Actors Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, right, smile on stage during an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

It took a while, but finally — and with the carefully curated help of Oprah, Big Bird and Goldman Sachs — Apple has at last unveiled a new streaming TV service, its own branded credit card and a news subscription product.

The moves have been largely expected and so far don’t appear to drastically alter the competitive landscape the way Apple has done with previous products such as the iPhone and the iPad.

Still, the announcements represent an important step for the company as it seeks to diversify how it makes money amid declining sales of the iPhone, even if by themselves they are unlikely to turn Apple’s big ship either way. But it’s a way to keep fans sticking with Apple even when they aren’t buying a new iPhone every year.

Monday’s announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service. Here’s a rundown on what Apple unveiled — what’s good, what’s not so good and what we still don’t know.

APPLE TV PLUS

The good: Oprah, Jason Momoa, Big Bird, Steven Spielberg and a host of other stars have lent themselves to original Apple shows that range from documentaries to science fiction, drama and preschool television programming. The focus on “quality storytelling” is consistent with Apple’s image and analysts say is likely to produce some hit shows.

The bad: Even so, “it will lack the full range and diversity of content available through Netflix, Amazon and others, and that is set to limit its appeal,” said Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight. Apple also joins a crowded market and it’s not clear how many more monthly subscriptions people have the money and the bandwidth for.

The unknown: Apple hasn’t said how much it’s going to cost.

APPLE NEWS PLUS

The good: The price, $10 per month, looks like a good deal compared to separate subscriptions for newspapers and magazines (Apple will include more than 300 of the latter, including The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated). Apple is touting “richly designed articles” that let people read publications tailored to Apple devices in all their glory. Apple has also included privacy protections, and says it will collect data about what people read in a way that it won’t know who read what — just how much total time is spent on different articles.

The bad: While The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal have signed on, other big-name news publishers, such as The New York Times, have not. Nor have, in fact, most other major U.S. newspapers.

The unknown: It’s not entirely clear how much news you’re getting for your money. The Journal, famous for its business and industry coverage and commanding nearly $40 a month, will make “specially curated” general-interest news available for Apple customers, for example. Other stories will still be there — but Apple says users will have to search for the articles themselves.

APPLE CARD

The good: Security and privacy, two areas Apple prides itself on, are a clear focus. The physical version of the card has no numbers, and the digital version lives in your Apple Wallet on your phone, where it’s protected by Face ID or Touch ID so even if someone steals your phone they won’t be able to use the card to buy things. Apple says it won’t get information on what you buy with the card or where or for how much. There are no late fees.

The bad: The rewards (2 per cent cash back for all purchases using the digital version of the card, 1 per cent using the physical version and 3 per cent cash back at Apple stores) are nothing to write home about. The card is meant for Apple users, so if you aren’t, it’s probably not for you.

The unknown: What sort of credit score you need to get approved, as well as exact interest rates.

READ MORE: Apple details new magazine, news app at services event

APPLE ARCADE

The good: Apple’s new game subscription service, which will launch this fall, will be free of ads and in-app purchases, which can quickly add up and have become common in mobile games. Apple promises more than 100 games, and they will be exclusive to the service, so there will be plenty of fresh adventures.

The bad: The service will only be available on Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs. That could be frustrating for those who don’t own Apple products.

Unknown: Apple said all games would be available with one subscription, but did not say how much it would cost or when exactly the service will launch. It has partnered with a few well-known game creators, including Hironobu Sakaguchi of “Final Fantasy” fame, but it’s unclear how well all the new games will work or how fun they’ll be to play.

___

AP Technology Writer Rachel Lerman contributed to this story.

Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Valley First feeds a big Okanagan need

Feed the Valley succeeding in fighting hunger

City of Vernon cuts Portland Loo hours

Facility now only open until 8 p.m.; council looks at adjusting schedule

Walk this way, if you dare at Armstrong farm theatre

Caravan Farm Theatre near Vernon presents Walk of Terror

Rockabilly and zombies merge for good cause in Vernon

Living Independent Vernon to host Halloween dance to raise funds

North Okanagan salmon expert supports calls for change in salmon management

A North Okanagan salmon expert supports the Federation’s call to move away from net fishing

Competition shakes up for the Okanagan Mixoff

The Okanagan Mixoff takes place Nov. 7 in Kelowna

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

South Okanagan dangerous offender guilty plea struck down

Trial delayed again because Ronald Teneycke failed to elect his choice of trial

Six bears destroyed in three days in West Kelowna

A West Kelowna business has been charged for leaving garbage around Lake Okanagan Resort

West Kelowna Warriors being sold back to BC Hockey League

Current owner Kim Dobranski said the sale back to the BCHL should be completed by the end of October

Police standoff ends peacefully in West Kelowna

A distraught man was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon

Most Read