Apple CEO Tim Cook explains how new service offerings will work hand in hand with the company’s hardware and software

While Apple’s big event Monday didn’t disappoint when it came to glitz, glamour or even new offerings, services like Apple News+, Apple Card, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ will be largely, if not wholly, ad-free. Marketers looking for new distribution and subscription revenue for their magazines, games or video content may have come away pleased, however.

Privacy reigns. Mostly, though, the announcements were marketer-unfriendly, with the biggest spates of applause coming for privacy-focused (and data-stingy) lines like when CEO Tim Cook explained the mechanism behind the personalization of Apple News and Apple News+ — the company’s new $9.99/month subscription offering that bundles content from around 300 magazines, three newspapers and a few web publishers.

“Sometimes people ask us how we recommend the best articles for you without compromising your privacy. The answer is we download groups of articles from our servers, and then we use on-device intelligence to make recommendations,” Cook said. “And that means we don’t know what you read. And in addition to that, we don’t allow advertisers to track. So what you read about on Apple News will not follow you across the web.”

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Apple VP of Applications Roger Rosner, explains one of the value propositions of Apple News

That said, Apple News+ may be a boon for publishers seeking new distribution and to supplement their current revenue streams with additional subscription dollars. Yet, there’s also the possibility of it cannibalizing current subscription revenue, as it bundles a great volume of existing paywalled content — like the Wall Street Journal — and only costs the end user $9.99/month. The WSJ’s current annual commitment plan comes in at $15.60/month. No word on how the takings will be divvied up among the publishers, but the terms must not be terrible as Apple has managed to collect a substantial number of participants — though not the New York Times or Washington Post, it should be noted.

A new kind of credit card. Even one of marketers’ most treasured sources of data — a credit card — will be very different in Apple’s new incarnation, the Apple Card.

“We created a unique architecture for Apple Card, where Apple doesn’t know what you bought, where you bought it or how much you paid for it,” said Jennifer Bailey, Vice President of Apple Pay, speaking at the event. “So features like spend tracking and categorization all happen using on–device intelligence, not on Apple servers. And for Apple Card, Goldman Sachs will never share or sell your data to third parties for marketing or advertising.”

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Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay

Apple Arcade and Apple TV+, the company’s new subscription services for games and video content, respectively, will be coming out this fall, the company said. Each will be subscription-based destinations for original and exclusive content, but it’s hard to predict how well they’re likely to catch on given that pricing information has not yet been released.

Why marketers should care. If Google is the epitome of the advertising-supported model, Apple is clearly positioning itself as the anti-Google, seeking to distinguish itself from the search giant at every opportunity. So, besides the opportunities for distribution and subscription revenue for content creators, Apple’s announcements’ greatest significance may be what they say about where the market is going.

If consumers flock to paid services and perform all their content searching, browsing and viewing (not to mention paying with the Apple Card) behind the company’s privacy fence, marketers’ ability to analyze data for insights will be the poorer for it.

More about the news

  • The new Apple TV app aims to be a one-stop shop for video content, where users can access their cable TV and subscription services in one place. It will be available not only on the Apple TV device, but also on smart TVs and streaming devices like the Roku and Fire TV. A la carte subscriptions to premium channels like HBO and Showtime will be a part of the offering, as well.

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Peter Stern, VP of Services at Apple, explains Apple TV and Apple TV channels

  • Apple’s announcement of its original video content ambitions (Apple TV+) was particularly star-studded, with everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Steven Spielberg represented and several new shows promised. Oprah capped off the event promising a wealth of collaboration through documentaries and even an interactive version of her book club. “I have joined forces with Apple because there’s a company that has reimagined how we communicate,” said Winfrey. “I’ve joined in order to serve this moment, as the Apple platform allows me to do what I do in a whole new way — to take everything I’ve learned about connecting to people to the next level.”

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