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Apple launch marks a shift in strategy. Here’s what it announced

In Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

It looks like now’s a pretty good time to be an Apple user or fan. The American tech giant held its first service-centric event (no major hardware announcements at all!) earlier, where it showed off a bunch of new subscription services that will compete with what’s already out there, and likely on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac computer.

It’s been a big day for Apple, even though there’s no shiny new hardware to talk about. And no, the Apple Card physical card doesn’t really count. Today marks a dramatic shift in strategy for the company; Apple obviously wants to step out of its reliance on (now) flat iPhone sales and step into our lives as a content and service provider.

SEE ALSO: Huawei, Xiaomi fastest-growing smartphone brands in 2018 — IDC

Yes, we’re aware that Apple Music and Apple Pay exist, but Apple’s now throwing in all its chips and going all in with the introduction of Apple News Plus, Apple TV Plus/Apple TV Channels, Apple Arcade, and Apple Card.

Below is a quick rundown of everything Apple announced at its March 25 event.

Apple News Plus

The Apple News app is nothing new. In fact, it’s probably already installed on your iOS or macOS device. But with the revamped — and renamed — app, you can get access to more than 300 digital magazines and some paywalled news sources for just $9.99 per month, which is equivalent to around P524 in Philippine pesos. Of course, the content will be optimized depending on what screen you’re looking at, and everyone on your Family Sharing plan will also get Apple News Plus access.

The first month is free, so you can try it right now if it’s available in your country. So far, it’s limited in the U.S. and Canada, while users in Australia and the U.K. should get it in the fall.

Apple News Plus: Access to more than 300 digital magazines and paywalled news sources

Apple TV Plus and Apple TV Channels

Apple TV Plus is a Netflix competitor in the ad-free, on-demand video-streaming space and will feature content from creators like Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams. Users can also subscribe to third-party services and networks, such as HBO, Showtime, Starz, and CBS directly through Apple TV Channels via the new Apple TV Plus app.

Apple didn’t say how much you’ll pay for either service — they will probably cost as much as your current Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu subscription — but both are launching in over 100 countries sometime in the fall.

Apple TV Plus: Netflix’s competitor

Apple Arcade

Following Google’s Stadia announcement last week, Apple has countered with Apple Arcade, although the two are different in terms of their audience and what they offer. Apple Arcade, unlike Stadia, is a game-subscription service that will house a collection of original and exclusive games that you can play online or offline on any Apple device or any TV hooked up to an Apple TV. It will also provide full access to games with no in-app purchases or ads to distract your gameplay.

Stadia is a cloud platform that allows players to stream high-end, mostly third-party games across a variety of hardware — Apple’s own included. Unlike Arcade, it won’t offer offline downloads. Apple’s gaming hub is set to launch in 150 countries later this year, though pricing is still up in the air at the moment.

Apple Arcade: A game-subscription service

Apple Card

Finally, there’s Apple Card, which will be integrated into Apple’s own digital-wallet app. It promises instant approval for those qualified, up to 3 percent cash back on Apple purchases, and the virtual credit card won’t charge annual fees, international fees, or fees if you go over your limit. It won’t slap you with fees for missing a payment either, but it will result in additional interest that will accumulate toward your debt. Apple Card will be available in the U.S. in summer 2019.

Apple Card: A credit card created by Apple

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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 15 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between. His latest addiction is the comments section of viral Facebook posts.