Sometime before the end of 2019, Apple will launch its long-awaited over-the-top ad-free subscription video-on-demand web television service, Apple TV+. First introduced in March at one of Cupertino’s iconic special events, the service will offer premium content starring some of the biggest entertainers in Hollywood. Here’s a look at what we know so far about this exciting new enterprise from the iPhone maker.
Apple TV Primer
The first Apple TV set-top box was released in 2007. Historically, the box was designed as a simple way for users to access iTunes content (owned and rented) on a television.
Apple moved the product into different directions beginning in 2015 when it introduced third-party apps and games on the Apple TV HD, then later, the Apple TV 4K. It also launched a native TV app for the first time.
The Apple TV app, which launched in select markets in late 2016, is a software-based media player built into the physical Apple TV. The app is also available on iPhone, iPad, and beginning this fall, on Mac, select smart television modes, Roku devices, and Amazon Fire TV devices.
The TV app provides an all-in-one listing of television shows and video on demand from supporting entities, such as broadcast and cable networks and streaming services. It’s also where Apple users can access iTunes content and live sporting events.
In recent months, the TV app began offering a la carte video-on-demand content from popular subscription services such as HBO and Showtime. These so-called Apple TV Channels are open to subscriptions directly from the app, regardless of your device. These channels are regularly being updated both with new content and as you consume titles. In other words, the TV app syncs across all your devices.
Not to be confused with the physical Apple TV set-top box or Apple TV app, Apple TV+ is a video subscription service. When it launches, the service will be available exclusively through the TV app across multiple platforms. Apple is expected to pay as much as $4.2 billion through 2022 on original programming.
Apple TV+ will feature original TV shows and movies funded directly by Apple. To date, there are more than 30 Apple TV+ shows in development. Apple hopes to use the service to compete directly with other services such as Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO Now, and others.
Apple Original Content Previews
Among the names playing some role in the development of Apple’s first slate of original content is Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, and Reese Witherspoon. Of the first series set to debut, three have seen a trailer released to date, including “Dickinson,” “For All Mankind,” and “The Morning Show.”
You can check out the three show’s trailers below which will give you an idea of what to expect:
The Morning Show
For All Mankind
When Does Apple TV+ Launch?
Apple’s expected to debut Apple TV+ before the end of the year. The service’s actual launch date will probably get announced at the company’s annual iPhone event in early September. At that time, we’ll probably have a better idea when specific shows will debut.
What Will It Cost?
Like similar services, Apple TV+ will be offered through a monthly subscription you can cancel at any time. The latest rumors suggest Apple plans on charging around $9.99 per month for the service. The company might also bundle the service along with a subscription to Apple Music and Apple News+. Through Family Sharing, users can share Apple TV+ and subscriptions to Apple TV channels.
The Apple TV app is available in more than 100 countries around the world. Apple TV+ content is likely to launch in each of those nations at some point. Look for programs to first launch in the United States.
What About Commercials
For the price of admission, you won’t have to sit through ads on Apple TV+. Whether Apple eventually offers an ad-support subscription isn’t known.
How Can I View Content?
Apple’s original programming will be available wherever the TV app is supported. Besides iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, this includes select Samsung smart TVs, plus many from LG, Roku, Sony, and VIZIO. The TV app is also supported on Amazon Fire TV. Content will be streamable and downloadable on select devices. Apple’s likely to limit the number of simultaneous streams available for Apple TV+ subscribers. However, this limitation isn’t yet known.
What’s the Difference Between Apple Channels and Apple TV+?
Apple Channels are content bundles being offered by third-parties through the TV app. By subscribing through the app, you don’t have to download a separate app to watch content. Among the Apple Channels are CBS All Access, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, Epix, Acorn TV, and many others. Apple TV+ content, again, is exclusive to Apple.
What About Freebies?
Don’t be surprised to see Apple release free episodes of some of its shows on the TV app. Episodes could also debut elsewhere. Already, Apple’s “Dickinson” is expected to headline this year’s Tribeca TV Festival so look for other exciting tie-ins.
Isn’t This Overkill?
Apple isn’t the only global company introducing a new subscription-based video service in the coming weeks. Disney+ is alsolaunching this fall along with a new service from WarnerMedia. Next year will see the arrival of services from NBCUniversal and HBO. Couple this with the existing services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, one has to wonder whether every service will survive, including the one from Apple. Time will tell.