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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

Bernie Madoff dies in prison at 82

Photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bernie Madoff, a former investor sentenced to 150 years in prison for perpetrating the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, died Wednesday at age 82, AP reports.

The big picture: Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to a multibillion-dollar scheme that investigators said began in the 1970s and defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries — including high-profile victims like Steven Spielberg, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and actor Kevin Bacon, according to CNBC.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - World

John Kerry and China's long road ahead on climate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brian Snyder/AFP via Getty Images

Yes, special climate envoy John Kerry's really in China and no, don't look for a huge breakthrough between the world's two largest carbon-emitting nations.

Driving the news: The State Department yesterday announced Kerry's visit this week, confirming plans that began emerging Saturday.

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Coinbase plans to go public on Wednesday, in a watershed moment for the cryptocurrency industry.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Coinbase president and COO Emilie Choi about how she thinks about crypto, why Coinbase eschewed a traditional IPO and if we’re ever going to use bitcoin to buy a cup of coffee.