Apple Announces Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and Apple News+

Earlier this morning Apple held one of their live, special events direct from the Steve Jobs Theater. Over the last week Apple has sent out press releases to announce updates to the iPad, iMac and AirPods but it used the beloved purpose built Theater for their biggest announcements of 2019 so far; Apple is attempting to become your one stop shop for TV, Movies, Games and News.

Let’s start with the biggest announcement. The one that will see Apple attempt to take on the likes of Netflix.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is being billed as the new home for the world’s most creative storytellers featuring exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries, coming this spring. Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will feature a brand new slate of programming from the world’s most celebrated creative artists, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon M. Chu and more. On the Apple TV app, subscribers will enjoy inspiring and authentic stories with emotional depth and compelling characters from all walks of life, ad-free and on demand.


“We’re honoured that the absolute best lineup of storytellers in the world — both in front of and behind the camera — are coming to Apple TV+,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We’re thrilled to give viewers a sneak peek of Apple TV+ and cannot wait for them to tune in starting this spring. Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet.” 

Additionally, Apple debuted the all-new Apple TV app and Apple TV channels coming in May 2019. The all-new Apple TV app brings together the different ways to discover and watch shows, movies, sports, news and more in one app across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, smart TVs and streaming devices. Users can subscribe to and watch new Apple TV channels — paying for only services they want, like HBO, SHOWTIME and Starz1 — all on demand, available on and offline, with incredible picture quality and sound; enjoy sports, news and network TV from cable and satellite providers as well as purchase or rent iTunes movies and TV shows all within the new, personalised Apple TV app. 

Beginning in May, customers can subscribe to Apple TV channels à la carte and watch them in the Apple TV app, with no additional apps, accounts or passwords required. Apple TV channels include popular services such as HBO, Starz, SHOWTIME, CBS All Access, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade, Noggin and new services like MTV Hits,with more to be added over time around the world.

The new Apple TV app personalises what viewers love to watch across their existing apps and services while developing a secure and comprehensive understanding of users’ viewing interests. The app will offer suggestions for shows and movies from over 150 streaming apps, including Amazon Prime and Hulu, as well as pay-TV services such as Canal+, Charter Spectrum, DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue. Optimum and Suddenlink from Altice will be added later this year.

Additionally, the Apple TV app will become the new home to the hundreds of thousands of movies and TV shows currently available for purchase or rent in the iTunes Store.

Availability

  • Pricing and availability for the Apple TV+ video subscription service will be announced later this spring. 
  • The all-new Apple TV app is coming to iPhone, iPad and Apple TV customers in over 100 countries with a free software update this May, and to Mac this spring. 
  • Through Family Sharing, users can share Apple TV+ and subscriptions to Apple TV channels. 
  • The Apple TV app will be available on Samsung smart TVs beginning this spring and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future. 
  • Later this year, customers with eligible VIZIO, Samsung, LG and Sony smart TVs will be able to effortlessly play videos and other content from their iPhone or iPad directly to their smart TVs with AirPlay 2 support.

Pricing is yet to be revealed so it will be interesting to see what this cost when it hits New Zealand. It is worth noting that most of the TV channels mentioned in the announcement are unlikely to come to New Zealand due to rights agreements, etc, etc. We’ll keep you posted on what Kiwi’s can expect form the service as more information continues to come through.

Apple Arcade

This is the one that is most likely to resonate with Kiwi’s due to the App Store not necessarily having the same restrictions placed on them as Movies, TV and News.

Apple Arcade will be a game subscription service that will feature over 100 new and exclusive games, including original releases from renowned creators Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong, Will Wright and dozens more. Apple Arcade games will redefine gaming and be curated based on originality, quality, creativity, fun and their appeal to players of all ages. Apple Arcade will give customers the freedom to try any game from its handpicked collection of titles that are all-you-can-play, have no ads, ad tracking or additional purchases, and respect user privacy.

Free games, supported by advertising or in-app purchases, are enjoyed by hundreds of millions of players around the world. Paid games are often critically acclaimed and beloved by the people who play them, but competing with free is hard, so even the best of these games have only reached a smaller audience. With the simplicity of a single subscription, Apple Arcade will bring games like these to the App Store’s more than 1 billion gaming customers. Apple Arcade is the perfect complement to the already enormously popular catalog of free games on the App Store, making iOS the premier gaming platform for players of all ages.

Apple is not just handpicking the games in Apple Arcade, but also contributing to the development costs and working closely with creators to bring the games to life. Made by some of the most critically acclaimed game developers in the world, Apple Arcade games will entertain customers with incredibly fun gameplay and immersive stories, while capturing imaginations with original art and music. The service will feature games from Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games and dozens more.

“The App Store is the world’s biggest and most successful game platform. Now we are going to take games even further with Apple Arcade, the first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We are working with some of the most innovative game developers in the world to create over 100 new and exclusive games to play across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Apple Arcade games will be great for families, respect user privacy and will not have ads or require any additional purchases. We think players of all ages are going to love Apple Arcade.”

Apple Arcade will introduce an innovative way to access a collection of brand new games that will not be available on any other mobile platform or in any other subscription service. Rather than pay up front for each game, a subscription to Apple Arcade will give players the opportunity to try any game in the service without risk. Since every game includes access to the full experience, including all game features, content and future updates, no additional purchases will be required. Every game will be playable offline, and many games will offer support for game controllers. Because subscribers can play Apple Arcade games across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV, they can pick up where they left off in a game, even if they switch devices. New games will be added to the service on a regular basis.

Apple Arcade will launch in spring 2019 in more than 150 countries from a new tab on the App Store across iOS, macOS and tvOS. Pricing has not been released but it will be interesting to see where Apple goes with pricing. Microsoft have their Xbox Game Pass available for $10.95 a month but I wouldn’t expect Apple to go that cheap with Apple Arcade, if I had to guess I’d say $19.99NZD but that is purely a guess. In any case it is an exciting development for Apple’s mobile developers and consumers alike. I personally tend to stick to free games, despite seeing what admittedly looks like some seriously quality paid mobile games in the App Store. Having an all you can eat subscription model to the games in the App Store could be enough to tempt me.

Apple News+

So here’s the one that kicked off the special event but the one I’, talking about last and for good reason. The News App isn’t available in New Zealand, there’s no word on when/if it will come to New Zealand and lastly News+ hasn’t been announced as coming to New Zealand. But for those of you who have their iDevices set to a region that has News support then this one is for you.

News+ will be a subscription service that brings together over 300 popular magazines, leading newspapers and digital publishers into a beautiful, convenient and curated experience within the Apple News app. Available in the US and Canada, Apple News+ presents the best and most relevant articles to meet any range of interests from renowned publications such as Vogue, National Geographic Magazine, People, ELLE, The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

Apple News+ adds an even more expansive collection of high-quality stories to the free experience of Apple News, which is the No. 1 news app and delivers current events coverage from trusted sources.1 All Apple News users in the US, Canada, UK and Australia can continue to enjoy the free news experience within the app on iPhone, iPad and Mac, including access to Top Stories, Trending Stories and a personalised feed of articles.

“We’re committed to supporting quality journalism, and with Apple News+, we want to celebrate the great work being done by magazines and news outlets,” said Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News. “We think the breadth and quality of publications within Apple News+ will encourage more people to discover stories and titles they may never have come across before.”

Apple News+ subscribers can access current and past issues and individual articles from magazines such as The Atlantic, Better Homes & Gardens, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, ELLE, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN The Magazine, Esquire, Food & Wine, Good Housekeeping, GQ, Health, InStyle, Martha Stewart Living, National Geographic, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parents, People, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, Runner’s World, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Travel + Leisure, Vanity Fair, Vogue, WIRED and Woman’s Day.

In addition, Apple News+ includes The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper. Apple News+ also provides access to premium online publications such as theSkimm, The Highlight by Vox, New York Magazine’s sites Vulture, The Cut and Grub Street, and Extra Crunch from Verizon Media’s TechCrunch.

Apple News+ showcases magazines in richly designed layouts, featuring animated covers, vivid photography and bold typography optimised for iPhone, iPad and Mac. It makes reading articles even more fun, immersive and convenient. In the Today and News+ tabs, subscribers will be presented with individual article and issue recommendations based on both editorial curation and personalised suggestions that maintain user privacy.

“Apple News+ validates the power of premium content from great and trusted brands, and being a part of it makes good business sense,” said Tom Harty, president and CEO of Meredith. “Apple News+ will be an extremely valuable mass platform to attract new paid subscribers to our titles.”

“At Hearst Magazines, we are hyperfocused on creating consumer value through our storied brands, high-quality content and great experiences,” said Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines. “Apple News+ amplifies our ability to do this in a premium environment with a key audience, elevating the digital magazine experience for millions of iPhone, iPad and Mac users.”

“We’re constantly innovating how we connect with our audiences and bring them the content they crave on the platforms they use every day,” said Bob Sauerberg, president and CEO of Condé Nast. “Apple News+ represents an exciting opportunity to bring a premium experience to millions more readers, so they can enjoy the conversation-shifting journalism, influential points of view and unparalleled visual storytelling they’ve come to expect from our brands.”

“We are proud to work with Apple, a company that believes in the profound importance of journalism and journalists,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp. “The Wall Street Journal is certainly the most trusted newspaper in the US and its coverage of politics, business, economics, national news and lifestyle issues is nonpareil. We expect through the Apple platform, our journalism will reach and inform many more millions of readers, viewers and listeners around the country and the world.”

“Apple News+ provides a perfect platform for our expanded coverage of news, analysis and opinion,” said Norman Pearlstine, executive editor of Los Angeles Times. “We share a world vision that is informed by our California roots and by our common commitment to innovation and excellence.”

Pricing and Availability
Apple News+ is available today in the US for $9.99 a month and in Canada for $12.99 a month. Customers can sign up for a free one-month trial, and the plan automatically renews after the trial ends. To sign up for Apple News+, customers must update to iOS 12.2 or macOS 10.14.4. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share one Apple News+ subscription. Apple News+ will be available in the UK and Australia later this year.

This is the one I’m least excited about. I’m not really a big news/magazine guy. Even if News+ (or News) was available in New Zealand I’m just not sure I would use it much and I can’t see myself paying a subscription fee for it. Why? Because I prefer browsing the web for my news and stories. Why pay for something that I can get for free?

And that’s it folks, which services are you most excited for? Tell us in the comments below.

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