Apple Special Services Event: Everything You Need to Know
Apple concluded its Services event and there are a lot of things that we have to cover. From magazines to Apple credit card to games to new TV shows, there is a lot to unpack here. The event was a little drawn out for my test but it was interesting. Apple tried a lot of new things in this event and if you didn’t have the patience to sit through it, here is everything that you need to know.
Announcements at Apple Services Event
1. Apple News+ with Magazine Subscription
The first thing that Apple announced today was a new paid subscription service for its Apple News. Dubbed as the Apple News+, the new service will offer more than 300 magazines for a monthly subscription. All the popular magazines including Vogue, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Frontline, Rolling Stones, and more. Apart from the magazines, Apple News+ will include online publishers such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and more.
To display these new magazines, Apple News will receive an update which will include a new Apple News+ tab which will host all the magazines. The magazines are redesigned for the iPhone and iPad experience and looked gorgeous in the demo. The reading experience was excellent and the photos popped out of the screen. I also loved the animated magazine covers which looked like something out of a Harry Potter movie.
Apple touted its privacy-first approach and announced that no information is accessible either to Apple employees or to publishers. The personal recommendations happen on-device and nothing is stored in the cloud. The Apple News+ will cost $9.99/month. Your whole family can use this with Family Sharing at no extra cost. The service will be exclusive to the US and Canada and will launch in English and French. For Canadian users, Apple News+ will come with 30 additional Canadian magazines and Toronto Star. The service will come to Europe starting with the UK in a few months.
Apple Pay and Apple Credit Card
After the News+ service, we got to hear about the Apple Pay. Apple Pay will pass 10 billion transactions this year which is a big achievement for the company. Apple also announced that the Apple Transit which is a part of the Apple Pay and allows users to pay for transit tickets using Apple Pay in some countries of Europe is coming to the US. It will first come to Portland, New York City, and Chicago and later rolled out to more cities.
For me, the biggest announcement of today’s special event was the announcement of the new Apple Credit Card which Apple is launching in partnership with Goldman Sachs and MasterCard. The Apple credit card which the company is calling Apple Card will change the whole credit card industry. It will solve all the key problems that plague the credit card industry and make it favorable for consumers.
For starters, users can sign up for Apple Credit Card on their iPhone and it will be approved within minutes. The card will live in the wallet app just like other cards. Apple Card will be accepted anywhere in the world where Apple Pay is present. It will offer easier payment options, no late fees or fee of any kind for that matter, assured cash back and more. Here are some of the key things that Apple is focusing on with its Apple Card
Developing Healthy Financial Habits
Apple said that with Apple Card it wants to encourage healthy financial life. To make this dream come true, Apple will offer a number of features aimed at improving users’ financial awareness:
Users will be able to ask for help using iMessage.
Every payment that you make will come with recognizable merchant name and store location.
You can see how much spent at any time in a daily, weekly, or monthly format.
It will automatically categorize all your expenses into color-coded categories like groceries, food, travel, and more to provide you with a better idea of where your money is going.
One of the biggest benefits of using credit cards is rewards. But most credit card companies offer rewards in points or miles and many of us have no idea how to redeem them. Even if we know how to redeem our rewards most of us don’t because of the hoops that credit card companies make us go through to redeem those points. Apple is changing the whole rewards system by making it simple and efficient.
Every purchase that you make using Apple Card will earn your 2% cash back. Whether you are using Apple Card to buying things online or shopping at your local grocery store, you will receive 2% cashback. If you buy something at the Apple Store or any service provided by Apple like App Store, iTunes Store, and so on, you will receive 3% cashback. The cashback will be deposited daily into your Apple Cash account and is real cash. You can send it to friends or use it to pay your bills or anything else that you do with your Apple Cash. For me, this is a game changer.
Apart from the digital card, Apple is also bringing an Apple-designed card made of titanium. The card looks gorgeous in Apple silver color. It will only contain your name and an Apple logo to ensure that your transactions are secure even if you have to use the physical card. The ability to pay with physical card means that you can pay with your Apple credit card even in stores that do not accept Apple Pay. The only thing to note here is that using Apple Card will reduce your rewards down to 1% cashback.
Better Payment Methods
Tim Cook said on stage that Apple doesn’t want you to remain in debt rather it wants you to be able to pay off your debts as quickly as possible. For achieving this, Apple is introducing a flexible payment system where users who cannot pay the full bill don’t have to worry about paying exorbitant interest.
There is no minimum payment system. You can choose to pay any amount that you want. Selecting a payment amount will dynamically adjust the interest and you will be able to see how much interest you will have to pay.
You can pay on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. So, if you come into a little money, you can pay off your debts to save interest.
There is no late fee penalty. On that note, there are no fees at all; no joining fee, no late fee, and no penalty.
Apple is also promising lower interest rates however it didn’t make it clear exactly how much interest it will be charing.
Note: Apple Pay will come to 40+ countries by the end of this year but Apple Credit Card is for the US only as of now.
Today Apple announced its own gaming subscription service. Dubbed as Apple Arcade, the service will offer more than 100 exclusive game titles at launch with more titles to come in future. Apple has partnered with game studios to create exclusive games for Apple Arcade which means you will not get these games anywhere else.
Under the subscription, you will be able to play these games on all your devices including iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, and Macs. You will be able to share these games with your entire family using Family Sharing at no extra cost. The new Apple Arcade service will come this fall with pricing and more details to follow soon.
Apple tv app and Apple tv+
Probably the most anticipated and expected launch of today’s special event was a new TV service from Apple and boy did Apple deliver. Apple first started with its newly redesigned Apple tv app which has been rebuilt to include the iTunes movie store, cable, and satellite channels, and online streaming services like HBO, CBS all access, sports and network TV and more.
The new TV app will allow users to subscribe to any of these services instantly and download their favorite shows for offline viewing. It will feature a new UI which will make it easier to discover new shows and continue watching the old ones. Apple also announced that the new TV app will come to Mac this fall. It will also come pre-installed in new Smart TVs from Samsung, Sony, Vizio, and LG. We don’t know if the TV app will come to the older TVs with a software update or not. The good news is that the tv app is also coming to Amazon Fire Stick ($39.99) and Roku ($39) so you can essentially get it working on your current TV for $40. Apple said that it won’t share any user data with different TV services or TV manufacturers. I will try to learn more about how Apple is going to stop companies like Samsung from collecting user data and cover it in detail in future articles.
Along with the new tv app, Apple also announced its own tv subscription service called the Apple tv+. Apple marked the launch of Apple tv+ by bringing a host of celebrities on stage including Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Kumail Nanjiani, and more. Each celebrity announced their upcoming tv show and we got to see a 30-second montage of all the shows at the end. Lastly, Opera took the stage and made Tim Cook a bit teary.
Apart from that, we didn’t get much information. We have no pricing details nor the exact day of launch. We only know that Apple tv app along with Apple tv+ will be a global launch with an initial release in more than 100 countries.
Apple Special Services Event: Final Thoughts
Apple introduced a number of things in today’s event. The most exciting for me was the launch of the new Apple credit card. I love it for its awesome rewards system and payment plans and hate it that it’s not available outside of the US. The same goes for the Apple News app. The services that do not interest me much are receiving a global launch. I kind of wish it was reverse so more people could benefit from the credit card services. But that’s my opinion, let us know your thoughts on the subject by writing in the comments section below.