Apple TV+, News+, Arcade: New Streaming and Subscription Services Revealed, Everything You Need to Know

Apple today announced the future of its subscription and services projects, touting a number of new apps and products, including Apple TV+, News+ and Apple Arcade.

CEO Tim Cook made the reveal onstage at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. The tech giant's invitation to the media earlier this month ramped up anticipation—with speculation mounting on how, or if, Apple was plotting to compete with those already in the streaming space—mainly Netflix and Amazon. Conversations centered on what shows would end up on users' screens following the $1 billion investment set aside for programming in 2017.

Finally, we know much more about the firm's plans. Cook told the audience the focus was on "world-class services" and "seamless integration." Here's everything you need to know.

Apple TV+

To applause, Cook confirmed Apple's long-rumored step into subscription video. The reveal of one, Apple TV+, was spearheaded by a slew of Hollywood directors and actors including Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, Ron Howard, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, who are each in place to star in or create content for the platform.

Apple TV+ will be used to host to the much-anticipated original content that could see it come closer in design to its rivals. "It's not just another streaming service," one rep said. It is an ad-free subscription service that offers content both online and offline and is set for release this fall.

There was no mention of price, which will be a major sticking point for many consumers. Apple said costing and availability will be confirmed later this autumn.

The company said it is evolving its Apple TV app so media content will be accessible across all iOS devices. It has been given a redesign that brings together content from a variety of sources, including Amazon Prime, HBO and Hulu, to watch in one place. The presentation today noted how the app will use machine learning to curate content for users. The centralized service is called Apple TV Channels and will be available in May. There was no mention of Netflix.

Apple News+

Apple confirmed it is releasing a new subscription-based news service for its devices, called Apple News+. Cook said users will be able to pay $9.99 a month to access a massive trove of content from 300 publishers, glossy magazines and media outlets. It builds on Apple's 2018 purchase of an app called Texture that was based around a Netflix-style model.

"We are bringing magazines to Apple News," the CEO said triumphantly. The application will feature moving-image magazine covers and recommendations built on interests. Some content will be curated by real editors and the app will collate related articles from different magazines. Apple News+ will also include some digital-only publications. On privacy, Apple stressed that advertisers will not be able to track users based on their individual magazine choices.

Apple News+ is available from today and the first month is free-of-charge. The company also announced updates to Apple Pay, the App Store and revealed a new credit card.

As sales of the iPhone smartphone decline, the company appears to be betting that streaming and subscription services will help bolster the bottom line. But it still has work to do.

Apple's dedicated music platform still lags behind some rivals. Apple Music has 56 million subscribers. Spotify currently boasts 96 million. Netflix, a streaming Goliath with more than 130 subscribers, has already confirmed it will not be collaborating with Apple in any way. Some publishers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, have also opted out.

For now, magazines include: The Atlantic, Better Homes & Gardens, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, Esquire, Food & Wine, Good Housekeeping, GQ, Health, InStyle, Martha Stewart Living, National Geographic, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, Parents, People, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, Runner's World, Sports Illustrated, Time, Travel + Leisure, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Wired.

Apple said it is aiming to bulk up App Store gaming with a new subscription service called Apple Arcade. "iOS has become the largest gaming platform in the world!" Cook proclaimed.

Apple Arcade will feature games from Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, Lego, Sega, Snowman, ustwo games and more.

There will be 100 new and exclusive games with a subscription—built into the App Store. Every game will be playable offline and all features will be included in the up-front price. That means no ads and additional purchases will be needed to access full games. It will be available from this fall in more than 150 countries. Pricing details are still to come.

Apple TV+, News+, Arcade: New Streaming and Subscription Services Revealed, Everything You Need to Know | Tech & Science