Every year, Apple holds two big events that tend to dominate the tech news cycle for weeks on end. Of course, there’s WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference which takes place every June. And last but not least, there’s Apple’s annual iPhone event where we see the latest and greatest in Apple hardware. For years, these were the two major Apple events to keep tabs on, even though the company would sporadically sprinkle in a few iPad or Mac oriented hardware events along the way.
Fast forward to 2019 and the tech landscape has shifted dramatically. These days, the smartphone market is arguably saturated with impressive devices that aren’t all that different from one another. Sure, some of the foldable phones we’ve seen are intriguing, but they hardly seem like polished products ready to revolutionize the industry. With that said, Apple is decidedly preparing for a life beyond the iPhone. While iPhone sales aren’t going to evaporate, it’s no secret that year-over-year sales have been trending downward. In light of that, Apple — a company always in search of new revenue streams — is poised to embrace the world of services; which brings us, of course, to Apple’s forthcoming media event on Monday, March 25.
Set to take place this Monday at 10 AM Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Apple is expected to unveil two brand new services to accompany the company’s increasingly popular Apple Music streaming service. There have been a number of scattered rumors regarding Apple’s upcoming services, so we thought it was high time to sift past the noise and hone in on what we expect Apple to introduce at its upcoming media event.
Without question, the most intriguing rumor surrounding Apple’s media event centers on the company’s plans in the TV space. Over the years, Apple has made no secret of its intention to make a splash in the TV space, with Tim Cook often noting — rather vaguely — that the company was intent to “keep pulling this string and see where it takes us.”
For a while, there were rumblings that Apple was going to release a TV service comprised of a skinny bundle of select cable channels. Ultimately, word surfaced that Apple abandoned this plan after failing to secure deals to make such a service viable.
Instead, Apple a few years ago decided to invest a lot of money in developing and acquiring original content. As it stands now, Apple is currently working on rolling out more than two dozen original programs, though it’s not entirely clear how Apple plans to make this content available to iOS users. From what we’ve gathered, Apple’s originals will be provided to iOS users for free and will be released alongside a new subscription plan.
While some previously speculated that Apple was aiming to take on streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu, a recent report from Recode revealed that Apple’s TV plans — for the time being — will be a lot less ambitious. Instead of rolling out a traditional streaming service, rumor has it that Apple will offer users a subscription bundle where they can sign up for multiple premium channels — such as HBO and Showtime — at a price point that would be less than the cost of signing up for each one individually. It remains to be see how many channels will be available as part of this new subscription offering, but it’s worth noting that Netflix will not be apart of it.
Instead, Apple’s main focus — at least for now — will be helping other people sell streaming video subscriptions and taking a cut of the transaction. Apple may also sell its own shows, at least as part of a bundle of other services. But for now, Apple’s original shows and movies should be considered very expensive giveaways, not the core product.
Interestingly, Apple’s subscription ambitions extend beyond TV and also encompass magazines and newspapers.
According to a number of credible reports which we’ve seen spring up over the past few months, Apple on Monday will introduce a news subscription service that will allow users to play a flat monthly fee and enjoy content from a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal. Notably, some major publications refused to hop on board with Apple due to disagreements over revenue sharing. Specifically, The New York Times and The Washington Post will not be part of the subscription service. Rumor has it that Apple’s news subscription service may be priced around $9 – $10 a month.
The New York Times reported the following earlier in the month:
The service, described by some as a “Netflix for news,” will offer access to a new paid tier of the Apple News app. Through that tier, readers will be able to consume articles from hundreds of participating magazines and news outlets. The app’s free tier will still let people read a smattering of select articles from a wide variety of publishers.
To persuade publishers to join the paid service, Apple executives have said the scale of Apple News, which is installed on every iPhone sold to consumers, could introduce millions of new customers to their content.
Last, and definitely least, Apple on Monday may introduce a new Apple-branded credit card in association with Goldman Sachs. The card will reportedly be tightly integrated with Apple’s Wallet app and may offer users unique rewards when purchasing Apple products and, perhaps, some appealing cashback terms.