Closed Apple unveils iPhone 11 and undercuts Netflix

Apple Holds Unveiling Event For Media And Entertainment Services

A live blog from at 12pm EST / 5pm BST.

It’s almost showtime.

Today Apple will hold its closely-watched fall product event in Cupertino, as the tech giant begins the rollout of new iPhones and Watches.

The main event will be the unveil of Apple’s next generation of iPhones, its flagship device that accounted for nearly half of net sales in the most recent quarter. Apple is expected to introduce upgrades for its current high-end iPhones, the XS and XS Max, and a new version of its lower-priced smartphone.

Apple’s services – a fast-growing segment for the company that includes iTunes and the App Store – will also be in the spotlight.

CFRA analyst Angelo Zino expects Apple to announce pricing and a launch date for Apple TV+, the company’s upcoming streaming service. The company has invested heavily in the project, signing up Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston, among others, to create original shows and movies. You can read more about that here.

Apple’s presentation will begin at 1pm EST, or 10am local time in California. Our correspondent Patrick McGee is on site at the Steve Jobs Theatre and will be covering the event live. You can watch the livestream here.

Apple looks beyond the smartphone

With Apple on the verge of revealing its iPhone 11 there is some concern that the percentage of customers willing to shell out extra cash could be considerable lower if the company fails to unveil any big technology improvements, according to FT’s Patrick McGee.

Geoff Blaber, tech analyst for CCS Insight said while Tuesday’s presentation is still “the iPhone event” the phones have been relegated from the central product to merely “the building blocks” for Apple’s wider ambitions.

Read the full story

Tim Cook takes the stage

Apple chief executive Tim Cook took the stage to mark the start of the event.

Apple Arcade

Patrick McGee reports

Apple reveals world’s first game subscription service, with 100+ groundbreaking, exclusive games. These games can’t be found anywhere else.

“No games service has ever launched so many games at once.”

More on gaming

From Patrick McGee:

Now it’s Peter Fabiano from Capcom, to show off an underwater gaming experience. “We’re bringing our brand of game design to a new, wider gaming audience.”

Apple Arcade pricing revealed

Apple Arcade will launch September 19 in 150 countries, with 100-plus games launching in the weeks ahead, Patrick McGee reports.

The service will cost $4.99 per month. The first month will be free.

Apple TV+ to cost $4.99/month

Tim Cook delivered the first big surprise of the day: Apple’s new streaming video service will cost just $4.99 per month for a family subscription.

“This is crazy,” Mr Cook said. “All these great shows for the price of a movie rental.”

Apple TV+ will come free for a year with the purchase of a new device such as an iPhone or Macbook.

The first shows will be available November 1 through the Apple TV app, and more originals will added every month. The launch will include over 100 countries.

One of Apple’s shows, “See”, will star Jason Momoa.

From Patrick McGee:

It takes place centuries from now, when most humans have lost the ability to see. “For the few who remain, vision is only a myth,” the preview says.

Trailers for Apple’s first TV shows have been watched more than 100m times, according to Mr Cook.

Netflix takes a spill

Apple is using its branding power and financial resources to undercut the competition in streaming television shows.

Shares in streaming site Netflix fell nearly 3 per cent to $285.72 after Apple revealed it is pricing its Apple TV+ subscription at $4.99 a month, including family access.

By comparison Netflix charges $8.99 for a basic plan. Its standard plan that allows access to two screens at a time costs $12.99 while its premium access, which allows viewing on four screens at a time, costs $15.99 a month.

Apple unveils new iPads

Apple has announced its seventh generation of iPad tablets.

The new version has a 10.2-inch Retina display with 3.5m pixels. Apple says it has three-times the pixels of the best-selling PC laptop, with two-times the processor performance, Patrick McGee reports.

It will also weigh about a pound and offer up to 10 hours of battery life. It will be made of 100 per cent recyclable aluminium.

Prices will start at $329. “We can’t think of another device that delivers this much value,” says an Apple executive.

Apple Watch Series 5

Apple announced its next generation Apple Watch, the Series 5. In this iteration, the screen is always on. Flipping it to your wrist increases the brightness. Apple also touted the “ultra-efficient” low-power of its new hardware, reports FT’s Patrick McGee.

The watches are made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium in gold, silver and space gray. Apple will also offer two titanium models for the first time. One has a ‘diamond-like coating.’ It also offers new Hermes straps for the Apple Watch Series 5.

The watches are available to order today and will be in stores September 20. The Series 5 starts at $399.

The iPhone 11 makes its debut

Apple has provided a first look at its newest line-up of smartphones: the iPhone 11.

Apple doubling down on private ecosystem

John Maeda, Chief Experience Officer at digital consultancy Publicis Sapient says:

As Apple starts to become less relevant to consumers with diminishing impact from fancy industrial design tricks and their cloud software offerings that cannot compete with Google’s, they’re subtly doubling down on how their device ecosystem is inherently more private than any other ones out there.

In other words they’ve taken a weakness (ie being behind on cloud) and turned it into a strength (ie less cloud means more privacy) — but that’s a hard game to play when consumers can’t visibly perceive a difference that is invisible and inherently computational.

That said, it’s definitely the game to play in a world where the most “ethical” brand of tech is the one that will survive and prosper.

More details on the iPhone 11 revealed

Apple says the iPhone 11 will start at $699 and will be available in six colours:
black, red, purple, green, yellow and white

Its camera will have a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens and “night mode”, a response to Google’s Pixel lineup, Patrick McGee reports.

“The quality is just astounding,” says an Apple executive.

A “zoom wheel” lets users transfer between wide and ultra-wide lens. Video can be taken in 4K quality at 60 frames per second. Slo-mo will be an option with both lenses.

The front camera will now be 12 megapixels, up from 7 megapixels previously. It also gets the slo-mo feature for what Apple is calling Slofies — or slow-motion video selfies.

The iPhone goes Pro

Apple has brought the Pro nomenclature to the iPhone. The company will call its high-end versions of the smartphone the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, which will be available in two screen sizes, 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches, respectively.

Patrick McGee reports:

So far, iPhone 11 and 11 Pro features are surprise-free, tracking the various leaks and rumours beat for beat. The only thing we didn’t anticipate so far: that Apple would call slo-mo selfies “slofies”.

The iPhone 11 will start at $699. The iPhone XR, the current entry-level device, starts at $749.

As for battery life, Apple says the iPhone 11′s battery will get an hour more than the iPhone XR. The iPhone Pro has four hours more battery life, and the Pro Max gets five hours more versus comparable 2018 models.

The iPhone Pro and Pro Max will also come with a fast-charging cable.

A breakdown of iPhone 11 pricing

Apple has more details on pricing for the next-generation iPhone.

The iPhone 11 will start at $699. Starting prices for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are $999 and $1,099, respectively.

Pre-orders begin Friday morning. Shipping starts September 20.

The Big Apple

In 10 days, Apple will host the biggest ever store-reopening for its Fifth Avenue store in new York. The company’s flagship store has been closed since 2017 and on Tuesday Apple said it has “nearly doubled the size” of the location.

Tim Cook has left the stage

The Apple event has concluded. We have more coverage on the way.

The iPhone event turned out to be the TV+ event

The biggest news from Apple’s product event may be its cheaper-than-expected price point for TV+, as Cupertino looks to make inroads in the market for video streaming and original programming.

Patrick McGee sends this dispatch from the Steve Jobs Theatre:

Was the iPhone the biggest thing of this event? I’m not sure. It’s faster and has three lenses. No surprises. The biggest takeaway is the $4.99/month price for TV+ streaming.

Geoff Blaber, vice-president of research in the Americas for CCS Insight, said “aggressive pricing” for TV+, Arcade and bundled video subscriptions with new product purchases “underline Apple’s service ambition as it drives towards service revenue of around $50 billion in 2020″.

Here’s more from Mr Blaber:

Given many people expected Apple’s TV+ service to cost $9.99 it is likely $4.99 will come as a pleasant surprise. There also seems to be a huge amount of interest in Apple’s original content given the eye-watering number of views the trailers have had. Now Apple has to hope the content produced hits the mark given the competitive intensity in this space versus Amazon, Netflix and others who are all vying for the same customers.

At $4.99 TV+ isn’t an Apple v Netflix decision for most consumers. Pricing TV+ below the price of a Big Mac meal and bundling 12 months access with new device purchases shows Apple’s ambition to ramp the user base and use TV+ as a central pillar to service revenue growth. As the content line-up and user base grows, so too will the price.

The No Shows

While Apple delivered on the iPhone 11 and surprised with its $4.99 a month subscription service, there were some products that investors had come to expect but failed to make an appearance.

The no shows included:

- A tracking device a la Tile, whose Bluetooth trackers allow users to find their keys, phones and other devices.

- The 16-inch MacBook Pro — though some expect this could be unveiled at Apple’s Mac focused events that usually take place in October.

‘Another landmark moment’ for Apple as TV+ debuts

Apple’s new TV+ streaming service opens up a new avenue of growth potential for the tech giant.

Analyst Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight noted that Apple is positioned to eventually offer its own TV box along with a range of services, such as games, music and video.

“Apple is firmly positioning itself as a one stop shop as the Netflix of services,” Mr Pescatore said.

On the launch of TV+, he added:

This represents another landmark moment for Apple with more airtime dedicated to services. Furthermore, it is the right time for Apple to be joining the services party.

Apple recognises the growing importance of services to its future growth. Now is a pivotal time for the company as it executes on its grander plan for services.

In its most recent quarter, Apple’s services unit accounted for more than one-fifth of revenue at $11.5bn — second only to the iPhone.

Slofies, because selfies were not enough

Slofies, or slo-mo video selfies, are a thing now and our intrepid correspondent Patrick McGee tested out the feature on the new iPhone 11. Take a look.

TV+ could gain 100m subscribers within 4 years, analyst says

Daniel Ives, a tech analyst at Wedbush, estimates that Apple can add 100m consumers on the video streaming front in the next three to four years, calling the $4.99-per-month price tag for TV+ a “shocker”.

Netflix had 151.6m global paid subscribers at the end of its second quarter.

In a note to clients, Mr Ives writes:

The pricing of Apple’s streaming TV service at $4.99 per month is a ‘show stopper’ and a major shot across the bow at the likes of Netflix and Disney among others. The Street was anticipating a $7.99-$9.99 price point as clearly Cupertino is looking for market share coming out of the gates with these surprising price points that we loudly applaud.

The Jony Ive cameo

Jony Ive, the iPhone designer who announced his departure from Apple this year after more than two decades with the tech giant, made an appearance at the event on Tuesday. Mr Ive is setting up his own new venture, a creative business called LoveFrom, with Apple as its first client.

Disney and Roku hammered by Apple TV+ announcement

Disney and Roku shares have also tumbled in light of the news that Apple is launching its streaming service before Disney and at a cheaper price.

Disney’s stock slipped 2.2 per cent in afternoon trade, while Roku, the streaming player, sank more than 10 per cent and Netflix fell 2.2 per cent, writes FT’s Anna Nicolaou.

The Mouse House has bet its future on a push into streaming, investing billions in the effort, which chief Bob Iger has called the “biggest priority” at the largest media company in the world.

However, Apple beat Disney to the punch launching just 12 days before its own Disney+ announcement.

Apple has committed $6bn into its streaming push and was aiming to roll out the service ahead of Disney, the FT reported last month.

While analysts had been expecting an Apple TV+ price of between $8 and $10 a month, it will be cheaper at under $5 — and significantly less than the other major streaming services.

Disney said it would charge $7 a month for Disney+, while Hulu starts at $7 a month but runs at $12 a month with no ads, and HBO is $15 a month. Netflix this year raised prices in the US, with its most popular plan now costing $13 a month.

The first post-iPhone hardware Apple event?

Patrick McGee (see his ‘slofie’ below) is out of the big event at Cupertino and summarises the Apple product showcase:

The star of Apple’s hardware keynote on Tuesday was not its new flagship phone, but an aggressive pricing strategy for its streaming TV service.

The three new iPhones unveiled by Tim Cook & Co. on Tuesday included a triple-lens iPhone 11 Pro, but the features merely met expectations.

What surprised the audience was the $4.99 monthly price point for Apple TV+ –about half the price expected by analysts and one-third the price of HBO Now at the high end of the range for streaming services.

“The price of a single movie rental,” said CEO Tim Cook. “This is crazy!”

Apple also showcased a new 10.2 inch iPad, with enhancements for productivity as well as gaming through its new Arcade service.

The Apple Watch got an update, too, with a premium Series 5 titanium model starting at $799, plus new bands from Hermes.

But the hardware improvements, even when impressive, were not wholly unexpected or marks of a new breakthrough. By contrast, how Apple is using its balance sheet to find a position in TV streaming caught many off guard.

Apple will deny it, because the iPhone is still its most important product, but this might have been the first post-iPhone hardware keynote.