Several high-tech giants have recently made various announcements, extending their fields of activity to new sectors.
It was only during the March 25th conference that Tim Cook stepped out to announce several innovations. No more new Apple objects, it’s time for new services for iOS users.
Apple TV, a new player in the streaming industry
Streaming has been very successful in recent years, thanks, mainly, to the Netflix platform. Since its success, the market has witnessed a proliferation of platforms, such as Amazon and its Prime service, Hulu, CBS All Access and HBO Showtime. While others such as Disney +, NBC Universal and WarnerMedia have planned to enter the market this fall.
However, due to Netflix’s success, the sustainability of some is jeopardized, such as Google and its “Youtube Original series” service, which did not meet the expected success and prompting the firm to cancel some programs, only a few hours ago.
Apple still intend to enter this highly competitive market with its “Apple TV” and its “Apple TV+” services. It will provide original programs and account sharing between different users, like any other streaming platform. However, only iOS users (users of Apple products) will have access to it.
The biggest difference between Apple TV and other streaming industry operators is its subscription model. Users won’t have to subscribe to a whole catalogue (which they will probably never watch), but only to the channels (Apple TV Channels) or programmes that they would be interested in.
Apple also stands out from its competitors thanks to its sports content, an element still lacking on other streaming platforms.
The Apple Arcade, improving the App store
Tim Cook reported during the conference that half a billion users browse the App store every two weeks, and a billion players are registered on it, turning the application into a central part of the Apple ecosystem.
But there is some division between App Store users. Most of them continue to choose free games, despite the constant presence of ads that may annoy many. Despite the total absence of commercials and a much higher quality compared to free games, paid games remain under-used.
This division became Apple’s new flagship and the company announced the launch of its new “Apple Arcade” service. The service will be included in the App Store. Thanks to a monthly subscription, users will have access to a wide range of games, generally fee-based. More than 100 new games will only be available on the Apple Arcade, plus a total absence of in-game advertising and data gathering have also been announced by Apple.It is not the first announcement in the industry, as Google announced last week the upcoming release of their “Stadia” service, a potential major competitor to the Apple Arcade. In the meantime, Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold will also offer a gaming library available on several platforms, including the Nintendo Switch, following the recent Microsoft-Nintendo partnership.
The Apple News +, a real media breakthrough?
Tim Cook also explained during the conference that Apple News is the number one media application. Still not enough for the company, which wants to expand the content of its application through the addition of more than 300 magazines, including renowned partners such as Vulture and the New York Times.
These magazines will be bundled into a new media service, Apple News +, available today in the US and Canada for $9.99 per month. The app adapts to all IOS platforms, allowing users to enjoy media content on both mobile and tablet devices.
In addition, the Family Sharing system ensures that several members of the same family can use the same account, with no advertising or data collection by Apple.
This service reminds us of “The Daily”, a similar app launched by Rupert Murdoch in 2011, which did not meet the success the business mogul had expected. To access this digital media, the subscription was 99 cents per week by then, which was under £4 per month.
The absence of this new service in Europe (for now) is not without reminding us of the Google News break-up that had been criticized by the press organs, considering their low or non-existent revenues from the platform. As a result of this case, the Spanish government ended up passing a law on the remuneration of press groups in response to the use of their articles by content aggregators.
In order to operate its service internationally, Apple must avoid the shortcomings of its forerunners, especially in respect for its media partners.