My thoughts on today’s Apple Special Event covering the new services...

Apple TV and Apple TV+

All the press before the event speculated on Apple launching a Netflix-killing TV service. Well, let’s wait and see. Judging by the fact that they didn’t even play a single trailer for a show, they’re clearly a long way from being ready. When they do launch later this year there will be perhaps 20-30 original productions. A good start, but they’ve got a lot of catching up to do to begin challenging Netflix, and there was no mention of which other studios will be including content within the + service.

They did say that we will be able to purchase separate subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, etc. Oh joy, yet more subscriptions. TV is becoming that fragmented it’s getting to the point that it makes sense to go back to Cable/Satellite TV again.

The TV app on iOS and Apple TV leaves a lot to be desired. There wasn’t much mention of new features or interface changes, but then that’s a software thing, not services. Hopefully we’ll hear about some significant improvements at WWDC in June.

The main problems I currently have with the TV app are:

  • Lack of support for multiple profiles
  • No separate Watch List, just the ability to add shows to Up Next, and no abillity to change the order of shows in Up Next.
  • A lack of integration with Netflix and Stan. Netflix integration will likely never happen from what I’ve read.

Given that the TV app is now coming to Smart TVs and even Roku, I hope that doesn’t signal the end of the Apple TV. For those of us who still play content from a large iTunes library running from a home media server, Apple TV for me is still the best way to watch that content.

Apple Arcade

I’m not sure I will subscribe to Apple Arcade. I'm not much of a gamer. It does look an interesting proposition though. I wonder in the long run how the exclusivity agreement will play out with developers? Will the revenue they get from Apple Arcade make up for the potential loss of revenue from not being able to launch on Android?

Apple News +

It will be interesting to see which publishers are on board when the Apple News + subscription reaches Australia later in the year.

In the US, 200 magazines is not particularly a lot, and Apple must be severely disappointed to only have two newspapers sign up on launch.

As with the TV app, I hope we’ll see some improvements to the News app beyond just support for the magazine design they showed in the keynote. At the moment I still prefer Flipboard to consume news. It’s a simple thing but I love the animation of flipping between articles. I also like the fact you can add any RSS to Flipboard - Apple requires publishers to optimise content fo the Apple News app.

Apple Card

I hope the Apple Card comes to Australia. It's very hard to find a credit card in Australia that has no fees (including no international transaction fees), is a reward card, and supports Apple Pay.

Apple marketed the Apple Card has having a low interest rate. When you look into it that low interest rate in the US is between 13% and 24% dependent upon credit worthiness. Low interest rate my arse. Of course, it’s not an issue if you pay off your balance every month.

With no fees, 2% cash back (3% on purchases of Apple stuff), and the ability to use it pretty much everywhere in Australia (where there’s a 99% contactless adoption rate), I could see it becoming my main card, if, and it’s a big if, we get the same deal in Australia.

It’s a shame they’ve partnered with Goldman Sachs. After the 2008 GFC, Goldman Sachs should be liquidated and their Directors in jail.