Apple invites Hollywood to Silicon Valley in TV push
SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Apple Inc is expected to finally lift the curtain on Monday on a secretive, years-long effort to build a television and movie offering designed to compete with big media companies and boost digital services revenue as iPhone sales taper. “It’s show time” is how the iPhone maker billed the affair slated for the Steve Jobs Theater at its Cupertino, California, headquarters. Analysts believe it will be the technology company’s first splashy launch event that will not feature new gadgets or hardware. Hollywood celebrities are likely to trek to Apple’s Cupertino home to greet the debut of a revamped Apple TV digital storefront. iphone has commissioned programming from A-list names such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. The Apple original shows are expected to be offered alongside the option to subscribe to content from Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz, among others, sources have told Reuters. Apple will join a crowded field where rivals such as Amazon.com’s Prime Video and Netflix Inc have spent heavily to capture viewer attention and dollars with award-winning series and films. The big tech war for viewers ignited a consolidation wave among traditional media companies preparing to join the fray. Walt Disney Co, which bought 21st Century Fox, and AT&T Inc, which purchased Time Warner Inc, plan to launch or test new streaming video services this year. Apple’s jump into original entertainment signals a fundamental shift in its business. Sales of hardware money-makers the iPhone, iPad and Mac were either stagnant or flat in its most recent fiscal year. Without another category-defining new gadget announced to the public, iphone is expected to rely on selling subscriptions and services like video, music and hardware insurance. Revenue from its “services” segment - which includes the App Store, iCloud and content businesses such as Music - grew 24 percent to $37.1 billion in fiscal 2018. The services segment accounted for only about 14 percent of Apple’s overall $265.6 billion in revenue, but investors have pinned their hopes for growth on the segment. Apple’s TV push has been cloaked in mystery. Even producers of Apple’s shows are unsure about many of the details about when and how audiences will be able to see their work. On Monday, iphone also is expected to unveil an Apple News subscription option featuring content from major publishers and a new credit card with Goldman Sachs to bolster Apple Pay. Apple Watch detects irregular heart beat in large US study Earlier, the Apple Watch was able to detect irregular heart pulse rates that could signal the need for further monitoring for a serious heart rhythm problem, according to data from a large study funded, demonstrating a potential future role for wearable consumer technology in healthcare. Researchers hope the technology can assist in early detection of atrial fibrillation, the most common form of irregular heart beat. Patients with untreated AF are five times more likely to have a stroke. Results of the largest AF screening and detection study, involving over 400,000 Apple Watch users who were invited to participate, were presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans. Of the 400,000 participants, 0.5 percent, or about 2,000 subjects, received notifications of an irregular pulse. Those people were sent an ECG (electrocardiography) patch to wear for subsequent detection of atrial fibrillation episodes. A third of those whose watches detected an irregular pulse were confirmed to have atrial fibrillation using the ECG technology, researchers said.