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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Apple on Wednesday said that its services business, which includes software for things like news, gaming, apps, music and video, had its best ever year in 2019.

Why it matters: Apple has been focusing on growing its services business as iPhone sales have drooped.

  • “2019 was the biggest year for Services in Apple’s history. We introduced several exciting new experiences for our customers, all while setting the standard for user privacy and security,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services in a statement.

Backdrop: 2019 was a transformative year for Apple's services business. The tech giant introduced a gaming service called Apple Arcade, a subscription video service called Apple TV+, a subscription news app called Apple News+ and a credit card called Apple Card. It also expanded some of its older software services, like Apple Music and its App Store.

By the numbers: In an effort to showcase its growth to investors, Apple released a slew of engagement numbers for several of its services products. It says:

  • Apple News has over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada.
  • Apple Music now offers over 60 million songs in 115 countries. 
  • Apple Arcade offers users access to a catalog of 100+ new, exclusive games.
  • Apple Podcasts offers over 800,000 shows in 155 countries.
  • Apple Card and Apple Pay are accepted in more than 150 stadiums, ballparks, arenas and entertainment venues.

Yes, but: The company notably did not offer subscription numbers for some of its newer services like Apple TV+, which launched in November with mixed reviews, and Apple Arcade, which launched in September.

Go deeper: Apple pivots to media as iPhone sales fall



Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.