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  1. ITV Report

Apple announces streaming service, credit card and magazine subscriptions at California event

iPhone maker Apple has announced a video service that could compete with Netflix, Amazon and terrestrial TV.

In a seminar heavily-focused on user privacy, the tech giant launched the new product, alongside several others it hopes will change the way the world pays and plays.

Apple touts the platform as taking some of the world's best storytelling and curating it into one place. As well as original ideas, some well known shows will be brought back to life.

The new services come amid reports of a decline in phone sales, leaving the company to find new ways to make its fans part with their cash.

  • What can be expected from Apple TV+?
Big Bird was one of the 'stars' which announced shows on Apple's new platform. Credit: Apple

The product is said to have $1 billion worth of original content, bringing in some of the work from "some of the world's best creative storytellers".

Apple has secured the backing of some big ticket names for the platform.

Steven Spielberg announced the new service, he was then joined on stage by Steve Carell, Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah and Sesame Street's Big Bird to describe some of the new shows in which they will star and produce.

The subscription service will arrive on Apple devices from autumn 2019.

A further update to the existing Apple TV app will see thousands of movies available within the app, similar to other streaming providers. The service will offer personalised recommendations based on shows previously viewed.

Apple hopes the new apps to revolutionise how its users watch TV by offering the option for them to only pay for the channels they wish to watch, ad-free and on demand. Samsung, LG and Amazon device users will be able to access the renovated app through an update this spring.

Apple announced its new products in a star studded event. Credit: Apple
  • What else did Apple announce?

Apple revealed its plans to launch into the financial services market with a new credit card which it calls Apple Card.

The product will be accepted anywhere its Apple Pay feature is available and will offer 2% cashback to those who use the product to pay for daily essentials.

The partnership between the tech company, Goldman Sachs and Mastercard will be available through Apple Wallet this summer. For places where Apple Pay is not available, the company will issue users with a titanium card which is says is the "most beautifully designed ever".

The tech giant also plans to expand its Apple News app, bringing a major update to the three-year-old service. The upgraded platform, which will be called Apple News+, will continue to curate articles from news publications but also take content from magazines including Time, Vogue and National Geographic for the first time.

Apple plans to launch a credit card and upgrade its News app. Credit: Apple

Elements in 3D will be available within Apple News+. During the presentation Apple showed off a cover of National Geographic, demonstrating a new ability to include moving covers in a bid to bring in new users to the app.

The service will include 300 magazines for a cost of around £10 per month - Apple says to subscribe to all the publications included would cost several thousand pounds per year. The UK will be the first country in Europe to have access to the subscription service from autumn this year.

Gamers will be able to subscribe to a new service called Apple Arcade, giving fuller, unfettered access to gaming apps in its App Store.

Apple hopes the new service will compete against the likes of Netflix. Credit: Apple
  • Why has the company announced these new products now?

The newly announced products are being seen as an attempt to stay ahead of the world's other big tech companies - Apple was named the biggest by Forbes in 2018 but a decline in iPhone sales has lead it to seek new avenues of growth.

Making must-have TV shows and movies that are watchable on any device has propelled Netflix into a force in both Silicon Valley and Hollywood and it is believed Apple wants a piece of the action.

"Apple is very late to this game," said eMarketer analyst Paul Verna.

He added: "Netflix has become the gold standard in how to create and distribute content, using all the data they have about their viewers."

Not only will Apple's service have to compete with already established streamers such as Netflix and Amazon, it will also have to battle with Disney's new video platform, which expected to be available this year.

Until now Apple has remained focused on making gadgets such as iPhones and iPads, but Asian tech firms such as Huawei are now competing on a global scale and Apple's mobile phone monopoly is not what it once was.

It reported a 15% drop in phone sales in its most recent quarterly financial results published at the start of the year.

Monday's subscription announcements come following a number of surprise device updates announced by the firm recently.

Those included the first new iPad mini tablet in more than three years, and a second generation pair of its AirPods wireless earphones, which can be bought with a wireless charging case for the first time.