Apple fans have a lot to be happy about right now — Spring is just around the corner (March 20) and Apple announced an event with the tag line “It’s Show Time” for March 25. Today we’ll take a look at the rumors buzzing around the event, and add some speculation of our own.
What We Expect
Original Content TV Streaming Service
Judging from the “It’s Show Time” teaser and the movie “countdown” on the official press invitations, it’s expected that the event is going to focus on Apple’s long-awaited original content TV service. Apple has been spending about $1 billion a year to acquire talent, stories, writers, and directors, with little to show for it up to now.
While that sounds like a lot of money, Apple is a relatively small player in the video programming world. For example, NBCUniversal spends about $10.2 billion annually on original content, while relative newcomers Netflix and Hulu spend $6.3 billion and $2.5 billion respectively on shows and movies.
The potential for Apple’s video service is what is so tempting to the company. Around the world, there are 1.4 billion households with at least one TV set, and in the US alone, there are 108 million homes with the broadband internet required for video streaming. Add Apple’s obvious brand recognition to the a streaming subscription service, and you have the potential for a big addition to the company’s services revenue stream.
This service is expected to use the iOS TV app on iPad and iPhone, and on Apple TV as well. The big question is how the service will be visible on Mac. It would most likely be a standalone app that would make streaming as easy as clicking a Dock icon, although Apple could wait until later (post-WWDC or at a Mac-only event) to announce Mac support.
Expect to see stars and big-name directors at this event. Apple has signed a number of top actors (Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Bill Crudup, Jane Krakowski, Jason Momoa, Brie Larson, Jennifer Garner, Octavia Spencer and Edward Burns, among others) to be in original movies and series on the streaming service, and having them on hand to help kick off the new service is a natural.
Among directors and producers who would most likely attend the event are J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, basketball star Kevin Durant, Terry Gilliam, Taika Waititi and Oprah Winfrey.
Magazine Subscription Service
Apple is also expected to unveil a magazine subscription service that will be part of Apple News. With the Apple News app as a delivery and viewing mechanism on every Apple desktop, laptop, tablet and phone, it’s only logical that Apple would want to help magazines (and perhaps newspapers) sell content on that huge platform.
Expect Apple to tout a number of big magazines signing onto as publishers, although we don’t have any idea who those might be.
As much as we’d all like to see some hardware announcements at the event, nothing has been hitting the rumor radar. I would not expect any hardware announcements unless Apple chooses the event to release the rumored AirPods 2 or a revised Apple TV.
If we were to speculate on an exciting hardware announcement, it would be for the long-awaited new Mac Pro. Why? Filmmakers need the power of devices like the Mac Pro for editing and creating effects, and what better way to launch a new Mac Pro than to have some big film director talking about using Final Cut Pro on the new powerhouse?
It’s All Going To Be Streamed
The event starts at 10 AM PDT on March 25, and will be streamed by Apple. Be sure to stay tuned to The Rocket Yard for post-event commentary and announcements.