Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) finally sent out the invitations for its first big product reveal of 2019. On Mar. 25, there will be an Apple Special Event, starting at 1 p.m. EST. With the tag line of “It’s show time”, AAPL is dropping a pretty big hint about what’s coming. Since the announcement, Apple stock has spiked 3.46% and that’s probably not a coincidence. What the company will announce in two weeks has the potential to be its biggest new launch in years.
Here’s what to expect on the Mar. 25 Apple Special Event, including the potential for new hardware.
Apple Special Event Star: Streaming Video Service
With the “It’s show time” tag line on invites sent for the Mar. 25 Apple Special Event, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the company wants to talk about. Expect Apple CEO Tim Cook to focus on the company’s long-gestating video streaming service.
AAPL has been in discussions with studios and networks for years, and in 2017 began investing heavily in its own original programming.
With iPhone sales under pressure and taking Apple stock down, the company has been turning to services to pick up the slack. Apple Music has been a success, capturing 56 million paying subscribers at $9.99 per month in under four years, and quickly moving into second place in the market. After years of maneuvering, AAPL is now ready to take on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) in the battle for streaming video subscriptions.
News Subscription Service?
We know AAPL has also been working on a paid subscription version of its Apple News service. A month ago, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple was facing challenges with publishers who were balking at the company’s proposed revenue split (50/50 on a $9.99 monthly subscription), so it’s possible this won’t be ready in time. However, with an emphasis on services, there’s a good shot AAPL will want to announce the Apple News subscription service alongside its new video streaming service.
Apple is known to be working on a new version of its base-model iPad. There’s speculation that the company may have trimmed the bezels a bit to boost the display size from 9.7-inches to 10.2-inches. There are also rumors that Apple has new versions ready to go of two devices that many had written off as dead: the iPad Mini and the iPod Touch.
While the focus of this Apple Special Event is expected to be the new streaming video service, that Mar. 25 date is almost exactly a year from when the company announced the last revision to the iPad. New iPad models — and even an updated, 7th generation iPod Touch — are definite possibilities.
Long Shot: Apple TV Dongle
Finally, there is the potential for Apple to release a low cost, compact Apple TV device — a “dongle” that plugs directly into the HDMI port on a television.
All of Apple’s streaming video hardware competitors have them, including Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) and Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google. It’s tough for AAPL to build marketshare in the living room when the cheapest Apple TV is $149 and that model doesn’t support 4K, while competitors offer streaming sticks with 4K/DHR support for less than half that price — with some under $50.
There have been rumors the company is working on an Apple TV dongle. Before any comments about Hell freezing over, consider this: to kick off 2019, AAPL announced Samsung TVs would get built-in access to the iTunes Store to access video without needing an Apple TV.
The event where the company’s new streaming video service is announced would be the perfect time to also announce a new, affordable Apple TV device to help boost subscribers.
Whatever ends up being revealed at the Mar. 25 Apple Special Event, you’ll be able to read about it here on InvestorPlace, as soon as Tim Cook walks off the stage.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.