In 2021, Apple’s services helped deliver innovative apps, powerful content, and transformative experiences that enrich users’ lives around the world in more ways than ever before.
Apple Fitness+ coached users to stretch, lift, lunge, and meditate their way to healthier days; Apple News kept them informed of pivotal developments in the news and culture; and users started to reexplore the world using the beautiful new Apple Maps.
Dozens of groundbreaking originals from Apple TV+ were streamed with family and friends near and afar using SharePlay; hundreds of fun, new and classic games were played on Apple Arcade; and millions of apps were downloaded from the App Store, unlocking powerful ways to communicate, collaborate, and connect. Podcasts like “The Midnight Miracle” and “We Can Do Hard Things” uplifted listeners, books like “The Least of Us” and “The Love Hypothesis” moved readers, and when the sun set at the end of each week, and the Work Focus switched off, it was time to celebrate with the Apple Music Award-winning… “ladies and gentlemen, The Weeknd.”
“Apple’s world-class portfolio of services proved essential in 2021, as people worldwide sought new ways to keep entertained, informed, connected, and inspired,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services. “With over 745 million paid subscriptions, Apple continues to connect the world’s developers, artists, and storytellers with users across more than a billion devices, delivering powerful tools, content, and experiences that enrich their lives in profound ways every day.”
Now it’s time to reflect on the best of 2021 and look ahead to some of the great new games, music, movies, TV shows, workouts, stories, podcasts, books, guides, and other experiences that await customers in 2022.
Apps and games have become the essential source for the world’s most innovative and timely entertainment. The efforts, innovation, and creativity of the developers who leverage Apple technology to build these incredible experiences, coupled with the power of the App Store’s global platform to connect businesses of all sizes with over 600 million people each week across 175 countries, has led to developers selling digital goods and services earning more than $260 billion since the App Store launched in 2008. This significant number sets a new yearly record for App Store developer earnings while representing just a small fraction of the overall commerce the App Store facilitates, serving as one meaningful marker of how the ecosystem continues to create opportunities and drive economic expansion for entrepreneurs around the world. This holiday season alone, App Store customers spent more than ever before between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, driving double-digit growth from last year.
2021 brought a slate of blockbuster launches to the App Store, with the world’s leading entertainment companies choosing to premiere marquee movies like “Black Widow” from Disney+ and “Space Jam: A New Legacy” from HBO Max in-app on the same day as their theatrical release. And in October, the App Store launched In-App Events, timely events within apps and games such as game competitions, movie premieres, livestreamed experiences, and more.
Standout moments from just the last few months included in-game events like “The Champions Have Arrived!” in “Clash Royale,” “Space Tour” in “Mario Kart Tour,” and “Pokémon GO Halloween Mischief” in “Pokémon GO,” while popular events such as TikTok’s “Stranger Things Watch Party” and ESPN’s “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady” drew in-app crowds.
Whether through games that exploded onto the scene to become global sensations like “Royal Match” from Istanbul’s Dream Games, or social apps like Clubhouse, which opened up fascinating conversations to everyone this summer, many of the year’s most popular apps and games found new and creative ways to bring people everywhere together. Apps like Bumble and EatOkra were recently honored among the 2021 App Store Awards winners for delivering best-in-class app experiences, embodying the year’s trend of connection.
Last year, Apple Arcade’s award-winning library of games saw its biggest expansion yet, now offering players of all ages over 200 premium, family-friendly games, including brand new releases from the world’s best developers, award-winning titles, and beloved favorites from the App Store — all without ads or in-app purchases.
Now, subscribers can enjoy original games like “Sneaky Sasquatch,” “NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition,” “The Oregon Trail,” and the recently released “LEGO Star Wars: Castaways” and “Disney Melee Mania.”
Players can also jump into award-winning titles like “Monument Valley,” “Mini Metro,” and “Galaga Wars,” and revisit timeless classics such as “Solitaire by MobilityWare” and “Good Sudoku by Zach Gage.”
Apple Arcade games support Apple’s high user privacy standards, and can be shared with up to five family members using Family Sharing with just one all-inclusive subscription. This year, players can look forward to the release of new, highly anticipated games, including “Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis,” and enjoy new content updates added weekly.
2021 was a year of innovation for Apple Music, providing subscribers with remarkable new releases, original content, and product features that transformed the experience of discovering and enjoying music from all over the world. Apple Music offers listeners one of the largest music catalogs ever, now featuring over 90 million songs all available in lossless audio, so that fans can hear music the way artists created it. Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and support for dynamic head tracking have ushered in the next generation of sound, providing artists the ability to deliver immersive audio experiences with exceptional clarity, while bringing listeners deeper into their all-time and new favorite songs.
New features including autoplay, lyrics share, city charts, motion cover art, enhanced search, Shared with You, and the redesigned Listen Now tab make the experience of discovering music a delight, while Apple Music TV on the Apple TV app, Apple Music in Apple News, and support for Apple Music across FaceTime with SharePlay, Apple Fitness+, and Memories in Photos extend the experience across the Apple ecosystem.
Apple Music Radio — which includes Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country — delivers an award-winning music listening and discovery experience to tens of millions of subscribers worldwide, with exclusive radio shows from the most beloved artists and well-respected hosts in the business. Throughout last year, Apple Music Radio hosts connected with the world’s biggest superstars — including ABBA, Adele, Brandi Carlile, BTS, Coldplay, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Metallica, Mick Jagger, Neil Young, and Silk Sonic — for in-depth interviews and global exclusives. Apple Music also hosted a series of culture-moving livestreams, including Kanye West’s “Donda” release streams; “Rap Life Live” with Moneybagg Yo, Saweetie, and Lil Durk; and the expanded Apple Music Awards featuring The Weeknd, Olivia Rodrigo, H.E.R., Wizkid, Scriptonite, Aya Nakamura, RIN, and OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM, helping fans stay connected to these history-making moments in music across the globe.
Last year, millions of people asked Siri to play music and, last month, Apple Music launched the Voice Plan, a new subscription tier powered by Siri. The Apple Music Voice Plan offers subscribers access to Apple Music’s entire catalog — including tens of thousands of new mood and activity playlists, personalized mixes, genre stations, and the award-winning Apple Music Radio — through a simple user interface for just $4.99 per month.
In a first for music streaming, and as part of Apple’s ongoing mission to support the global artist community, Apple Music leveraged Shazam’s unmatched technology to identify the creators featured in the thousands of popular DJ mixes available on the service so that they can be compensated for their contributions. Apple Music also launched support for record label pages to help listeners find more great music from those behind the artists they already enjoy. Later this year, listeners can look forward to even more global premieres, exclusives, in-depth interviews, livestreams, DJ mixes, and the world’s best streaming experience for classical music with the most beloved features of Primephonic, plus even better browsing and search capabilities, detailed displays of classical music metadata, and much more.
In just two years, Apple TV+ has made streaming history by achieving major milestones in a short span of time. Apple TV+ has been honored with 763 award nominations and 190 wins, including Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominations, 12 Primetime Emmy Award wins across major program categories, Daytime Emmy Awards, SAG Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Peabody Awards, AFI Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Kidscreen Awards, and many more.
All Apple Original series and films are available on the Apple TV app, accessible from over a billion devices, including popular smart TVs from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TCL, VIZIO, and others; Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices; and PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles. The Apple TV app launched on Android TV, Chromecast with Google TV, Sky Q set-top boxes, and Sky Glass TVs last year, and will soon launch on Comcast Xfinity set-top boxes. The Apple TV app also offers viewers a personalized guide to their favorite TV show, sports, and films across other popular streaming services, channels, and pay TV providers. New features, including For All of You, SharePlay, and the Store tab, now make it easier to find personalized recommendations, watch with friends and family, and buy, rent, or stream favorites all in one place.
Apple TV 4K and Siri Remote are available in 24 countries and regions, including Belgium, Hong Kong, and Russia, allowing even more users to interact with Siri in their native language. And, for the first time, customers in South Korea can enjoy Apple TV 4K, the Apple TV app, and Apple TV+ through SK Broadband.
As the new year begins, Apple Fitness+ continues to motivate people around the world to close their rings and live a healthier day, both mentally and physically. Today, Fitness+ introduced Time to Run, an audio running experience designed to help users become more consistent and better runners, featuring popular running routes in select major cities; and Collections, a curated series of workouts and meditations from the Fitness+ library organized to help users reach a goal. Fitness+ also introduced the third season of Time to Walk, featuring guests such as award-winning actor Rebel Wilson, advocate and minister Bernice A. King, and actor and comedian Hasan Minhaj. Fitness+ will also introduce new Artist Spotlight workouts featuring music from Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, Shakira, and the Beatles.
Every day, users share inspirational stories on how their lives have been changed by Fitness+. Since launching just over a year ago, Fitness+ has expanded its library to feature almost 2,000 studio-style sessions, the largest library of workout content in 4K Ultra High Definition, covering 11 different workout types — including HIIT, Strength, Core, Yoga, Pilates, Dance, Cycling, Rowing, Treadmill (for running and walking), and Mindful Cooldown — with new content added each week. This past year, Fitness+ also introduced guided meditation, a simple way to practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere and improve overall well-being. Workouts and meditations are led by an inclusive and welcoming team of trainers, which continues to expand as the service grows.
Fitness+ helps users train their body and mind with a one-of-a-kind personalized and engaging experience that can be done anytime, anywhere; intelligently incorporates workout metrics from Apple Watch right on the screen; and motivates users from start to finish with music from today’s top artists. When browsing for a workout, Fitness+ also makes personalized recommendations based on a user’s workout history so that no matter what their fitness level is, it is easy to find a workout with More of What You Do and Try Something New. With new content, more trainers, and greater availability worldwide, it’s easier than ever to get started with Fitness+, and in 2022, there is even more to come.
Apple News continues to be the number one news app in all markets where it is available. Last year, Apple News launched local news experiences in six additional cities — Charlotte, Miami, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. — and introduced the extremely popular “Read Local” collection that encourages a national audience to engage with the best stories from local publications every week. Each weekday morning, Apple News Today continues to take listeners inside the most fascinating stories in the news, and how the world’s best journalists are covering them. And each Saturday, with the new “In Conversation” audio series, Apple News presents insightful interviews with the journalists who are covering some of the best stories available in the app. Last year, Apple News+ subscribers also enjoyed hundreds of new professionally narrated audio stories from outlets such as The New Yorker, People, and National Geographic, and there are many more great stories on the way this year.
Apple One is the easiest way for customers to enjoy many of their favorite Apple services — Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and iCloud+ — with one simple subscription at a great monthly price. Apple One subscribers can choose from a range of plans to unlock instant access to the best entertainment, news, games, and fitness experiences, plus storage to back up photos, files, app data, and more across their devices. Apple One Individual and Apple One Family are available in over 100 countries and regions, while Apple One Premier is now available in over 20 countries and regions after expanding to 17 new markets last year, including Austria, France, Germany, Malaysia, Portugal, and the United Arab Emirates. With Family Sharing, Apple One Family and Apple One Premier subscribers can share access to each service among up to five family members.
2021 was the year that podcasts became an undeniable global phenomenon. Listeners around the world now tune in to millions of shows every minute to be entertained, stay informed, connect with their communities, and learn something new. Last year, Apple Podcasts launched the biggest updates since its debut and lead the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, providing listeners simple and meaningful ways to discover, enjoy, and support the world’s best podcasts.
With redesigned show pages that showcase creators’ beautiful artwork; clearer controls for following, downloading, queuing, and saving podcasts; and the Smart Play button, which automatically presents the best episode to play next, Apple Podcasts makes browsing and playing shows from the world’s catalog of record a delight. Curated groups of shows called channels; enhanced recommendations in the Listen Now tab; new, editorially curated collections featured in Browse each week; and Shared with You, which displays podcasts shared over Messages directly in the Apple Podcasts app, come together to offer listeners the easiest way to find their next favorite show.
With Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, listeners can now become subscribers to shows and channels instantly and right from where they listen, unlocking premium content and additional benefits — including early access, extra episodes, and ad-free listening — all while supporting their favorite creators. Subscribers on Apple Podcasts have been treated to the best experiences for many of last year’s top shows, including exclusive access to Luminary’s “The Midnight Miracle”; early and ad-free access to “Smartless” with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett through Wondery+; realtime dispatches from the Elizabeth Holmes trial on “Bad Blood: The Final Chapter”; and bonus episodes from Tortoise Media’s popular investigative series, “Sweet Bobby.”
Listeners can look forward to new shows and subscriptions from top creators throughout this year. This month’s launches include “Marvel’s Wastelanders: Black Widow”; NPR’s “The Limits with Jay Williams”; Luminary’s “The Roxanne Gay Agenda”; Univision’s first daily news podcast “Univision Reporta” with León Krauze; the next season of Campside Media’s popular investigative series “Chameleon”; and a six-part narrative series from National Geographic that follows explorer Tara Roberts and a team of Black scuba divers “Into The Depths,” as they unearth stories from the lost shipwrecks of the transatlantic slave trade. This week, Apple TV+ and AT WILL MEDIA will launch “Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy,” taking listeners behind the velvet curtain to reveal the behind-the-scenes story of the world’s most famous magical duo turned pop culture icons.
Apple Books is the best way to read and listen to books across Apple devices, with a library of over 8 million books and audiobooks, including a vast catalog of free titles, now serving more than 100 million users each month. Last year, Apple Books got even better with a redesigned app on macOS and enhanced search functionality on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS that includes recommendations and trends. Now, with the all-new Audiobook Store and $9.99 audiobooks collection, listeners can enjoy the world’s most popular and engaging audiobooks subscription-free across all of their Apple devices. It’s never been easier for readers and listeners to discover their next favorite title with new curated collections, including Audiobook of the Week and Romance of the Week, and First in Series Free promotions in Romance, Mysteries & Thrillers, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Readers can browse 2022’s most anticipated books across genres here.
Throughout 2021, Apple Card delivered an award-winning experience for customers, and was recognized as the No. 1 Midsize Credit Card in J.D. Power’s U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.1 Last year, Apple continued to bring transparency to the credit card industry with the introduction of Apple Card Family, offering customers the ability to share an Apple Card account with up to five people using Family Sharing and establish healthy financial habits together. Apple Card Family also allows two people to co-own an Apple Card, and share and merge their credit lines while building credit together equally.
Apple Pay provided even more customers with a secure and easy way to pay in-store and online around the world after expanding to nine new markets in 2021, including Colombia, Israel, and Mexico.
Apple also continues to deliver on its vision of replacing customers’ physical wallets with Wallet, an easy-to-use and secure digital wallet. Wallet helped customers access important information about their health in 2021, with the ability to add and view verifiable COVID-19 vaccination cards, and in Australia, health insurance cards. Digital tickets in Wallet helped venues and their guests create safe, contactless experiences, and last year, customers used 30 million NFC tickets in Wallet for events across music, sports, theater, and more across the US and Canada. The ability for customers to simply tap their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay and ride transit is now available in more than 200 cities across the globe after recently debuting in China (Nanchang and Foshan), Russia (Kazan), and Sweden (Malmo), as well as in San Francisco with the Clipper card. Student IDs in Wallet helped university students in the US and Canada safely and securely get around campus. And for travelers, Apple rolled out the first hotel room keys at select Hyatt properties in the US while also unlocking magical moments for Walt Disney World visitors with Disney MagicMobile passes in Wallet. Users can look forward to support for home keys and corporate badges, as well as state IDs and driver’s licenses, this year.
Apple Maps received its biggest update ever last year with a three-dimensional city experience that features more realistic and colorful details, driving routes with better navigation, immersive walking directions shown in augmented reality, and much more.
The new visually stunning 3D map showcases unprecedented detail for neighborhoods and commercial districts, elevation details across a city, custom-designed landmarks, and a beautiful nighttime mode with a moonlit glow that activates at dusk. The detailed city experience is available for iPhone and CarPlay users in London, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and will be available in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver this year.
Maps also introduced an enhanced navigation experience with additional road details that help drivers navigate through cities more easily and safely; powerful transit updates that allow users to pin their favorite lines in Maps, and receive notifications on iPhone or Apple Watch when it’s time to disembark a selected route; and step-by-step walking guidance in augmented reality.
With faster, more accurate navigation and comprehensive views of roads, buildings, parks, airports, and malls, Maps makes it easier and more enjoyable to map out any journey across iPhone, iPad, Mac, or while in the car with CarPlay. The new map, built from the ground up, continues to roll out to more countries and regions. Last year, the new map expanded beyond Canada, Ireland, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States to include Australia, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
Curated Guides in Maps make it easy to discover the amazing things to see and do in cities, and in 2021, new Guides were added from trusted resources like Thrillist, the Smithsonian Institution, and FATMAP. Now Maps features Guides from more than 100 trusted resources, so users can check out what authors like Bryant Terry and María Amparo Escandón recommend in their favorite cities, what Atlas Obscura suggests for “The World’s Most Interesting Restaurants,” or what Culture Trip suggests for “Beautiful Hidden Beaches of the World.”