Apple Doubles Down On Services As iPhone Slips


Apple's emphasis on services is kicking into a higher gear as its largest business, the iPhone, suffers a major decline in revenue.

On Monday, Apple held an event entirely devoted to its services business, which included the announcement of several brand-new services.

[Related: Apple's 4 Newest Products: Here's What To Know]

Those include a service for original video content (Apple TV+), a paid news subscription service (Apple News+) and the Apple Card, a credit card that is primarily meant for use with Apple Pay (though a physical card will be provided to users, too).

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Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple signaled that it’s putting significant investment into the new services, particularly the original video content service, which will feature TV shows and movies created by and starring a wide range of A-listers. Those include Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard.

The launch of the new services comes after Apple reported that iPhone revenue for its first fiscal quarter, ended Dec. 29, plummeted 14.9 percent to $51.98 billion, year over year.

The event also comes the week after Apple used press releases to announce a number of hardware products—including new iPads, iMacs and AirPods—without holding a launch event.

Michael Oh, founder of Cambridge, Mass.-based solution provider TSP LLC, said it was telling that Apple bypassed doing an event on the recent hardware announcements, in favor of holding the services event.

Apple's services business—led by the App Store and Apple Music—climbed 19.1 percent to a record $10.88 billion in revenue during the company’s fiscal Q1.

For a company that has traditionally been hardware-driven, the services revenue growth at Apple is "quite incredible," Oh said. "I think it's a smart play for Apple to try to strengthen that ... There's huge opportunity for them to be less dependent on hardware."

For Apple News+, a $9.99-per-month subscription will provide users with access to more than 300 magazines—including the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and National Geographic—along with at least two newspapers, the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. Apple News+ is available today.

Benefits of the Apple Card will include no late fees and 2-percent cash back on purchases made using Apple Pay. The cash back will be returned to users on a daily basis through a feature Apple is calling "Daily Cash." Apple Card, which is a collaboration with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, is targeted for launch this fall.

Apple TV+ is also aimed at a fall launch, and Apple did not disclose pricing.

Additionally, a game subscription service, Apple Arcade, will launch this fall featuring exclusive games. Pricing was not disclosed.