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Apple’s March 25 media event in Cupertino is likely to feature not two but three separate new services. Beyond the widely expected launch of news magazine subscriptions and reveal of a paid video streaming offering, the company is expected to debut an Apple-branded credit card, Bloomberg reports today.
Whispers of the Apple credit card — backed by Goldman Sachs — have been making the rounds since last May, when a report suggested that the companies were negotiating terms, including Apple’s split of transactions and possible customer perks for using the service. Today’s report says that the offering, code-named “Project Cookie,” is supported by a freshly tweaked Wallet app in iOS 12.2, and that Apple has invited payments industry journalists to the event.
Apart from the convenience of full Apple Pay wireless and encrypted transactions, customer incentives to use the card remain unclear. Rewards cards commonly offer usage perks, such as points that can discount future purchases, a benefit Apple could use to increase sales at its own stores.
The report also suggests that Apple is “racing” to make last-minute deals so it can launch its video service with third-party offerings while it works to complete its own TV shows and movies. Popular paid video channels such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime are all said to be in talks for deals, with “at least a couple” of agreements expected by the end of this week.
Launch timing for the video service has remained ambiguous leading up to the event. Earlier reports suggested that Apple may only tease the offering ahead of a late 2019 launch but will bring A-list celebrities to the March event to show off its star power.
Details of the news offering, likely to be called Apple News Magazines, have continued to leak since the company acquired a magazine subscription service called Texture last year. Yesterday, dialog boxes and hooks for the service were discovered in a beta release of macOS 10.14.4, apparently confirming an all-you-can-read offering backed by magazines such as Bon Appetit, Fast Company, and National Geographic.
Collectively, the announcements are expected to dramatically expand Apple’s services business, which has grown to become a large part of the company’s revenue stream. Existing services contributed over $10 billion to Apple’s bottom line in the last quarter alone, and Apple could add another $10 billion annually just by getting 100 million video subscribers on the rolls with $100 yearly service fees — a realistic expectation within three to five years, according to one analyst.
Apple’s event will be livestreamed on March 25 from its Cupertino campus. We’ll be covering the announcements live as they happen.
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