So this is what Tim Cook does with $1 billion.
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That's the amount that Apple has invested in developing its entertainment division, including original programming in the company's closest approximation of a Hollywood studio to date. The company revealed its lineup of shows and movies in addition to how to stream them at its "show time" event Monday in San Francisco.
Apple is in the process of rebranding itself as a services company amid a saturated iPhone market.
Apple TV Plus
The company announced Apple TV Plus, a new streaming service that will offer traditional TV channels and consolidate the subscriptions that customers already have. It will also include original programming.
“We designed a new TV experience where you can pay for only the channels you want, all in one app, with the password you already have,” said executive Peter Stern.
Apple TV Plus will launch this fall. It is an ad-free subscription service that's on demand and available online and offline. Everything is downloadable, according to the company.
On Monday, Apple used a celebrity-heavy lineup -- including Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey -- to showcase its push for original Apple programming.
In June 2017, Apple created Hollywood buzz when it hired Sony presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to head its original programming division. It has since poached more execs from Sony. Its first two attempts at original programming -- "Planet of the Apps," an entrepreneur reality show similar to "Shark Tank," and "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" with James Corden -- fell short of, say, AMC's "Mad Men" as a calling card for original programming.
To compete with Netflix or Amazon Prime, Apple has spent heavily on recruiting talent ranging from marquee names -- J.J. Abrams and Brie Larson -- to more niche personalities like Josh Gad and Alan Yang.
The talent and format look to be more diverse than network TV, featuring scripted and unscripted shows, as well as a focus on audio storytelling, which fits into Apple's established foray into music and podcasts. It also heavily leans on women and minorities in talent both in front of and behind the camera. There's an immigrant-focused show called "Little America," from Lee Eisenberg ("The Office") and Alan Yang ("Master of None"), and "Pachinko," which is based on Min Jin Lee's novel about generations of a Korean family living through Japanese occupation.
The company closed its Apple TV Plus announcement with a speech from Oprah Winfrey, who will be contributing to the original programming.
Apple News Plus
Apple News Plus, launched on Monday, is a subscription within Apple News and will provide subscriptions to over 300 magazines, along with the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
“Apple News Plus is the only place that you will find all these magazines in a single package,” said Roger Rosner, Apple’s vice president of applications.
The company touted the design of Apple News Plus and how it would showcase the pictures and text of magazines on both the iPhone and the iPad.
Along with being able to read full magazine issues, articles will be curated by Apple News editors.
It was reported that The New York Times and The Washington Post (owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) would not be participating in Apple News Plus. A subscription to Apple News Plus will cost $9.99 per month.
Mark Thompson, CEO of The New York Times, told Reuters, "We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else. We're also generically worried about our journalism being scrambled in a kind of Magimix [blender] with everyone else's journalism."
Apple Credit Card
Apple currently offers a Barclaycard Visa but it unveiled a Goldman Sachs credit card at the event. This card can be used anywhere that accepts Apple Pay.
Instead of a “points” system, the card provides “daily cash.” Using the card on your phone will give 2 percent back on purchases and 3 percent back on purchases from Apple.
There is also a physical titanium credit card associated with Apple Card, which will provide 1 percent daily cash back.
The company said the card will have no late fees, no annual fees and no international fees.
Apple Card will be coming to the U.S. this summer.