By Tripp Mickle
Apple Inc. on Tuesday kicked off its annual product showcase by announcing its new TV service will cost $4.99 and be free for a year to anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad or Mac, a move that aims to deepen interest in new gadgets by coupling them with access to TV shows.
The offering of TV+ free to people who buy new devices speaks to the challenge confronting Apple as it tries to persuade customers to upgrade iPhones at a time when handset advances feel increasingly incremental. The trio of new iPhones it is expected to unveil on Tuesday will include a new rear camera and some new colors such as green and purple, according to people familiar with the plans.
Apple TV+, which will offer up shows such as Reese Witherspoon's "The Morning Show," arrives Nov. 1 and will add new shows in the months afterward.
Apple also said its new videogame service, Arcade, will debut Sept. 19 and cost $4.99 a month for access to unlimited games such as "Frogger in Toy Town," a modern take on the 1980s arcade game.
Apple's decision to kick off its event with pricing for its new services, TV+ and Arcade, underscored how central those offerings are to the company's future. It is in the midst of transitioning from a hardware-focused business to one that increasingly sells software and services across the millions of iPhones and iPads it has already sold.
The strategic shift pushes it into unfamiliar areas where it will be tested by new competitors with deeper pockets and more content such as Netflix Inc., which charges $12.99 a month for its standard service, and Walt Disney Co., which will launch a new streaming service in November for $6.99 a month.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook touted the price for TV+, saying it was comparable to a movie rental on iTunes. "This is crazy," Mr. Cook said.
Write to Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com