In case you hadn’t heard, there’s an Apple event on March 25. That’s probably why we’ve seen Apple quetly drop some refreshes of familiar products these past few days. Monday saw two slightly beefed-up iPads, Tuesday brought news of an upgraded iMac, and yesterday, Apple quietly released new AirPods.
But the big star of next week’s event will likely be Apple’s rumored streaming and news services. (The theory goes that it’s getting all its hardware refreshes out of the way this week, so you can fully focus on what’s really new.) But there’s still a few days before the 25th, and a lot can happen before then. Here are all the rumors swirling about the internet about what Cupertino might be cooking up.
Apple News subscription with some—not all—major publishers
Apple is reportedly working on a monthly news subscription service. Think of it as an aggregator, with the bonus of getting around pesky paywalls. According to The Wall Street Journal, the price should be somewhere around $10, though it appears that Apple’s having some issues getting publishers behind its revenue model. Apple purportedly wants a 50-percent cut, and news-focused publications are none too happy about the financial returns. The news service will also include magazines in some capacity, following Apple’s acquisition of the Texture app. Since buying the app, Bloomberg reports Apple’s already made some changes, like opting for a single fee as opposed to a two-tiered system. The same report suggests Apple’s attempts to relaunch Texture play directly into its plans for the news subscription service. According to MacRumors, magazine publishers seem to be largely onboard as they’re used to the 50-50 split with Apple after it bought Texture. It’s a bit dicier with newspapers. The New York Times reports the Wall Street Journal will be available on the service. Meanwhile, the NYT and Washington Post are said to be opting out.
Photo: Alex Cranz ((Gizmodo)
A TV streaming service like Netflix… sans any edgy content
Apple’s TV streaming service will supposedly launch with more than two dozen TV shows and movies, covering a range of genres. (Though, in a Sports Illustrated interview, Apple said live sports wouldn’t be on the table.) Otherwise, confirmed details about the service are thin. According to CNBC, at least some of the content is expected to be free if you’ve already got Apple hardware. The same report says there could be a flat fee per month. In all likelihood, it’ll stick close to competitors like Hulu and Netflix in terms of actual price.
As far as content goes, Apple’s rumored offering includes a mix of original content as well as give users access to subscription content from other cable providers, though Netflix has already said it will not participate. Even so, Apple still has a lot of programming in the works. Some highlights include an untitled comedy made by the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creators, as well as an animated series called Central Park by the Bob’s Burgers creators. There’s plenty of dramas, including The Morning Show starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell, and a reboot of Stephen Spielberg’s sci-fi anthology series Amazing Stories. Still, Apple’s squeamish attitude toward sex and violence has prompted some creators, like Bryan Fuller, to leave projects altogether over ‘creative differences’.
Some minor design tweaks with iOS 12.2
iOS 12.2 has been in beta testing since late January, which means eagle-eyed developers have already spotted some possible updates Apple could be planning. According to this deep dive from 9to5 Mac, it’s possible there’ll be geofencing limitations for the ECG on the Apple Watch Series 4 (because other countries haven’t cleared it like the FDA has). And, with the news that Apple is partnering with Goldman Sachs for a credit card, we could see “activity rings” for the Wallet pop up as well.
The long overdue arrival of the AirPower mat
Finally. After many ponderings about whether the AirPower mat was vaporware, there’s plenty of evidence its release is imminent. In fact, it may have already launched by the time you’ve scrolled down to this part of the blog.
Part of the speculation stems from evidence of AirPower support in the iOS 12.2 beta. The WSJ reports that Apple approved production of the device earlier this year. That’s bolstered by Apple’s announcement of the new AirPods, which also introduced a wireless charging case. Given that next week’s event will likely focus on services, it’s possible the AirPower mat will drop before then. Or who knows, maybe Apple will wait until June for WWDC or even the holiday season. What’s a few more months of waiting?
A fresh iPod Touch
This week was filled with Apple refreshes of older products, and a newer iPod touch could be next. Analyst and reliable Apple forecaster Ming-Chi Kuo said he expects a new iPod Touch sporting a beefier processor this year. Meanwhile, MacRumors notes a developer caught references to a new iPod touch in iOS 12.2 code as well.