Apple is reportedly planning a surprise event on March 25. Apple’s March event, which will be its first this year, possibly won’t see any new hardware, rather it is expected to be a service focused event that will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus.
Apple’s March event – no hardware, only services
According to a report from BuzzFeed, Apple’s March event would focus on Apple’s service business. Thus, it is unlikely we will see any new rumored hardware such as the iPad mini, AirPods, or even the long-awaited AirPower.
What’s surprising about the event is that over the past few years Apple’s March event has focused on iPads. But, this year, if the BuzzFeed report is true, there would be no such hardware-related announcements this time.
Apple has not yet sent the invites for the event, but BuzzFeed has a reliable track record when it comes to getting such dates right. Moreover, the report notes that Apple could use the event to unveil its long-awaited news subscription service, which would add paid subscription options to its Apple News service.
Apple has held events in March 2015, 2016, and 2018. So, there is a good chance it will hold the event this year as well. But, it will be interesting to see if it will introduce new services at the event (as reported by BuzzFeed) or new hardware (something that has been done in the previous years) or launch both services and hardware.
If Apple doesn’t launch these services at the March event, it is possible that the company could plan a second spring event. Or it might introduce the new services later in the year at the WWDC, or Apple could announce the launch via a press release itself without holding any event.
What new services is Apple planning?
For a long time, there have been reports of Apple coming up with a paid unlimited subscription to Apple News. It was also reported that Apple could bundle premium magazine and news subscriptions, something similar to what Netflix and Hulu do for TV and movies.
Data miners also found images of the news service in the iOS 12.2 beta last month, suggesting the company is close to launching it. And, the latest BuzzFeed report of Apple’s March event backs up the findings of the data miners.
However, a recent report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is facing some issues with the publisher partners over the revenue split for the news service. According to the WSJ, the iPhone maker is asking for a 50% cut. Apple’s new service is rumored to cost $10 a month, but the WSJ says the rate is still not finalized.
News publishers are said to be cautious about entering into the deal with Apple. The revenue split is not their only concern, news publishers are also concerned about Apple’s intent to control the credit card information and email addresses, notes MacRumors.
Apple is also reportedly planning an upgraded the TV application, which would support third-party services. A report last month claimed that this new service would launch sometime in April or May. But, there are chances that Apple may introduce the service in the March event.
It’s been rumored that Apple would bundle the upcoming news service with iCloud storage and the television service. Such a bundle would offer an all-in-one Apple services package. Moreover, to launch such a service, Apple would introduce news and the new TV service together, possibly at the March event.
Why Apple needs a robust revenue segment?
Apple is counting on its service business to boost the revenue growth going forward following a drop in iPhone sales. The company plans to generate $50 billion a year from services by 2020. Services from the company currently include iCloud, Apple Music and more.
For the last quarter, Apple’s services revenue hit an all-time high of $10 billion. It accounted for 16% of Apple’s total revenue for the quarter. In comparison, services were just 10% of the total revenue in the fourth-quarter of 2015. Currently, services revenue for Apple is more than the iPad but less than the revenue from Mac.
Though revenue for iPhones has increased, it is mainly due to higher price tags. However, increasing prices further could create more issues for the company. So, it is very important for the company to boost its services segment, something that we believe Apple is aggressively working on.