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Apple event: Company announces credit card, news subscription service

Image: Apple CEO Tim Cook at an event in Cupertino, California, on Sept. 12
Apple CEO Tim Cook at an event in Cupertino, California, on Sept. 12, 2018. Copyright Noah Berger AFP - Getty Images file
Copyright Noah Berger AFP - Getty Images file
By Daniel Arkin with NBC News Tech and Science News
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The services signal a new era for a company that has long focused on hardware.


Apple unveiled a collection of digital services on Monday, signaling a new era for a company that has long focused on hardware.

At an event Monday at its Silicon Valley headquarters, the tech giant announced an upgraded news and magazine app, a new iPhone-based credit card and a video game subscription platform.

The company was also expected to introduce a much-hyped streaming video platform. It is reportedly spending around $1 billion on original shows and movies from top Hollywood talent, including Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon.

The push into services comes amid lagging sales growth for the company's marquee consumer product, the iPhone, in large part because it's more difficult to entice iPhone owners to upgrade to newer models.

Here's a look at the major announcements so far:

  • The Apple News subscription service now features more than 300 magazines, as well as The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and access to premium digital publications, according to Roger Rosner, the company's vice president of applications. It costs $9.99 per month.
  • The new Apple Card is a payment system that will not charge users any fees. Its users will get 2 percent cash back on purchases and 3 percent cash back on Apple purchases. It is slated to debut on the Wallet app this summer, said Jennifer Bailey, the company's vice president of internet services.

The stream dream

Apple is not the only deep-pocketed player looking to gain a foothold in streaming video, a marketplace dominated by the big-spending digital titan Netflix.

Disney plans to launch a service of its own this year, bolstered by a massive library that now includes assets from 21st Century Fox, the film and TV studio it acquired in a $71 billion deal.

AT&T, the owner of HBO and the Warner Bros. film studio, is also rolling out a streaming platform in the months to come centered on popular series like "Game of Thrones."

Netflix's $10 billion investment in original content dwarfs that of Apple, but the latter boasts more than 1.4 billion active devices across the globe — a massive built-in audience for its new shows and movies.

Apple's premium original content unit is led by Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, a pair of veteran executives poached from Sony Pictures Television, the unit behind the massive hit "Breaking Bad."

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