Apple has leapt into the services and subscriptions business in a major way, announcing the impending launches of Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Arcade - and, bizarrely, an Apple Credit Card.

Best known for its hugely popular iPhone and iPad mobile devices, a chunk of Apple's revenue comes from its digital distribution services iTunes and the App Store. While the company takes a hefty cut of all subscription revenue generated through the App Store - something which has made it the focus of numerous legal complaints alleging abuse of a de facto monopoly position - that is seemingly not enough: Late yesterday the company announced it was to launch its own first-party subscription services for TV and film, newspapers and magazines, and games.

'We’re honored that the absolute best lineup of storytellers in the world — both in front of and behind the camera — are coming to Apple TV+,' crowed Apple's Eddy Cue at the unveiling of its video subscription service Apple TV+, after name-dropping everyone from Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg to Jason Momoa and M. Night Shyamalan. 'We’re thrilled to give viewers a sneak peek of Apple TV+ and cannot wait for them to tune in starting this fall. Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet.'

'We’re committed to supporting quality journalism, and with Apple News+, we want to celebrate the great work being done by magazines and news outlets,' added Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News, of the Apple News+ subscription service which will boast over 300 publications at launch. 'We think the breadth and quality of publications within Apple News+ will encourage more people to discover stories and titles they may never have come across before.'

'The App Store is the world’s biggest and most successful game platform. Now we are going to take games even further with Apple Arcade, the first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room,' continued Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, of the Apple Arcade service which rounds out the company's fresh subscription offerings. 'We are working with some of the most innovative game developers in the world to create over 100 new and exclusive games to play across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Apple Arcade games will be great for families, respect user privacy and will not have ads or require any additional purchases. We think players of all ages are going to love Apple Arcade.'

For anyone wondering how exactly they are going to pay for these three new services, Apple had a surprising answer: The Apple Card, an own-brand credit card tied in to an iOS-exclusive app and created in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard. 'Apple Card builds on the tremendous success of Apple Pay and delivers new experiences only possible with the power of iPhone,' claimed Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president for Apple Pay. 'Apple Card is designed to help customers lead a healthier financial life, which starts with a better understanding of their spending so they can make smarter choices with their money, transparency to help them understand how much it will cost if they want to pay over time and ways to help them pay down their balance.'

The card, Apple explains, comes without fees, low interest rates, no penalties for late payments, and cashback totalling three percent on Apple purchases and two percent elsewhere. While the Apple Card is primarily designed to be used via Apple Pay, a physical card will also be provided - which has no visible card number, Card Verification Value (CVV) code, expiration date, or signature adorning its plain white surface. Purchases made using the physical card, though, are limited to one percent cashback.

Apple has confirmed that the Apple Card will launch in the US this summer, with no word yet as to international availability, while more information on pricing and availability on Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade is due in the autumn. Apple News+, meanwhile, is available in the US today priced at $9.99 a month (around £7.60 excluding taxes) with UK availability scheduled for later this year.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04