Apple announced a new streaming service, Apple TV Plus, which will house its original shows and movies and could compete with Netflix, Amazon, and cable TV itself. Apple is making the announcements at its Cupertino, California, headquarters, in a Monday event studded with celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jason Momoa, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, the AP reports. The iPhone has long been Apple's marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline. The company is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new growth. The company also laid out the details of its news subscription service, Apple News Plus, a new subscription service for mobile games, and a new credit card. Highlights:
- The company didn't say how much Apple TV Plus, debuting in the fall, will cost, but it will definitely have high-profile content: Aniston will star with Witherspoon and Carell in a show called Morning Show. Spielberg will direct a sci-fi show called Amazing Stories, inspired by stories his dad used to read as a kid. Momoa will star in a show called Sea taking place in a world devastated by a virus that wiped out most of the population, leaving survivors blind. Winfrey has two documentaries in the works for the service, and says she is planning "the most stimulating book club on the planet." The TV personality says that will include streamed conversations with authors. Big Bird of Sesame Street also showed up to promote a new show for preschoolers.
- The streaming service will be free of ads and will be available across Apple devices, some smart TVs and the Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices. That's unusual, as Apple has historically limited its availability on streaming devices to its own Apple TV.
- The news service costs $10 a month and includes roughly 300 magazines and a handful of major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Missing from the announcement were other major newspaper publishers, who have reportedly been wary of Apple's terms. Apple says advertisers won't track readers inside the app. That distinguishes it from Facebook and Google, the other major online news hubs.
- Apple Arcade subscribers will get to play more than 100 games, curated by Apple. The games will be exclusive to Apple's service. Games can be downloaded and played offline—on the Apple-made iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV, the AP reports. Notably, Apple says all games in this service will allow unlimited play and will have no in-app purchases, which are common on mobile games. Apple says the Arcade subscription will be available this fall. The company did not say how much it will cost.
- The company also said it is launching a MasterCard credit card called Apple Card. It will integrate Apple Maps to show users where they spend money, but at the same time, Apple says it won't know where you spend or where. Apple says the card will make it easier to see what merchants charged you. It won't have any late fees or annual fees and will offer 2% cash back.
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