Apple is planning to unveil its very own video and news subscription offerings as of next month, which will be the first major new digital services from the company since 2015.
The California-based technology giant is planning an event for 25 March, to announce both services, according to people familiar with the plan. The iPhone maker invited Hollywood stars, including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and director JJ Abrams, to attend the event.
The video service will be similar to Amazon.com's Prime Video and Netflix products and will include TV shows as well as movies, either acquired or funded by Apple. The company has created dozens of original programmes so far but they have never before wrapped them in a subscription. The paid service will probably launch later this year.
Final details are still being worked out, and Apple's plans could change. With iPhone sales slowing down, Apple is turning to digital services to keep revenue growing. Apple Music is already a hit with more than 50 million subscribers. Wall Street noted that Apple will eventually roll many of these offerings into one bundled monthly subscription, similar to Amazon's successful Prime programme.
Apple has been working on this streaming video service idea for a number of years now, under the guidance of former Sony Pictures executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht. In 2018 Bloomberg News reported that Apple would begin rolling out the idea in 2019.
The content will probably be integrated into Apple's TV app on iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs, which launched in 2016. Along with an Apple subscription, there will be some free content. Users will be able to pay to access shows from other providers, such as Starz, which is already possible with Amazon's video service. Apple doess already offers a handful of free shows, such as Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps.
The magazine subscription service, which has been in testing with some of the Apple employees for months, will launch as part of an iOS 12.2 update scheduled for release later this year. The updated Apple News app will include a Magazines tab similar to the app Texture, which Apple acquired back in 2018.