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Apple set to unveil its Netflix-like video and news services TODAY

Apple announced a new chapter beyond the iPhone, iPad or the iMac.

The traditionally hardware-focused tech giant took the wraps off of a slew of new subscription services at its 'Show Time' event, live from Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's Cupertino, California-based headquarters. 

Among the offerings debuted were a video streaming service, populated with original content from Apple and programming from HBO, Showtime and Starz, as well as a subscription news service that bundles content from popular providers for $9.99 a month. 

It also launched a monthly 'Netflix for games' subscription, in addition to a credit card that's tied to the iPhone and Apple Pay.  

The announcements come amid declining sales of Apple's main revenue generator, the iPhone, as well as a number of recent updates to its other flagship products. 

Leading up to Monday's event, Apple switched on its livestream early on Sunday, in an attempt to drum up attention for the big announcements. 

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Apple is expected to begin a new chapter beyond the iPhone or the iPad when CEO Tim Cook takes the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater. The 'Show Time' event kicks off at 1p.m. (ET) today

The landing page for the event showed a stream of an eerily empty Steve Jobs Theater, with different camera angles recording a rotating cast of characters that appeared on screen and, in one case, even on stage. 

Throughout the hours long marketing stunt, a man appeared on stage to do a mic check and read some poetry, before being upstaged by an incoming call from actor Chris Evans, known for his role as Captain America, shown on screen.  

Other highlights include a random CarPlay sequence of a GPS navigation to the Steve Jobs Theater, as well as a text conversation between Tim Cook and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant about meeting up to play basketball at Apple Park. 

It's unclear whether the stream was live or pre-recorded.

Leading up to the event, Apple switched on its livestream early, in an attempt to drum up attention for the big announcements. One of the stunts included a call from actor Chris Evans

The landing page for the event showed a stream of an eerily empty Steve Jobs Theater, with different camera angles showing off a rotating cast of characters that appeared on screen and, in one case, even on stage. Pictured is a CarPlay sequence of a route to Apple's HQ

In one case, the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater showed texts between Tim Cook and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant about meeting up to play basketball at Apple Park

Among the other footage shown on stage were clips from director Ron Howard and M. Night Shyamalan, among others. 

Apple has dedicated $1 billion (£760 million) to its original content budget, buying the rights to dozens of original shows, some of which were created by in-house studios while other content will come from major industry players.     

That includes a drama series about a network TV morning show starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, as well as a psychological thriller by 'The Sixth Sense' director M. Night Shyamalan.

The tech giant also landed a deal with Oprah Winfrey to contribute original documentaries as well as the mogul's book club where she will reportedly stream live conversations with authors.  

Apple will also offer monthly subscriptions to Starz, Showtime and HBO for $9.99 each, made available to users in a new TV app.

At Monday's event, Apple also debuted a revamped news subscription service.  

Apple made headlines last March when it acquired magazine subscription service Texture and it now plans to build upon that deal with a new platform that bundles content from a wide variety of publishers. 

A live conference at Apple's headquarters in California today introduced a new TV and film streaming service to rival Netflix and Amazon. The subscription-based service will offer a similar model of on-demand content including original shows and movies (stock)

For $9.99 a month, Apple will give users access to 300 magazines, many of them top titles including People, Bon Appetit and Glamour. 

It will also provide access to content from news organizations like the Journal, Vox and others, but not the New York Times and the Washington Post. 

Apple also unveiled its new joint credit card, which it's developing in partnership with Goldman Sachs. 

The card, which will be linked with Apple’s Wallet app, will allow users to set spending goals, track rewards, and manage balances. 

It's expected to come in iOS 12.2 as part of an update to the Wallet app.  

Another major announcement centered around the confirmation of Apple's long-rumored gaming service. 

For a monthly fee, users will be given access to a bundle of paid games from developers that are available in the App Store.   

Apple is turning away from its core hardware business as iPhone sales have increasingly sputtered. 

It's services revenue is on the rise, up 19 per cent to around £$1 billion (£8.3bn) in its most recent quarterly financial report compared to a 15 per cent drop in phone sales. 

But it's late to a market dominated by Netflix, Amazon and HBO, which launched streaming while Apple stayed focused on iPhones, iPads and computers.

While co-founder Steve Jobs began toying with the idea of building a powerful TV business before his death in 2011, it has taken CEO Tim Cook nearly eight years to bring it to fruition. 

The original series on the new Apple service reportedly cost Apple more than $1 billion (£8.3bn), which is far less than Netflix and HBO spend each year. 

'Apple is very late to this game,' eMarketer analyst Paul Verna said.

'Netflix has become the gold standard in how to create and distribute content, using all the data they have about their viewers.'

Netflix's prowess has attracted 139 million subscribers worldwide. 

But Apple will have several other competitors fighting for consumers' dollars.  

WHAT SHOWS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON APPLE'S NEW NETFLIX-RIVAL STREAMING SERVICE?

Apple is making a billion-dollar bet on its own on-demand television service that is tipped to launch in 2019.

The streaming platform, which will rival popular services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, is set for release as early as next March, reports suggest.

Since October 2017, the firm has bought a dozen projects - nine of which have been green-lit for a full series.

The shows are backed by a budget that is set to top $1 billion (£760 million).

The programming would only be available on a subscription channel, most likely bundled with the company's existing Apple Music streaming service. 

They include —

According to sources close to the project, several of the projects have been delayed by Apple, which has pushed back on mature content.

M. Night Shyamalan's show has reportedly been pushed back because Apple requested the removal of crucifixes from the house of the main characters.

The news network drama series has also been pushed back because execs were hoping for a more 'upbeat' show.

Vital Signs has been cancelled completely after Apple CEO Tim Cook took issue with scenes featuring cocaine, an orgy and 'drawn weapons'.

Tom Chapman, associate consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants, said: 'The issue here is that market cannot support many more of these services.

'Hulu, Disney, Britbox, Prime Video, and a string of specialist services such as Curiosity stream and DAZN are already overburdening consumers with choices as it is.

'Apple has three major advantages over Netflix and other existing providers however. 

'First, their hardware ecosystem is a force to be reckoned with, combining Apple TV, iPhones and iPads with Airplay technology will provide consumers with a truly seamless experience.

'Second, Apple's existing billing relationship with customers means it will be easy to drive sign-ups. 

'Third, much like Amazon, Apple TV's proposition is one small part of the company's broader strategy to lock consumers into its hardware and content ecosystem. 

'As a result, it can make competitive pricing decisions to undercut its rivals.

'As for Netflix, their market share is vulnerable to erosion as new services such as Apple's launch and grow.' 

Walt Disney Co. is also launching its own service this year, armed with an imposing library that became more formidable with its purchase of 21st Century Fox's films and TV series. 

AT&T is debuting another streaming service built around HBO.

Apple announced last week that the iMac was being given its first facelift since mid-2017, involving major updates to its speed, graphics performance and display 

Apple has plenty of money to spend, though, with about $245 billion (£186bn) in cash and marketable securities.

It must prove itself attractive to Hollywood even without a track record for supporting high-quality programming and then ensuring it gets widely seen.

As part of its efforts to make quick connections, Apple hired two longtime Sony television executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, in 2017.  

The subscription announcements will come in the wake of a number of surprise device updates announced by the firm last week.

Apple's Airpods 2 

The second generation AirPods look exactly the same as the original version, but its new H1 chip allows for faster connect times, the 'convenience of hands-free 'Hey Siri,'' and 50 per cent more talk time compared to the first-generation wireless headphones, the firm said.  

Prices start at $159 (£159) and go up to $199 (£199) for AirPods with wireless charging case.  

H1 chip allows for speedier connectivity, 50 per cent longer battery life compared to the original AirPods, as well as hands-free 'Hey Siri' activation. 

Siri integration lets users change songs, make a call and adjust the volume with just their voice.  

The AirPods come with either the standard case or Apple's new wireless charging case. Users who already own AirPods can also purchase the wireless charging case on its own for $80 (£61)

CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday teased the new AirPods announcement by sharing a bizarre photo of the headphones on an iPad. The firm also released updated Macs and iPads this week

Apple iMac with Retina display

 Two new models of the iMac, which was given its first facelift since 2017 is available for pre-order. 

Major updates have been made to processing speed, graphics performance and display resolution.

The 21.5-inch iMac will be 60 per cent faster with prices starts at $1,299 (£1,249), while the 27-inch model starts at $1,799 (£1,749) and will operate 2.4 times faster.

Graphics performance will also be up to 80 per cent faster on the 21.5-inch edition and 50 per cent faster on the 27-inch version.

the 21.5-inch screen iMac now features 8th-generation quad-core, and for the first time 6-core processors, delivering up to 60 per cent faster performance. It also comes with Radeon Pro Vega graphics, delivering up to 80 percent faster graphics performance. Retina 4K and 5K display on the 21.5-inch and 27-inch model respectively

Apple 10.5 inch ipad Air and iPad mini 5  

Apple has launched its first iPad mini in nearly four years and a new ipad Air, both of which comes with Apple Pencil. 

 The 10.5-inch iPad Air and 7.9-inch iPad mini 5 are now available to pre-order for $399 (£399) and $479 (£479), respectively. 

The 21.5-inch iMac will be 60 per cent faster with prices starts at $1,299 (£1,249), while the 27-inch model starts at $1,799 (£1,749) and will operate 2.4 times faster.

 Both devices have been upgraded to house Apple's latest A12 Bionic chip, which the tech giant says has given it three times the performance power of the previous generation, as well as graphics processing that is 'nine times faster'.

The Air is also fitted with a True Tone display screen, which Apple claims is 20 per cent larger than previous models, despite being only 0.24 inches (6.1 mm) thick and weighing only 1 pound (456g).

The 10.5-inch iPad Air (pictured) and 7.9-inch iPad mini 5 are now available to pre-order for £399 and £479, respectively

Apple has revealed its first new iPad mini (right) in nearly four years, complete with support for the firm's Apple Pencil stylus

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