- Apple unveiled its long-rumoured streaming TV service in March.
- The service is named Apple TV Plus , and it’s expected to arrive in November.
- Apple has yet to officially announce pricing or a release date for Apple TV Plus.
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Apple’s long-rumoured, Netflix-like video streaming service was finally unveiled earlier this year: It’s called Apple TV Plus, and a cavalcade of top-level Hollywood talent is producing content for the new service.
Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams were on hand alongside Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters to announce new projects for the service back in March.
Here’s everything we know about Apple’s new TV streaming service:
1. Apple TV Plus is similar to Netflix, Hulu, and other paid streaming services … sort of.
Let’s start with the most straightforward part of Apple’s plan: TV Plus.
This is the service where Apple’s new shows will debut and live. It’s most directly comparable to Netflix or HBO Go – a monthly subscription service that comes with original content, sans advertisements.
Unlike Netflix and HBO Go, Apple TV Plus has no licensed content. It will be a place exclusively for shows and movies that Apple produces (we’ll get to those in a moment).
Apple TV Plus will be ad-free and available in more than 100 countries.
2. Apple’s <em>other</em> push into TV is named Apple TV channels.
Whether you pay for Apple TV Plus or not, the Apple TV app got a major update to add a new section: channels.
The service allows you to build a sort of à la carte TV package by picking from a handful of TV channels and digital services. Maybe you only want Starz, Cinemax, and ESPN? You can sign up for only those through the Apple TV app.
What Apple is offering is standardization. No matter which channels you pay for, Apple says you’ll get access to their libraries, “on demand, available on and offline, with incredible picture quality and sound.”
Additionally, you can plug in services like PlayStation Vue and even a traditional cable subscription from the likes of Spectrum and Optimum.
3. The Apple TV app is coming to a mess of new devices, from the Mac to competitors like Roku and Samsung.
The Apple TV app is something that people with an iPhone or an iPad already have, but Apple intends its TV service to extend far beyond its hardware.
To that end, Apple put the Apple TV app on Samsung smart TVs starting this spring, and it’s scheduled to arrive on Amazon’s Fire TV, LG TVs, Roku-powered TVs, Sony TVs, and Vizio TVs “in the future.”
That’s a major move for Apple and a concession to the much larger world of TV owners who don’t have Apple’s set-top box, the Apple TV.
Of course, if you own an iPhone, an iPad, or an Apple TV, you simply received an update this May that revamped your Apple TV app, adding Apple TV channels in the process. Apple TV Plus isn’t expected to arrive until the fall, also as part of the Apple TV app.
Another first: Apple is bringing its Apple TV app to Macs in the fall. There doesn’t appear to be a way to access Apple TV Plus or Apple TV Channels from a web browser.
4. Apple is creating a bunch of shows for Apple TV Plus, and it’s working with a bunch of very famous people to make those shows.
Apple really splashed out on TV Plus talent. Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg were among those who showed up at Apple headquarters in Cupertino to announce their new TV Plus projects.
Here are a few:
- Steven Spielberg announced a reboot of his classic TV series “Amazing Stories.”
- Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell announced a new drama named “The Morning Show.” Since then, we’ve seen a trailer for the show, which will debut this fall.
- Alfre Woodard and Jason Momoa announced a sci-fi drama called “See.”
- Kumail Nanjiani announced an anthology series about immigrants living in the US called “Little America.”
Winfrey appeared as Apple’s surprise last-minute announcement. She announced two new documentaries: one focused on “the toll of sexual harassment, assault, and violation in the workplace” and a multipart series “focused on mental health.”
Here’s a look at the shows that were announced for Apple TV Plus:
5. Pricing and availability for Apple TV Plus are coming later this year.
Apple hasn’t revealed when Apple TV Plus will launch or how much it will cost, but the latest reports on pricing and availability put the service’s launch window in November, and pricing at somewhere in the $US10 per month range.
Moreover, Apple appears to be making massive investments in its upcoming service: According to the Financial Times, the company is reportedly dropping $US6 billion on just the first year of programming, and its first show is said to cost more per episode than HBO’s expensive blockbuster, “Game of Thrones.”
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