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Apple spotlights services with TV, gaming and credit card offers

CUPERTINO, California. (Reuters) – Apple Inc tried to again on the Monday as an entertainment and financial services company that also makes iPhones when it launched a streaming tv service, a credit card and an online gaming arcade.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO (L) and Oprah Winfrey hug during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, USA, 25 March 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The world’s second-most valuable technology company, he took the curtain on a television and film service called Apple TV+ stream original tv shows and movies wirelessly to a tv-watching-app for users of the 1.4 billion gadgets worldwide, as well as the owners of smart Tvs and other devices.

But Apple, known in the tech industry for keeping the products secret until they are ready, links to the most important information about prices for a number of its new services, unnerving investors and sending the shares down slightly.

The move could be seen as a first step to challenging streaming video leaders Netflix and Amazon, while Apple is taking a different approach by offering paid “channels” of HBO, Starz, and Showtime in addition to her own content.

The revamped app to subscribe to channels of others comes out in May, but Apple’s own original shows will not come until the autumn, with prices not yet known. Apple said that both are TV shows and the new version of the TV app will be available in more than 100 countries.

Apple also introduced a credit card, an arcade game, and added hundreds of magazines, on the news app at an event at its Cupertino, California, headquarters.

If Apple fight with saturated markets and the sales of the iPhone fall, the company turns more of its attention to services that provide for the regular registration of the turnover.

Hollywood celebrities helped debut the revamped tv offering. Apple has in the programming of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

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During the 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. Winfrey announced a worldwide book club.

The company, second only to Microsoft Corp in market value between the tech giants, led off 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.

CROWDED FIELD

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.

Slideshow (17 Images)

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 said the gaming service will feature more than 100 exclusive titles gaming partners such as the Annapurna Interactive and that the service will come this fall.

But as with the original contents, service, Apple does not say how much the gaming service will cost consumers. With information about the new services is missing, Apple shares fell 1.7 percent on Monday.

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

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