Apple paraded some of Hollywood's biggest stars on stage Monday to unveil its master plan to take on the media business.
- But for what was supposed to be Apple's big coming-out party, the company left some basic questions unanswered.
Details: The cornerstone of Apple's big media reveal — Apple TV — ended up being the least fleshed out.
- Apple never revealed any specifics about what its Apple TV app will cost.
- The company invited Hollywood A-listers like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg to tout their upcoming original programming deals, but details and video clips of the content were scant.
- Apple unveiled a new subscription gaming service called Arcade, which it said will be available in 150 countries and regions in the fall. Prices weren't disclosed.
Yes, but: Apple did provide a lot more details around Apple News Plus, its news service that was built on the back of "Texture," an app it acquired last year that's been dubbed the "Netflix of magazines."
- Apple confirmed that Apple News+ will cost $9.99 monthly, with family sharing. It will be free for the first month, and will be available in the U.S. and Canada.
- It also announced partnerships with a handful of news publishers, including theSkimm, the Wall Street Journal, Vox, Vulture, The Cut, TechCrunch, and Grub Street, and said that 300 magazine publishers are on board with the service.
- The product will include advertising, but Apple says the service won't let advertisers track its users to target ads. Apple will let publishers keep 100% of the ad revenue for ads they sell against their content. If they chose not to sell ads, Apple will let publishers keep a large portion of the ad revenue Apple sells against their content.
- Apple said it will rely on editors to evaluate news sources and articles. It will program algorithms to prioritize real engagement — like time spent with pieces — over clickbait headlines that lure people in but don't leave them better informed.
The big question: There's still a lot of confusion about what incentive media companies have to be a part of Apple's subscription services, since Apple takes a cut of revenue that those companies would make selling subscriptions on their own.
- For some media companies, like magazines and cable channels, the answer is easy: It's hard to sell subscriptions on your own. For others, like big national news companies, the calculation is trickier.
Be smart: The Wall Street Journal has become the test example of how to toe that line. It's giving away its content for much less money via Apple News Plus, but will reportedly be giving Plus subscribers access to only three days of its content archive.
Go deeper: Read the full story by Kia Kokalitcheva and me.