5 Key Takeaways From Apple's New Services and Credit Card Event

New video, magazine and gaming services are coming along with a slate of quality content.
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Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard

Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard

Apple's Tim Cook hosted a very different event on Monday, March 25th. He didn't debut a new iPhone, a new generation of Watch, or an iPad that will transport you to another dimension.

Cook talked credit cards, games, news, and television, and he did all this with the aid of a cadre of very famous guests, including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa and Oprah Winfrey. 

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

It was a consequential event in that it marked Apple's entry into unexpected areas, particularly the financial arena, with its new—and unusual—credit card. It seemed to trumpet one thing loudly for the world to hear: Apple is coming for your media and your money in a brand new way. It wants to take on Netflix as well as Chase. 

A truly detailed breakdown of what Apple has in store would be untenably long. Here's some basic but important info about what's coming down the pipe in the way of some new services and changes in old ones from the House that Jobs Built.

1. Apple Card

How it works—The Card piggybacks on Mastercard's network. You can use it immediately with Apple Pay. That way you get 2% cash back. Once you have the physical card—which is titanium and has no numbers on it at all—you will get 1% back on card purchases. 

Cool feature alert: According to Apple this card will translate the gobbledygook of a typical transaction record into something legible, incorporating brand logos and real names. Crazier still, there will be no late, annual, or international fees. You'll be able to get your own when it launches this summer.

2. Apple Arcade

How it works—like a "Netflix for games." Which is honestly about as straightforward an explanation as you can get. With Arcade, a subscription service, you can play all you want. There are no in-app purchases (which sounds awesome), no ads, and you can play on the iPhone, on a Mac, or on Apple TV. 

There are about 300,000 games to choose from. It launches in the fall of 2019.

3. Apple TV+

How it works—Well, according to Apple, it's "a new streaming service with original stories from the most creative minds in TV and film." Or, if you will, "it’s more like Hulu" than Netflix. They aren't kidding around here, either. A big slate of top-shelf directors and actors showed up to pimp the service and its original programming, which will include a reboot of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories TV anthology, which originally aired on NBC between 1985 and 1987.  

It'll all be ad-free and available on demand. See the slate here.

4. Apple News+

How it works—Uh, it's that Netflix thing again. So, like Netflix, but for printed news. A monthly subscription of $9.99 USD will provide access to hundreds of newspapers and magazines to read on tablets and phones with the News+ app. It's a larger selection than you find in the average city library and includes titles like Bon Appetit, Entertainment Weekly, and yes, Maxim

See the full list of magazines here.

5. TV Channels

This isn't about a single new or enhanced old Apple service so much as it's about perhaps the most shocking news from the presentation. At least where TV is concerned, Apple has decided to play nice with other devices. We can't believe it either. With TV Channels, users will be able to use subscriptions to networks like HBO and Showtime inside the Apple TV app. 

Essentially, it's a step toward turning the app into a virtual cable box. And here's where it gets weird. The Apple TV app will soon be available on Roku, just about any smart TV, and even—surprisingly, given the historic enmity between the big As of tech—Amazon's Fire TV. 

Apple has never tried to play too nice with the competition before, so that's why being able to use the TV app this way is so unusual. 

In the end, consumers might win, after all. We hope.