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What’s New at Apple?

March 26, 2019 • Product Reviews

The Apple Event was yesterday, and for the first time in a very long time, there was no mention of the iPhone, their flagship product. That doesn’t mean that Apple fans didn’t receive some exciting news. Apple is launching or upgrading apps and subscriptions, getting into show biz, and launching a credit card. Let’s talk about the Apple Event.

Apple News+

Apple News is getting an upgrade. The app is aiming to be the #1 online news subscription app (though it is unclear what that exactly means – most downloads? Most subscribers? Best muffin recipes?) The app, available now for $13 a month in Canada, will include access to over 300 online magazines, including National Geographic, People, Popular Science, Billboard and the New Yorker. It will also provide a digital subscription to newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, and aggregate news from other news sources, local and international. It will also provide a personalized feed based on interest. Apple has promised that they will not track what you read for advertising purposes and that privacy will be a focus.

Apple Arcade

This app subscription will give access to “premium paid games”, including more than 100 games that are exclusive to or new to Apple, and will be available in 150 countries, including Canada. It will be available in fall 2019, but no price has been announced yet. What we do know is that the subscription will include the whole family. Games will need to be downloaded but can be accessed on multiple devices. Apple has promised that they will not track what you play for advertising purposes.

Apple Card

Apple has paired with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to make their first credit card, though you wouldn’t know it to look at it. In true minimalist fashion, there is no card number on the front, no CVV number, no signature and no expiry date – all of that (esthetically hideous) information will be stored in your digital wallet. The app is expected in summer 2019. It promises a simpler application process, no fees (including late or overage fees) and lower interest rates (13.24% to 24.24% based on credit). It is also promising better rewards. Daily Cash, applied to your card to spend or put towards purchases, will be rewarded back at 2% for purchases made on the card through Apple Pay, 3% for purchases from Apple, and 1% cash back if you use the physical card.

While you are able to track your purchases, check your balance and see when your bill is due from the app, none of that information will be stored on Apple servers. Goldman Sachs has also promised not to sell your data (aren’t they kind to us!). Every purchase will require a fingerprint or face-identification for confirmation.

Apple TV+

Probably the biggest announcement at the Apple Event was Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ will be the newest streaming subscription to enter the market in fall of 2019. No price has been announced yet, but this is most likely a bid to make up for falling iPhone sales. This is a cost-intensive and competitive market. Netflix, the biggest name in this already crowded field, has 139 million paid subscribers in 190 countries, and Apple wants a piece of that. We’ll see if there is enough market share to go around this late in the game! Apple is counting on people subscribing based on their commitment to privacy, their family-friendly content, and their big-name original content. They have already announced two docu-series from Oprah and projects with Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. It will also be available to non-Apple customers.

In addition to the new subscription service, they have redesigned the Apple TV app to look similar to other streaming services. It will have carousels of content and recommendations for what to watch next. That update will roll out in May.

What do you think about the Apple Event? Are you excited about the Apple updates and news? Which are you thinking about adding?

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