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Apple To Take-On Netflix At A Bargain Price Of $5/month Streaming Service

Apple is finally taking on Netflix with its own streaming television service and, uncharacteristically for the company, offering it at a bargain price — $5 a month

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Apple, iPhones, launch, stream, Netflix
In this Jan. 9, 2007 file phtoo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an Apple iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. Apple Inc. VOA

Apple is finally taking on Netflix with its own streaming television service and, uncharacteristically for the company, offering it at a bargain price — $5 a month beginning on Nov. 1.

Walt Disney Co. is launching its own assault on Netflix the same month, for just $7.

It may be sheer coincidence that the cost of paying for both Apple and Disney subscriptions will still be a dollar less than Netflix’s main plan, priced at $13 a month. But the intent to disrupt Netflix’s huge lead in the streaming business couldn’t be clearer.

Apple delivered the news Tuesday while also unveiling three new iPhones that won’t look much different than last year’s models other than boasting an additional camera for taking pictures from extra-wide angles.

The aggressive pricing is unusual for Apple, which typically charges a premium for products and services to burnish its brand. Most analysts expected Apple to charge $8 to $10 per month for the service, which will be called Apple TV Plus.

Apple, iPhones, launch, stream, Netflix
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces new products at an event, Sept. 10, 2019, in Cupertino, California. VOA

But Apple is entering a market that Netflix practically created in 2007 — around the same time as the first iPhone came out. And Netflix has amassed more than 150 million subscribers, meaning that Apple needed to make a splash.

“You have to expect they’re going to do something, considering how hyper competitive the streaming video space is,” said Tim Hanlon, CEO of Vertere Group.

Apple CEO Tim Cook did not have much new to say about the TV service beyond its pricing and debut date, although he did show a trailer for a new Jason Momoa-led series called “See.”

Netflix declined to comment. In the past, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has depicted the increased competition as a positive for everyone, allowing consumers to create their own entertainment bundles instead of accepting bundles put together at higher prices by cable and satellite TV services.

Like Netflix and similar services from Amazon and Hulu, Apple has been spending billions of dollars for original programs. The most anticipated so far seems to be “The Morning Show,” a comedy starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell. The service will launch with nine original shows and films, with more expected each month. It will only carry Apple’s original programming and will be available in 100 countries at launch.

Since it began focusing on exclusive shows and movies six years ago, Netflix has built a huge library of original programming and now spends upward of $10 billion annually on its lineup.

Apple also announced a new videogame subscription service that will cost $5 a month when it rolls out Sept. 19. Called Apple Arcade, the service will allow subscribers to play more than 100 games selected by Apple that are exclusive to the service.

Apple, iPhones, launch, stream, Netflix
iPhones are on display at an Apple store in Prince William Country, Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet) VOA

Disney, one of the most hallowed brands in entertainment, is also muscling its way into the market with a streaming service featuring its treasured vault of films and original programming.

That means both Apple and Disney will be undercutting the industry leaders. Besides Netflix, there is Amazon at $9 per month and Hulu at $6 per month.

The price war is unfolding as Netflix tries to bounce back from a rough spring in which it suffered its first quarterly drop in U.S. subscribers since 2011. Apple’s pricing tactics caught investors’ attention. Netflix’s stock fell 2% on Tuesday.

Each new entry into the crowded video subscription market stretches the limits of just how many monthly plans viewers are willing to pay for.

The Apple streaming service will, at least for now, offer fewer viewing options than Netflix or Disney but also at a significantly lower price.

Apple’s pricing shows it is serious, and the company will probably take a loss “as it plays catch-up,” said Colin Gillis, director of research at Chatham Road Partners.

Hoping to propel its streaming service to a fast start while also boosting iPhone sales, Apple will give a year of free TV access to anyone who buys an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac.

Apple, iPhones, launch, stream, Netflix
An Apple company logo is seen behind tree branches outside an Apple store in Beijing, Dec. 14, 2018. VOA

The new iPhones were accompanied by an unexpected price cut for the cheapest model, which underscored the company’s efforts to counteract the deepest slump in sales for its flagship product since the phone was unveiled 12 years ago.

IPhone shipments are down 25% so far this year, according to the research firm IDC, putting pressure on Apple to generate revenue from services such as music, video streaming, games and its App Store. Revenue from services rose 14% to nearly $23 billion during the first half of this year.

Apple is cutting the price of the iPhone 11 to $700 from $750, the price of last year’s XR. The lower prices reverse a trend in which premium phones get more expensive as people upgrade them less often.

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The new phone models resemble last year’s iPhone XR, XS and XS Max. And they have the same design — with more display space, less bezel and no home button — that Apple switched to with the iPhone X in 2017.

Unlike some of the other devices coming out this year, the new iPhones won’t support upcoming ultrafast cellular networks known as 5G. Apple paid billions of dollars to settle a royalty dispute with chipmaker Qualcomm in April to gain the technology it needs for 5G iPhones, but those models will not be ready until next year. (VOA)

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Doctors Feel Blessed on New Heart Health Tools in Apple Watch in India

The medical fraternity on Friday welcomed the arrival of the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch for users in India

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Apple, Apple Watch, Heart health, app, health app, doctors
"The results can be shared with the doctors so that any major complication can be averted." Pixabay

The medical fraternity on Friday welcomed the arrival of the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch for users in India, stressing that it will make people more aware about their heart health.

Although the Apple Watch will not provide a final conclusion into whether a person is actually suffering from Atrial fibrillation (AFib) — irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clot formation in the heart which then embolises to the brain causing stroke — the readings will make more Indians consult their physicians about their heart health, doctors feel.

Although accurate worldwide estimates are lacking, calculations suggest that over one per cent of the adult population is affected in the developed world, wrote Vijay Bohra, Gautam Sharma and Rajnish Juneja from Department of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in their research.

“In our country, there is virtually no data on AF (AFib), most of the data that has been derived is from international studies with an Indian cohort,” the trio wrote, adding that there is “indeed a dearth of data on epidemiologic outcomes in patients of rheumatic AF in the country leading to inconsistent practice patterns as regards medical therapy, especially oral anticoagulation”.

According to Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant, Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, AFib is more prone in those patients who are predisposed to have AFib and stroke.

Apple, Apple Watch, Heart health, app, health app, doctors
Comparisons between irregular pulse-detection on Apple Watch and simultaneous electrocardiography patch recordings showed the pulse detection algorithm has 71 per cent positive predictive value. Pixabay

“Generally, we do holter monitoring (a small, wearable device that keeps track of your heart rhythm) or extended holter monitoring which is a 24-hour ECG monitoring system, to detect AFib in the patients. However, it is not always necessary that these 2-3 episodes of AFib will occur during the time of the holter monitoring,” Goel told IANS.

Hence, in such cases, Apple Watch will be playing a vital role in detecting AFib in time, he added.

“Having said this, a person must wear the Watch both during day and night so that the occurrence of AFib is detected well in time,” Goel suggested.

New electrodes built into the back crystal and Digital Crown on Apple Watch Series 4 or later, work together with the ECG app to enable customers to take an ECG similar to a single-lead reading.

To take an ECG recording at any time or following an irregular rhythm notification, hold their finger on the Digital Crown. As the user touches the Digital Crown, the circuit is completed and electrical signals across their heart are measured.

After 30 seconds, the heart rhythm is classified as either AFib, sinus rhythm or inconclusive.

Sanjiv Bhardwaj, Associate Director, Department of Interventional Cardiology at Jaypee Hospital Noida said that smartwatches and fitness bands are now playing a vital role in updating the users about their heart health and the possible risk factors related to cardiovascular diseases.

Apple, Apple Watch, Heart health, app, health app, doctors
Apple Watch will help identify AF and rhythm disorders and this will surely help in early identification of disease. Pixabay

“Advanced and modern features like an ECG app and irregular heart rhythm monitor will surely be a huge help to the users. They can easily get the notifications about their heart rhythm and its classification in less than a minute.

“The results can be shared with the doctors so that any major complication can be averted,” Bhardwaj told IANS.

With watchOS 6, the irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch Series 4 and the upcoming Series 5 on September 27 will use the optical heart sensor to occasionally check the user’s heart rhythm in the background for signals of an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be AFib.

If irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is identified on five rhythm checks over a minimum of 65 minutes, a notification will be generated to alert the user.

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“Technology is moving at lightning speed and Apple is surely abreast with it. Rhythm identification via the phone is no longer a dream,” said Aparna Jaswal, Associate Director, Cardiology & Electrophysiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi.

“Apple Watch will help identify AF and rhythm disorders and this will surely help in early identification of disease,” she said.

The irregular rhythm notification feature was recently studied in the Apple Heart Study. With over 400,000 participants, the Apple Heart Study was the largest screening study on atrial fibrillation ever conducted. (IANS)