IT WAS NOTHING like Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone. But the two-hour show on March 25th put on by Tim Cook, Jobs’s less histrionic successor as boss of Apple, may nevertheless be remembered as a milestone for the company—and the entertainment industry. Mr Cook did not announce the latest sleek gadget. Instead, he unveiled a suite of products and services, including video streaming, news, games and even a credit card. As theatre, it was underwhelming—star-studded supporting cast including Oprah Winfrey notwithstanding. As a business case, it looks more compelling.
Apple’s 900m iPhones worldwide, more than six times as many as Netflix has subscribers, grant it access to a massive potential audience. Analysts speculate that Apple will eventually offer them a variant of Amazon Prime, where customers pay a flat monthly fee for some combination of news, games, cloud storage, music and video, and which could possibly connect with the company’s iPhone subscriptions. Mr Cook stopped short of announcing a unique subscription service, promising instead to roll out five separate offerings, some of which are merely older services in nicer packaging. Together, they nevertheless threaten fellow tech giants, Hollywood and banks.