for you.

No word on an Aussie release, nor any inclusion of Australian media publishers such as News or Fairfax.