Apple has traditionally held an event in March to show off some new hardware products. The tech giant is holding a special event in March again, but this time it might not be all about hardware. Following weeks of leaks and rumors, Apple has officially sent out press invites for a March 25 event – Yes, it’s just a couple of weeks away.
Apple will live stream the event
The event is scheduled to take place at 10 AM Pacific Time (1 PM ET) on March 25th at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Apple’s invite for the March 25 event starts with a showreel and has the caption “It’s show time.” The caption is a clear indication that it would focus on services rather than hardware products. The tech giant will live stream the event on its website for millions of its fans around the world.
Apple event March 25 pic.twitter.com/BkaJyXCkYS
— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) March 11, 2019
If you are old enough to remember, Apple had used the same “It’s show time” tagline for its 2006 event. At that event, Apple announced the so-called iTV which was later renamed the Apple TV, and started offering movies through the iTunes Store.
Streaming TV service – the biggest highlight of the March 25 event
Apple has been not-so-secretly working on its streaming TV service for years to take on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It has spent more than $2 billion in Hollywood to produce original TV shows and movies for its upcoming service. The company has also signed popular celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell for its TV shows. Just last week, there were reports that Apple has signed Captain Marvel star Brie Larson to play a CIA agent in a TV series.
The streaming TV service will not only include original programming from Apple but also content from other providers such as Starz, Viacom, and CBS Corp. Apple is also in talks with HBO to bring original HBO programming to its streaming service. It’s unclear how much the TV service would cost. Recent reports suggest the company will offer at least some of its programming for free to Apple device users. The full-fledged service could cost $15 per month.
Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters that the streaming TV service would go live in April, just weeks after the March 25 event. However, other reports claim it will launch towards the end of this year. The iPhone maker aims to launch the service globally to challenge Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, each of which has more than 100 million paying subscribers. Apple will likely distribute the service through its App Store, which is available in more than 100 countries.
The streaming TV service comes at a time when Apple and its investors are focusing on the rapidly-growing services business. The Cupertino company expects its services revenues to reach $50 billion by 2021.
News and magazine subscription service
At the March 25 event, the iPhone maker is also expected to launch a news and magazine subscription service. It has been described as the ‘Netflix for news.’ The service will allow users to pay a single monthly fee to access dozens of magazines and news sources such as The New York Time, WSJ, and Washington Post. The service is said to cost $10 per month. The magazine subscription service will become part of the existing Apple News app.
Apple is reportedly taking a 50% cut of the revenue from the news service, so it’s having a hard time convincing publishers. News sites that have their own online subscription services are reluctant to get on board. The company will roll out the news subscription service as part of the iOS 12.2 update. The iOS 12.2 is currently in beta stage, and will be released after the March 25 event.
Will there be any hardware products?
Apple has announced hardware products at its March events in the past. The tech giant has several rumored products such as the 7th-generation iPad, a new iPad mini, the long delayed AirPower wireless charging mat, and the AirPods 2 in the pipeline. But hardware is unlikely to be the primary focus of the March 25 event. Tim Apple wouldn’t want the hardware refresh to steal the limelight from the services.
Apple could hold a separate event for the hardware products or announce them via press releases in the next few weeks. Are you excited about the hardware products or the upcoming streaming TV service and news subscription service? Let us know in the comments below.