Apple already had a busy month, but it's not over yet. Apple is hosting an event titled "It's show time" at the Steve Jobs Theater on Monday, March 25th. The event will focus on Apple's upcoming services, including Apple News Magazine, original content and streaming videos, App Store games and much more.
9to5Mac will be present to cover all Apple Park announcements immediately. Before the event kicks off, we'd like to give you a comprehensive preview of everything we expect from Apple's March 25 event.
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
Apple has invited the press earlier this month on March 25, using the tagline "It's Show Time" in the invitation. This is a clear indication of one of the event's biggest focuses: Apple's new streaming video service. Apple has even released the deck for most of the hardware expectations ahead of the event this week.
The event will be held at the Steve Jobs Theater and will begin at 10PM PT or 1PM ET. This is, above all, the first non-iPhone event to be held at Apple's dedicated venue. It is reportedly a busy event with celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and J.J. Abrams all present. Continue reading for everything you expected.
Apple Video Service
The Apple event will undoubtedly be the new streaming video initiatives. These efforts consist of two different components. Let's break it up.
The biggest component of Apple's advanced video plans is the thrust into its original content. The company claims to spend more than $ 1 billion on original TV shows and films, and some reports indicate that Apple has already spent its budget on original TV shows. The event on Monday should be our first preview of this content.
Apple's Worldwide Video Programming Team is headed by Jamie Ehrlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two senior executives from Sony Television who have been selected by Apple as a pioneer of the company to make the selection of new television broadcasts. Apple has also hired a number of television industry veterans, including Carol Trussell of Gaumont Television, who joined Apple as production manager. Other employees include executives from WGN, Amazon Studios, Universal Television and more.
Apple has scrounged dozens of TV shows and movies for its original content platform, though the service is not expected to start with a full catalog due to production schedules.
One of the flagship television series will feature Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell as the lead actor, with the provisional title "The Morning Show." The series, which is said to have nearly completed the first of at least two seasons, focuses on "the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning." It is based on Brian Stelter's book "In the Cutthroat World of Morning TV".
A New York Times Report Last week, Apple released five television series that were already completed: "Are You Sleeping" with Octavia Spencer, the space drama "For All Mankind," a thriller by M. Night Shyamalan, a comedy star of "In Philadelphia, Always Sunny is always the name, and a comedy called 'Dickinson' is based on the eponymous poet.
Another big name that collaborates with Apple is JJ Abrams, who produces a pair of television programs. One will star Jennifer Garner while the other is a playwright with Abrams and Sara Bareilles. Apple is also working with Steven Spielberg on a new sci-fi series by Amazing Stories. The high-budget show will feature at least 10 episodes and continues as a sequel to the anthology of the same name, which was run by NBC in the 1980s.
Apple recently announced a multi-year original partnership with Oprah. Apple says this partnership will enable Oprah to "create original programs that unlock their unmatched ability to connect with audiences around the world." This is one of the few official announcements about the new content service. Apple has done so far, although the details are still unclear
How does Apple calculate the original content? The jury is still missing, but CNBC has already reported on several occasions that Apple will provide at least some of its original TV shows and movies for owners of Apple devices for free.
According to a report, Apple will offer its first wave of free content to owners of devices, which are mainly TV-PG broadcasts. From there, Apple would eventually add a paid subscription with additional free content for a broader market. On Monday we should finally know.
As far as movies are concerned, Apple is working with A24 film studio to produce original films. The first collaboration between the two is a preliminary film titled "On the Rocks" starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, with Sofia Coppola as director and producer. Details about Apple's films, however, are less clear than its TV initiatives.
It is expected that Apple will not offer a preview of its original content plans until Monday. The company is expected to show trailers for shows at its March event, but the service itself is expected to be introduced in the summer or fall of this year. Here's more of what you can expect in the lineup:
Enhanced TV App
The other facet of Apple's streaming TV plans is one improved version of the TV app. which is available on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. In its current form, the TV app gets content from external applications such as CBS, DirecTV Now, Hulu, etc. The TV app itself does not really play content outside of iTunes movies and TV shows, but collects the video from these external apps and sends users back to those apps to play the content.
On Monday, the TV app is expected to receive a major upgrade.
It is reported that Apple plans to integrate third-party subscriptions directly into the TV app. This means that users can subscribe to services like Starz, Showtime, CBS, Viacom, HBO and more directly through the TV app.
Apple should also grant discounts to users who aggregate multiple services. For example, users could subscribe to a "package" of Starz and Showtime through the TV app at a cheaper price than any single subscription outside the app. In addition, Apple will host third party content directly in the app and stream TV application.
That is, when you play content from a service like HBO, you can watch it directly in the TV app instead of being moved to the HBO app itself. This is a significant improvement in the user experience, and a big change from the fact that Apple usually handles third-party subscriptions using the App Store or the Web.
We expect that well-known services like HBO, Starz and Showtime will do this in the new TV app, but what about the services that are not included? At the time, we've received reports that neither Netflix nor Hulu content will be available on the updated TV app at launch.
Netflix has said that it is preferable to offer content exclusively through its own applications, and therefore has no reason to integrate it with the TV app. Meanwhile, Hulu has long been integrated into the basic version of the TV app, but reports indicate that it will not be available in the updated version of the app.
Apple News Magazines
On the other hand, on March 25, Apple's event will also be the announcement of a paid subscription component in Apple News. This allows users to pay a monthly fee to unlock paid content from publishers who sign up for the service.
Apple's pitch for publishers is based on the size of its user base. By joining the Apple News subscription service, publishers reach a much larger audience with Apple News preinstalled on every iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Which publishers have Apple signed in to the service? The company has allegedly entered into a deal with the Wall Street Journal. Another report indicated that Vox had also signed up for the service. Other major publishers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, will not be available through the service.
It is unclear how Apple differentiates between magazines and news content. Much of the Apple News subscription is expected to be based on texture Apple acquired last year. Texture is a subscription-based service that provides unrestricted access to digital magazine content.
However, the Apple news service is expected to integrate both magazines and traditional news agencies. Recently released iOS betas took a look at how magazines are integrated, but it'll be interesting to see how everything fits together on Monday.
Regarding the price The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is targeting a subscription of $ 9.99 per month for users. Apple will then cut that revenue by 50 percent while allocating the remaining 50 percent to publishers based on Apple News readership.
Apple also plans to launch a new App New Game Subscription Service at its March event called the "Netflix for Games". The existence of these services was first reported by Cheddar earlier this year, and a Bloomberg report recently shed more light on how it works
According to reports, the Games Service will allow users to pay a monthly subscription to a bundle to access games that are usually paid apps in the App Store. Therefore, games that rely on in-app purchases are not included in this service.
It is currently not clear which titles will be included in this subscription. The reports indicate, however, that Apple has discussed with partners and developers. It is also unknown how many users have to pay per month to access the game service.
As far as developer payouts are concerned, Apple's plans for games services are similar to News. Apple will allegedly pay developers based on the time users play each game in the bundle.
The company would charge these monthly fees and then divide the revenue among the developers, depending on how much time they spent playing their games, one of the people said. Apple probably looks at popularly paid titles in the App Store and would exclude titles that can be downloaded for free but generate revenue through in-app purchases.
Today's Bloomberg report has the caveat that Apple may wait until the summer to announce its release game service at WWDC. The event on Monday, however, seems to be the perfect opportunity.
Apple Credit Card
Another new Apple initiative that's perfect for announcing at the March event is the branded credit card. Apple is said to have partnered with Goldman Sachs, whose credit card is tightly integrated with the Wallet app for iOS.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the Apple credit card could offer users 2% cash back. and other benefits of buying Apple products. According to the report, no air miles are currently on the table.
The Apple + Goldman Sachs card is said to include a unique integration with the Wallet app for iOS, which has undergone remarkable design changes in iOS 12.2 beta. Such a feature would be taken from the popular ring design of the Apple Watch and implemented in the Wallet app to make it easier for users to manage scales and output.
The Wall Street Journal said in February:
Engineers are working on new features for The Apple Wallet app that encourages users to pay their credit card debt and manage their credit. Executives discussed how they could borrow visual cues from Apple's fitness tracking app, "pealing" users' responses to daily practice goals, and sending notifications of their spending habits to users.
Further details such as information on renewal fees are not known on this point. A branded credit card certainly fits in with Apple's new Services First Narrative.
Finally, you can assume that Monday's event coincides with the public releases of iOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, tvOS 12.2, and macOS 10.14 .4. Apple may post these updates on Monday or use the Monday event to post the release date for them. Nevertheless, we should learn much more about the latest Apple software on Monday.
Both iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4 are likely to support enhanced Apple News subscription features. The updated TV app will probably also be included in tvOS 12.2 and iOS 12.2. Other enhancements include Apple News in Canada, new Animoji, wallet app enhancements and more.
One of the key features of iOS 12.2 is the support of smart TVs as smart home accessories in the home app. Earlier this year, LG, Sony and Vizio announced support for HomeKit and AirPlay 2 for selected TVs, and iOS 12.2 included this functionality as well as improvements to the remote interface.
Apple March Event Wrap Up
The focus of the Apple event in March is clearly on the services segment. Some hardware improvements were announced in some press releases last week. Apple clearly does not want hardware overshadowing its new Apple TV and messaging services, even if the services are simply previewed and not published.
9to5Mac will be attending the Steve Jobs Theater on Monday, so stay up-to-date on everything Apple announces. What are you looking forward to next week? Are you planning to subscribe to the subscription services? Let us know in the comments below!