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Linked by Jason Snell

Report: Apple services roll-out planned for March 25

John Paczkowski of BuzzFeed News, a pretty reliable reporter on this stuff, says Apple is planning a roll-out event for March 25:

Sources tell BuzzFeed News that the company plans to hold a special event on March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater on its Apple Park campus. Headlining the gathering: that subscription news service that has been all over the news today. Unlikely to make an appearance: next-generation AirPods, or that rumored new iPad Mini.

Sources described the event as subscription-services focused, but declined to say anything about Apple’s stand-alone video streaming service, which is also rumored to debut in 2019. Earlier this year, the Information reported that Apple had told studios and networks to be prepared for an April launch.

If this event is at the Steve Jobs Theater it will mark the first time Apple has used the theater for a media event outside of the last two iPhone launches. I’d been wondering if they were going to continue the pattern of finding other venues (in other cities) to complement the annual iPhone roll-out at Apple Park, but this would break that pattern. To be honest, I’m a little surprised Apple isn’t planning to embrace Hollywood and do this event in L.A., but the Steve Jobs Theater is a pretty great venue its own self.

I’d assume the main announcement of this event will be Apple’s forthcoming video service, with the news subscription service (and, presumably, a subscription bundle) as an additional item on the agenda. After the reports this week about the terms of the proposed news service—as someone who spent a couple decades in print publishing covering Apple, Apple’s reported terms are both unsurprising and completely bananas—I am not at all confident that the service will be particularly impressive at launch. (Never count out Apple, but the News service may take a lot of time and many tweaks to get right.)

I’m not at all surprised at Paczkowski’s report that hardware will not be on the agenda. Can you imagine Jennifer Anniston being introduced after the demo of a new iPad Mini? Neither can I. I’m also not sure we’ll need to wait till March to see new AirPods, given that existing AirPods stock is drying up. Maybe it’s a hiccup in the supply chain, or maybe we’re witnessing the shifting of gears. It seems to me that Apple doesn’t need a media event to release some new AirPods.