IPhone sales are in a slump, Apple knew it needed to drum up excitement at its iPhone 11 event Tuesday.
The parade of Apple (AAPL) executives who spoke at the event made no major, unanticipated revelations. But there was no shortage of new details and product features to announce, such as faster iPhone charging and a cheaper-than-expected streaming service.
As expected, Apple’s pushing services
Subscriptions for digital services, such as Apple Care and Apple Music, are key to the company’s future. So, fittingly, CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event with some related announcements.
The first was Arcade, Apple’s $4.99-a-month game subscription service that will launch September 19, with the option for a free trial month. To help sell the service, Cook brought to the stage gamers to demonstrate several of the game offerings — including an updated Frogger.
Cook later announced that new Apple hardware purchases will come with one year of its TV streaming service for free, likely an attempt to get customers hooked on one of the company’s most buzzworthy offerings as it looks to grow the digital services area of its business. If users are updating their iPhones less frequently, they could at least be paying for the services on them in the interim.
But it did still introduce new a iPhone
In fact, it introduced three: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. While the phones don’t look remarkably different from last year’s iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, there are updates, such as longer battery life, immersive sound and three cameras (capable of filming multiple videos at once) on the backs of the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.
Buying from Apple could help you … save money?
One of the biggest surprises from the day was Tim Cook’s announcement of the cost of Apple TV+, the company’s new streaming service set to launch November 1. At just $4.99 per month, Apple TV+ will be the least expensive service yet in the fiercely competitive streaming market, undercutting Netflix and even the hotly anticipated Disney+.
Poor Netflix (NFLX) — it was already losing “Friends” in 2020 and now it’ll compete with a much cheaper Apple TV+, which will feature Jennifer Anniston’s first TV performance since the 1990s cult classic. Netflix (NFLX) and Disney (DIS) stock fell on the news.
Even more savings…
Many of the other products Apple announced Tuesday were also cheaper than expected. This included the $699 iPhone 11, a $329 iPad and a $199 Apple Watch (that’s just a little more than the cost of the AirPods you’re always losing). Lower-priced hardware may help Apple target a broader base of customers as iPhone sales lag.
Filter Spam Calls with iOS13
Apple’s next generation operating system, iOS 13, launches September 19 as a software update for iPhone 6S models and later. With it, Apple is joining the effort to address those pesky spam calls increasingly bothering Americans. The solution: A new setting will let iPhone users send all calls not from people in their contact lists straight to voicemail.
Apple wants to use your health data for research
Apple Watch customers will soon be able to opt into having their hearing, heart rate or menstrual cycle data used for medical research. The company is partnering with medical research institutions such as the National Health Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health to facilitate the studies through its new app, Studies, launching in November for Apple watch users.
The company will not, however, be able to access any health data that directly identifies the user, said Sumbal Desai, vice president of Apple Health.
And another key Apple Watch update
With the new Apple Watch Series 5, it will be easier to check the time during a meeting without your boss noticing. The new “always on” retina display means Apple watch users won’t have to lift their wrist to see the time, among other updates to the product.
So, what didn’t they discuss?
As expected, Apple did not launch a 5G phone at Tuesday’s event. That’s not expected to come until next year, though competitor Samsung has already introduced two models.
Cook also said nothing of the US-China trade war that’s caused disruption and uncertainty for Apple’s supply chain and Chinese customer base in recent months.