The future of Apple is monthly subscription fees, across the board.


Apple's big plans, from TV to credit cards, take shape

On Monday, Apple held an event that was a little different from its usual lineup: it didn't talk about hardware at all, but only focused on software and services it's planning to offer. Over the space of two hours, Apple laid out the future of the company—subscriptions—and a new focus on getting recurring revenue from monthly fees.

We learned about four major new services over the course of two hours:

Apple News+ — a $9.99 per month subscription that provides unlimited access to more than 300 magazines within the Apple News app.

Apple Arcade — a monthly subscription that provides unlimited access to 'exclusive games' on iOS, tvOS and macOS, which will contain exclusive titles and indie ideas. We don't know pricing or availability yet beyond 'Fall 2019.'

Apple Card — an Apple-branded credit card that allows US-based customers to get Apple Pay immediately, and focuses heavily on privacy. Issued by Goldman Sachs, the card operates through the Wallet app and says there are no fees at all. This is a trojan horse for increasing Apple Pay adoption!

Apple TV+ — a monthly subscription for a new TV/movie streaming service that only contains Apple-exclusive content. We knew Apple was spending millions on buying the rights to shows and movies—this will be where they live when it launches. We don't know pricing or availability beyond 'Fall 2019.'

There's so much that could be broken down about this event, so if you're looking for the full low-down you could read this recap I wrote earlier in the week. In my mind, the biggest takeaway from this event was that Apple is intent on getting more recurring revenue under its belt—and it's going as broad as it can to get there.

Before this, it was all Apple Music and iCloud, and now the average user could pay for up to five separate subscription services from the company—if you signed up to all of them at once, it could be an additional $50 each month. What we don't know is if any of these services will truly go global, or if they'll remain as US-focused as they appeared to be during the event.

The sticking point, however, was how few firm details we got about many of these products. While TV news was the most widely anticipated part of the show, we learned frustratingly few details about what shows it'll carry, what you'll pay every month, or even the specific device types it'll arrive on. Apple used the time to parade out the celebrities it's funding to make shows, but even they seemed to have as few answers as we do.

What's clear is Apple wants you—and investors—to think about it as the services and content company, not the iPhone company. Whether or not that sticks remains to be seen, but the days of relying on hardware sales will fade away, and Apple is positioning itself for riding the next big wave.

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Inside Airbnb's tactics for taking on local governments

Here in Amsterdam, Airbnb is a pervasive part of conversation: as the housing squeeze is ever worse, and there are fewer properties for renters to find, the government has attempted to crack down on the service. But, Airbnb has all sorts of tactics for how to deal with these crackdowns—and avoid them in the first place.

Inside Airbnb's war on local governments [WIRED]

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The danger of 'I already pay for Apple News' [Techcrunch]

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The long, complicated, frustrating history of Medium [Nieman Lab]


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