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1. Apple’s March 25th event is official: ‘It’s show time’

Back around Valentine’s Day the world got wind that Apple was planning an event on March 25th to release a subscription streaming video service and a subscription news service.

Now the date is official:

Apple Show Time event

  • Apple invitations featuring this gif were sent out to the media for March 25th, 10 am local time, at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.
  • (Or as @panzer quipped: “Looking forward to seeing Tim Apple at the Steve Apple Theater for the Apple Apple Show Apple.”)
  • As always, not much was given away in the invite but Apple first announced the Apple TV in 2006 with an event taglined “Showtime,” for you Apple diehards.
  • The indications are for a launch of ‘Apple News Magazines,’ a digital magazine subscription bundle service which may or may not include major news publishers.
  • And probably the bigger news is the expected launch of Apple TV & Movies, which will finally reveal what Apple has been cooking up with its content deals with the likes of Oprah, plus apparent TV with the Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Aaron Paul, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and more big Hollywood names.

$$$:

  • Ahead of the announcement in about two weeks time, what can we expect will Apple charge for each service? Will they launch that day or shortly after?
  • Will it bundle services together – e.g. Music, iCloud, News, and Movies/TV? Will it keep them all separate?
  • In terms of the competition, Netflix’s most popular plan is $12.99 a month, while ad-free Hulu starts at $11.99, with Live TV a major add-on. YouTube Premium from Google runs at $11.99 per month for ad-free videos and music, save and watch videos offline, and more.
  • The other concept is an Amazon Prime-style membership, where a one-time annual payment opens access to fast delivery as well as other Prime benefits including streaming video. It currently costs $99 per year or about $8.25 per month.
  • Also, the great ‘other’ competitor, Fortnite, is free-to-play, with its Battle Pass about $10 which adds more challenges and fun, and lasts about three months in a single Fortnite season.
  • Wherever Apple’s pricing lands, it will be fascinating.

Bonus for Apple users (no really, an actual bonus): Apple is surprisingly offering a 10% bonus when adding funds to accounts for App Store and iTunes purchases (MacRumors) until March 14th. It looks like North America only, though.


2. This Google Pixel 3 mic issue is bad news if you use it like a regular phone (AA).


3. Redmi Note 7 Pro review: Gleaming hardware, unpolished software (AA).


4. Vivo Apex 2019 Concept hands-on: What’s it like to use a phone with no buttons or ports? (AA).


5. The U.S. tells Germany to stop using Huawei equipment or lose some intelligence access (The Verge).


6. In better news, Huawei says it has shipped 10 million Mate 20 series smartphones (AA).


7. The www is 30 years old today! Sir Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web, wrote his proposal on March 12, 1989, for “linked information systems” (CERN). (“Vague, but exciting” is what his boss wrote on the proposal.) Anyway, Berners-Lee has some thoughts on what’s next (webfoundation.org). Fighting dysfunction is a central theme. There’s a Google Doodle, too.


8. Instagram founders talk for the first time since leaving Facebook: discuss Snapchat and breaking up Facebook at SXSW 2019 talk (Engadget).


9. Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, has shared gameplay details for its upcoming ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ AR app. It looks like a more advanced Go game in the same style: players will have to hunt for “magical artifacts” instead of Pokémon, and use spells (rather than Pokéballs) to capture them (official site). You can pre-register now, too (AA).


10. The US government will be scanning your face at 20 top airports, documents show (BuzzFeed).


11. “Scientists: Maybe if we only dim the sun a little it won’t backfire horribly(Earther).


12. Also, OpenAI the non-profit founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman to save the world from artificial intelligence has …decided to pursue profits (BusinessInsider). “Returns for our first round of investors are capped at 100x their investment.” …right. Is this the start of the end for the AI bubble?


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