Apple launches its own credit card and TV shows

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Apple credit card Image copyright Apple
Image caption The physical version of the card is made of titanium and does not have a card number or signature space on it.

Apple has announced that it is launching its own credit card, Apple Card.

There will be both an iPhone and physical version which will launch in the US in the summer, the firm said.

The iPhone version includes a 2% cashback incentive on each purchase, has no late fees, annual fees or international fees, said Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey.

It has been created with the help of Goldman Sachs and MasterCard.

The firm held an event in California, US to announce a number of new and enhanced services.

Chief Executive Tim Cook was clear from the start that the announcements would be about new services, not new devices.

It is a change of direction for the 42-year-old tech giant.

Apple TV

There had been much anticipation about a predicted foray into the TV streaming market dominated by the likes of Amazon and Netflix.

Image copyright Apple
Image caption Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston

The Apple TV+ app was unveiled by Steven Spielberg.

The ad-free service will launch in the autumn and will include a host of content from other services including Hulu and HBO, as well as content commissioned by Apple itself.

Mr Spielberg will himself be creating some material for the new platform, he said.

A host of A-list stars appeared at the event to announce their own shows, including Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, Oprah Winfrey and comedian Kumail Nanjiani.

The app be made available on rival devices for the first time, coming to Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio smart TVs as well as Amazon’s Firestick and Roku.

“The test for Apple will be, can new content separate them out from their competitors and can they commission and deliver on fresh new content that can reach audiences in the same way that Stranger Things has for Netflix for example?” commented Dr Ed Braman, an expert in film and production at the University of York.

Image copyright Apple
Image caption Oprah Winfrey spoke of the potential of a book club on Apple TV+.

News stand

The firm also revealed a news service, Apple News+, which will include more than 300 magazine titles including Marie Claire, Vogue, New Yorker, Esquire, National Geographic and Rolling Stone.

The LA Times and the Wall Street Journal will also be part of the platform, the firm said.

It added that it will not track what users read or allow advertisers to do so.

Apple News+ will cost $9.99 (£7.50) per month and is available immediately in the US and Canada. It will come to Europe later in the year.

Image copyright Apple
Image caption Apple Arcade will offer 100 games not available elswhere.

A new games platform, Apple Arcade, will offer over 100 exclusive games from the app store which will all be playable offline, in contrast with Google’s recently announced streaming platform Stadia.

It will be rolled out across 150 countries in the autumn but no subscription prices were given.

Analysis: Dave Lee, North America technology reporter, at the Steve Jobs Theater

Apple is making an aggressive push into several markets in which, thanks to sheer scale alone, it immediately becomes a massive player.

Its TV service has been long in the making, and Apple has amassed a roster of big stars, as expected.

A bigger test will be how creative those ideas will be – a lot of Netflix’s success has been about finding new talent, not throwing money at already famous names.

I also have reservations about how many boundaries Apple will be prepared to push with its creative endeavours: if it’s as controlling with its television as it is with its brand – it will create a catalogue bereft of risk-taking.

But TV is just a small part of what Apple is going for here. They want (and need) to turn its devices into the portal through which you do everything else – TV/film, gaming, reading the news… and you’d presume other things in the very near future.

The announcement of a credit card shows how far Apple is prepared to go to make sure life is experienced through your iPhone.

As Oprah put it on stage: “They’re in a billion pockets, ya’ll.”

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