Immediately after Apple publicly announced its acquisition of magazine subscription service Texture this morning, the companys senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue took the stage at SXSW 2018 to discuss some of Apples upcoming content plans. Most notably, he addressed the companys upcoming video service and the increasing importance of augmented reality (AR) to Apple. On the video service, Cue noted that Apple — despite analyst conjecture — isnt interested in buying great partners such as Netflix or Disney, since Apple prefers to buy small companies with ideas that will become the next big thing. Similarly, the company isnt interested in offering its own YouTube-style short videos. The focus for Apple will be on telling great stories with its video programming, which is why the company is committing to longer-form videos. Cue evoked the name of Apples late founder, Steve Jobs, who learned through Pixar how to tweak a story until it was great enough to be a hit on release. According to 9to5Mac, Cue teased that Apple will have a technology angle that will be a surprise to its service. A huge fan of basketball who has frequently been seen at Golden State Warriors games , Cue also said that a new sports feature will be coming to the TV app this week for March Madness, and that Apple thinks that it can make the sports experience so much better than it currently is. , Cue discussed Apples AR initiatives, noting that we think AR is a very mainstream product and something youre going to use all the time, every day. Cue mentioned a new PGA Tour AR golf app for iOS that enables any large table surface to hold a virtual golf course that can be moved around using your iPhone or iPad as a lens. He also noted practical applications for shopping apps, such as seeing the interior of a car or trying on clothing using AR before a purchase. He also said that the companys approach to AR is to let you see the world around you, and that relying on your device rather than goggles makes it easy and fast to overlap information on the real world. When asked about Apples plans for AR beyond the iPhone, Cue suggested that his job security depended on not talking about future products — apparently the video service doesnt count — so he wouldnt answer questions about them.
Apple is not buying Netflix, and is focusing on "quality over quantity." For a session about "Curation in Media," there wasn't a whole lot of talk about Apple News at Eddy Cue's SXSW panel today. Instead, moderator and CNN senior reporter Dylan Byers steered Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services through a wide range of topics, from today's acquisition of magazine platform Texture through Apple Music (it now has 38 million subscribers), free speech, live TV, healthcare and the company's recent foray into video content. Apple's first batch of original programming was safe and not particularly well received. Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke both closely mirrored TV formats, and perhaps represented a desire to learn about production and distribution more than they did a real effort to make hit shows. However, the past few months have seen a flurry of activity at Apple, with shows from creators like Ronald D. Moore, Damien Chazelle and M. Night Shyamalan now in the works. Despite the huge investment Apple is making, Cue insists he doesn't want Apple's video offering to emulate Netflix. "We don't try to sell the most smartphones in the world, we don't try to sell the most apps, we try to make the best one. Hopefully the other piece happens," Cue told Byers, echoing what Apple always says but no one quite believes. "We're making big investments ... It's about finding the right ones. The way we like doing things is not to throw a hundred things against the wall and see which one's going to be good or not." Cue also said that Apple is new at this, and so not everything will be a hit. "Everything should be very high quality," though, and that's where Cue says Apple "will stand out" when compared to Netflix and Amazon. Cue also spoke about Apple's unique spot in the streaming industry. While Netflix can control its web and app offerings, Apple is the only company that has almost full control over both the hardware and software that its videos will appear on. "We'll have a few surprises," Cue said, "we think there's a real advantage in technology .. There are ways to leverage the technology to make the viewing experience even better." The executive pointed to how its TV app handles live sports -- providing a notification when something it thinks you'll be interested in is happening, even if the game is in its last quarter. Byers repeatedly pushed Cue on why Apple, with its famously large cash reserves dwarfing the value of Netflix's entire business, wouldn't just buy one of its competitors. " Generally, in the history of Apple, we haven't made huge acquisitions," Cue said. "The reason we haven't done that is the old Gretzky quote: 'Skate to where the puck's going, not where it is.'"