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Apple unveils video subscription service, taps into news, video games, finance

Apple Inc. on March 25 unveiled a video streaming service that includes its first foray into original programming, along with a news subscription app, a video game subscription offering and a new credit card.

At its annual spring press event, Apple debuted the much-anticipated Apple TV+, a subscription streaming service featuring exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries from celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Apple TV+ will launch this fall, though Apple did not provide pricing details. All content will be accessible from Apple's Apple TV app and will be available in over 100 countries.

The new content will focus on issues ranging from immigration to relationships in the workplace and early childhood education. Winfrey is set to release two documentaries: "Toxic Labor," which addresses workplace harassment, and an untitled multipart series focusing on mental health.

"Apple TV+ will define commitment to quality storytelling, all in one place, on every screen in your life," said Zack Van Amburg, who oversees Apple's video programming, at the March 25 event.

In addition to Apple TV+, Apple announced Apple TV Channels, which will combine cable subscription services such as Spectrum and DIRECTV with streaming services, including Amazon.com Inc. Prime Video and Hulu LLC, into the Apple TV app. Apple TV Channels will be incorporated into the Apple TV app on iOS beginning in May and on MacOS later this year.

Apple also revealed Apple News+, a premium version of the company's current free Apple News app that will provide access to articles from over 300 magazines, including Vogue, National Geographic Magazine and People, as well as newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. The news app is priced at $9.99 per month and is available immediately.

Roger Rosner, Apple's vice president of applications, emphasized the news offering's focus on privacy, saying at the event: "We don't know what you read and ... we don't allow advertisers to track you."

Turning to gaming, the company disclosed Apple Arcade, its first game subscription service, available on mobile, desktop and in the living room. The service includes access to over 100 games exclusive to Apple. It will be available in the fall; no pricing information was provided.

Apple also announced its first credit card, backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Customers can sign up for the Apple Card within the Wallet app on their phones and start using it with Apple Pay in stores, mobile apps or online. The card has iPhone-specific features, such as making Apple Card support available 24/7 by sending a text through the phone's Messages app.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said all of the new offerings highlight Apple's continued focus on bolstering its services business.

"You can see how important these services are for us and all the ways they extend the experiences for our customers even further," the CEO said at the conclusion of the event.