Apple’s newest innovation: the Apple “Card” for credit

Eli Sorensen, Senior Design Editor

 On Oct. 23, 2001, Steve Jobs revealed the original Apple iPod to much surprise and enthusiasm. Tech analysts praised Apple for innovating once again, unveiling a new way to experience portable music in a sphere that was previously crowded with walkmans and cheap MP3 players. Apple’s iPod and its accompanying iTunes music service made digital music affordable, accessible, and attainable. Apple’s iPod, and its subsequent successors, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, built off of the digital foundation that it laid, and it was through these succeeding successes that Apple achieved the status it is known for today.

 In a shocking announcement, nearly eighteen years later, Apple took to the stage once more on Mar. 25, 2019, to reveal a credit card. The “Apple Card” was unexpectedly announced after Apple outlined plans for its “News+,” “tv+” and “Arcade” services. Apple made company history at its March event, being the first conference the Cupertino tech giant held where no new hardware was announced. While understandable that Apple wanted to keep the focus on the new services that it would offer to its consumers, in an odd move, Apple quietly revealed 2nd generation Airpods with wireless charging capabilities and new, 2019 iPads in a press release on their website preceding their “Show Time!” event. The reveal of these new Apple services was met with lukewarm responses at best. Apple made many empty promises– there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the new offerings to their users.

 Aside from Apple News+, a paid, curated News service that launched following the press conference, the remainder of Apple’s new announcements came with many unknowns. Apple brought many celebrities to the stage to allude to projects they are working on for it’s tv+ streaming service, but aside from a vague video that revealed that the likes of Oprah, Steve Carell, and Steven Spielberg, would be bringing content to the platform, Apple did little to tell consumers about what to expect from tv+, adding a Fall release date without any mention of how much the service will cost.

 Similar details were left out about Apple Arcade, a paid gaming service coming to Apple’s macOS, tvOS and iOS platforms. Again, Apple kept quiet about pricing for the service, but stressed that it would be working with top-notch creators to provide “groundbreaking new games” for subscribers.

A theme of Apple’s March event, it seems, is that the pricing is unimportant– with each new service, it promises first-class entertainment. In the case of streaming, however, the market is becoming saturated with too many options for consumers. Apple is confident that in working with well-known stars, it will offer unique experiences — but will these stars, bolstered by Apple’s bank account — be enough to differentiate tv+ from other, established services?

 Apple ended the event by surprising the audience with a credit card. The Apple Card is born out of the success that Apple has found in offering iPhone users the ability to use their phone to pay at retailers, through its “Apple Pay” service. The Apple Card is primarily digital — meant to be used through your phone — though a physical option, made out of laser-etched titanium, will be available to cardholders to be utilized at retailers that do not yet support Apple Pay. This is a divisive factor of the card. “I don’t think I would use it– it seems too high tech for me,” Adria Roberts (11) says. “I would prefer to use a card that my bank issues.” Meanwhile, Parker Taft (11), disagrees. “I think [the Apple Card] will be good because of the rise of technology– since  so many people use their phones, it would be more convenient to have the card on your phone. I think the Apple Card is going to become a status symbol, similar to the Black Card.” Though no one saw the Apple Card coming, it offers no truly unique benefits to potential users.