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March 25 Apple event: Netflix-style streaming service, magazines and credit cards – CNET

Apple’s March 25 launch event is upon us, and we’re expecting it to shed some light on Apple’s new video streaming service, magazine subscription services, credit card and potentially some clues about the company’s next big product launches.

Apple’s March event could be all about services

After weeks of rumors, Apple sent out an official invitation for a launch event on March 25 at 10 a.m. PT to be held at the Steve Jobs theater in its Cupertino headquarters. The tagline on the invite for this event: “It’s show time” followed by a black and white countdown reminiscent of a classic Hollywood film– further proof that this event could be about video.


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Even before outlets like Buzzfeed and Bloomberg ever suggested a March 25 event, we were already expecting some kind of Spring announcement from Apple. Last year the company held its iPad event in Chicago during the last week of March. Except this time around the event is not expected to be about iPads, or hardware of any sort for that matter. The main headliners, according to the reports, will be Apple’s new subscription services:

Apple’s Netflix killer

Over a year and $1 billion dollars after we first heard news of it, Apple appears to be ready to reveal the new video streaming service. It’s no secret Apple has been gearing up to launch its own original content for a Netflix-style streaming service with a library of at least 25 original shows ranging from dramas, comedies, docuseries and kids’ programming. Big name celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Reese WitherspoonJennifer AnistonJennifer Garner and directors J.J. Abrams, and Stephen Spielberg are on board, some of whom may actually be attending the event. 

But even Apple could have an uphill climb with established players such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video and now maybe Disney all vying for your screen time. Which is why the company may look to broaden its reach beyond its own series. According to a Bloomberg report out this week the Cupertino giant may be courting some bigger names like Showtime, HBO and Starz to join its service. Apple may also be exploring a freemium plan to lure in even more people. Rich Greenfield, an analyst for BTIG suggests Apple’s original shows could be free for iOS users, with the option to pay a subscription fee to add other providers to the service. Although we wont know he exact payment model for certain until the event. 

Magazine service 

The other big service announcement could come as a subscription news service. Apple’s news service would be a premium subscription plan on its current News app that would allow users to view content from different publishers (magazine and newspapers). The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are just some of the major news outlets rumored to be in talks with Apple to be part of this service. But according to a Wall Street Journal report, publishers are hesitant to sign on because Apple would take 50 percent of the revenue from the service.

Apple credit card?

And the last thing Apple could announce at this event? A credit card. According to Bloomberg, iOS 12.2 will bring an cobranded Apple credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs. It’s rumored to be much like a regular credit card, including purchase rewards and up to 2 percent cash back. It would likely live in your Wallet — the digital one, that is. 

AirPods, the iPad Mini and Apple’s rumored spring products

These big announcements may not leave room for anything else at the March 25 event, but there is a remote possibility that Apple decides to throw in a few devices to the mix around the same time: AirPower wireless charging mat, iPads and a the AirPod sequels or at least their  wireless charging case.  

Apple has already registered seven new iPad models with the Eurasian Economic Commission, typically a precursor to launch. And there appeared to be mention of some of these models in the public beta code of iOS 12.2 as described by Apple developer Steve Troughton-Smith on Twitter. The seven models could include a cheaper 10-inch iPad to replace last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, and a new iPad Mini, a model that hasn’t gotten a refresh in over four years.

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The iPad Mini 5 is rumored to look almost exactly the same as previous models, but with a faster processor.


Josh Miller/CNET

A report from Mac Otakara (via MacRumors) suggests the new Mini would have the exact same design and dimensions as the previous model, meaning no Face ID or slimmer bezels, but it would keep the headphone jack and Lightning port missing from last year’s iPad Pros and gain a faster A10 or A10X processor.

We could also finally see the AirPower wireless charging mat that the company first mentioned in September 2017 and a sequel to the long-forgotten iPod Touch. CNET’s Scott Stein would also love to see an iPhone SE 2 as a smaller, cheaper iPhone alternative to the existing line-up.

There’s also talk of the AirPods 2, with either a complete remodel or at the very least a wireless charging case. The AirPods sequel are rumored to have biometric sensors, noise cancelation, water resistance and new color options. According to Taiwanese site DigiTimes Apple may already be gearing up for mass production of both the new AirPods and iPads, citing industry sources which may coincide with a March 25th announcement.  

Apple opens registration for WWDC 

Next on the events calendar: WWDC, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which as of this week has an official start date of June 3.

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Apple

This week Apple published details of its event for developers which will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California from June 3 through the 7. 

Early rumors suggested this was where Apple would announce its new streaming service, which we’ve now ruled out, but at any rate we are definitely expecting software updates across the board. The next iOS 13 update is rumored to be bringing Dark Mode to the iPhone, as Apple did on MacOS last year, and those 230 new emoji we heard about last week, along with updates to MacOS, WatchOS and TVOS.

Developers interested in attending have until March 20 at 5 p.m. (PDT) to register via Apple’s WWDC website.

And that would just get us through the first half of the year. Needless to say, it’s looking like a busy 2019 for Apple.

Originally published Feb. 15.

Updates March 14: Adds details about the official invitation for Apple’s launch event, WWDC announcement and new rumors about the March 25th launch event.


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