Cook: On April 12, the return of "Veep." "Silicon Valley." (listing a bunch of shows). And of course one of our favorites, "Game of Thrones." (Huge cheers for that)
Cook: Today HBO CEO Richard Plepler is joining us and he's got some exciting news about HBO.
Very interesting how this is all starting with Apple TV.
Plepler: On behalf of all of us on HBO, let us return your compliment by saying we love Apple.
With HBO, and the future ability to subscribe a la carte, it's really a solid step forward towards cord-cutting.
Plepler: We are thrilled to be here this morning to announce our standalone streaming service, HBO NOW. Apple is our exclusive partner at launch
Plepler: When you subscribe to HBO Now, access to all acclaimed programming, past present and future.
Plepler, all you need to get HBO NOW is a broadband connection and Apple device
People have been asking for standalone HBO for years -- I can hear people calling their cable companies to cancel right now.
Plepler: Can watch on big screen or iPhones and iPads. Introducing in early April for $14.99 a month. If you subscribe in April, you'll get the first month free and have it in time for premiere of "Game of Thrones."
Plepler: HBO is known as great content. Exclusive look for brand new Game of Throne trailers.
(I hope no spoilers! I've just started the show and am not up to date. Though I've heard weddings are bad news)
Here's the trailer. I'm not going to describe it b/c I have no idea who these people are. (I know, I know. *hangs head in shame*)
Apple shares not doing much as the event starts. Shares up less than 1 percent, or 77 cents to $127.37.
Apple's TV hardware is three years old. We were hoping for an update today, but it's not looking likely.
Apple also has faced more competition. Since Apple’s last Apple TV hardware update in March 2012, Google launched its $35 Chromecast streaming dongle, Amazon introduced its $99 Fire TV box and $39 stick, and Roku released its third $100 streaming box and its $50 streaming stick. The Chromecast met intense demand, while Amazon’s Fire TV incorporated features that made Apple’s device look outmoded by comparison, such as voice search and an optional gaming controller.
Let's not forget the unbuttoned shirt. That was very impressive.
Ok. That trailer is over.
Cook: Apple TV has become the category leader. Sold over 25M units so far. Got a very attractive entry level device of $99
Game of Thrones -- to steal a phrase from the video games industry -- is what we'd call a "killer app"
Cook: Today we'd like to make it even more accessible for more people. We are lowering the price today to $69
As in, you'd buy the product (or subscribe) just to get it.
(That makes this very competitive. Wonder if Amazon, etc, will respond)
Cook: If you don't have one yet, now's the time. Apple TV will reinvent the way you watch television, and this is just the beginning
Cook: Next up is iPhone. Not only created a category but benchmark by which all others are measured.
Cook: Recently, we sold our 700-millionth iPhone
In the past, Apple has kept prices steady, but improved the hardware. In this case, it's keeping the hardware the same (for several years running) and just dropping the price.
Cook: iPhone is stronger than ever. In fact, if you look at last quarter, sold at a rate of growth double the industry (49% versus 26%).
Cook: Propelled iPhone to be the top-selling smartphone in the world.