CUPERTINO, California. (Reuters) – Apple lifted the curtain on Monday to a television and movie streaming service that will allow users of the 1.4 billion gadgets around the world for streaming tv shows and movies, both Apple originals, and that of other creators, in a first step to the challenge of streaming video leaders Netflix and Amazon.
Director Steven Spielberg speaks during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, USA, 25 March 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
The launch was the focus of an event at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters that focused on the technology of the services of the company, not the hardware, if it’s about the falling sales of the iPhone.
Apple also introduced updates to its payment system, started with arcade games, and added magazines to the news app.
Hollywood celebrities went to Apple’s house to help debut a revamped Apple TV, digital storefront, called Apple TV+. Apple has in the programming of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.
Apple’s jump into original entertainment signals a fundamental shift in the business as the sale of hardware money-makers drop-off. Without a category-defining new gadget is announced to the public, Apple is looking to rely more on the sale of subscriptions and services, such as video -, music-and hardware insurance.
During their presentation, Apple executives stressed privacy protection for consumers when they are shopping and consuming content in a range of Apple phones, iPads or other hardware. They also emphasized content that will appeal to a young audience, potentially setting the stage for a rivalry with Walt Disney Co.
The company led the event with an announcement that the free news app is now a paid subscription version, called Apple News+, in which the curator is a range of news, articles and contain 300 magazines such as National Geographic, People, Popular Science, Billboard and the New Yorker. Apple said that it would cost $9.99 per month.
Apple also introduced a titanium, laser-etched Apple Card supported by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Mastercard Inc that can keep track of the expenditure on devices and pay per day money back on purchases.
Cook also said that Apple Pay, the digital wallet, will soon be used in the public transport systems in Portland, Oregon, Chicago and New York City. Apple Pay will be available in more than 40 countries by the end of the year.
With the new media push, Apple joins in a busy area, where rivals such as Amazon.com’s Prime Video and Netflix Inc. have spent heavily to capture the viewer’s attention and dollars with the award-winning series and movies.
The great tech war for the viewers ignited a consolidation wave between traditional media companies ready to take part in the battle. Walt Disney Co., which bought 21st Century Fox, and AT&T Inc, which bought Time Warner Inc., a plan to start or the testing of new streaming video services this year.
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The revenue of the “services” segment includes the App Store, iCloud, and content-activities, such as the Apple Music – grew by 24 percent to $37.1 billion in fiscal year 2018. The segment accounted for only about 14 percent of Apple’s total $265.6 billion in revenue, but investors have pinned their hopes for growth on the segment.
The company also introduced Apple Arcade, a game subscription service that will work on phones, tablets and desktop computers and games from a range of developers.
Apple shares were down about 1 percent after about an hour of presentations at the event, which was broadcast online.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Kenneth Li in New York; Writing by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Bill Rigby