Apple on Monday unveiled a star-packed original video service called Apple TV+ along with a subscription plan for magazines and newspapers as part of a new strategic move for the iPhone maker. The US tech giant, aiming to emphasise digital content and services to make up for a slump in smartphone sales, also announced Apple Arcade, a game subscription service for mobile and other devices.
Director Steven Spielberg, TV host Oprah Winfrey and Hollywood stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell made appearances at the event, which puts Apple in competition with Netflix, Google, Amazon and others in various segments.
The Apple TV+ service — an on-demand, ad-free subscription service launching this year in 100 countries including India — will compete with services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu with Apple investing heavily in its own content, while upgrading its TV application for third-party services.
“We believe deeply in the power of creativity,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said at the event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, without revealing key details.
“Great stories can change the world. We feel we can contribute something important to our culture and to our society through great storytelling.”
More than 300 magazines
Meanwhile a new Apple News+ service at a cost of $9.99 per month will include the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, digital news sites and more than 300 magazine titles including Rolling Stone, Time, Wired and The New Yorker.
“We think Apple News+ will be great for customers and great for publishers,” Cook said.
Apple News+ was launched Monday in the US and Canada in English and French and will be available later this year in Britain and Australia, the company said.
Separately the company said it was launching a new game subscription service called Apple Arcade later this year with at least 100 titles at launch.
The game service will be available in 150 countries, with pricing to be announced later.
The move comes as Apple shifts to emphasise digital content and other services to offset a pullback in the once-sizzling smartphone market, and with many news organisations struggling to monetise their online services.
Apple said advertisers would not be able to track the activity of subscribers to the new service, thereby ensuring greater privacy.
On additional services, Apple said it would offer a credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs to be integrated with Apple Pay and that digital payments would be launched for transit systems in the United States.