- > When will Apple's streaming service be available?
- > What will Apple TV+ streaming cost?
- > How to get Apple TV+
- > Where will you be able to watch Apple TV+
- > What will Apple's streaming service offer?
- > What services will be included as Channels?
- > Will iTunes Video be part of the subscription?
- > Apple's TV and film team
When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was being interviewed for his biography that was published shortly after his death in 2011 he revealed that with regard to television he believed he had: "Finally cracked it".
It won't be long until we can see for ourselves what Jobs had in mind. Apple has revealed that it will soon be launching an Apple TV+ streaming service that will be full of content from a star-studdied line up that Apple has been spending billions on.
Read on to find out everything the company has revealed about it's new streaming service, including details of Apple's original programming that will be available for customers to watch, the rumoured price and launch date.
When will Apple's streaming service be available?
We had been hoping that Apple would have some of the new shows ready to start airing after a launch at the September iPhone event, but it's possible that the company will miss that deadline.
A Bloomberg report in August 2019 claimed that Apple is planning to launch the TV+ service this November.
If the service launches in November it will arrive at the same time as the new Disney+ service, which will be launching on Tuesday 12 November. The Disney service will be available on Apple TV. It's feasible that Apple will launch its service in tandem with Disney on purpose, perhaps there will be a deal that includes both services.
Perhaps if Steve Jobs was still alive he’d be happy to offer a deal with both services (Jobs was the main shareholder in Disney, thanks to the sale of his other company Pixar to Disney). However, it's unlikely Apple and Disney have come to such an agreement.
However, we could see some content arrive sooner than November if Apple offers a small collection of shows initially, perhaps as part of a free trial.
What will Apple TV+ streaming cost?
Apple hasn't confirmed this yet. The company says pricing will be announced in the autumn.
We do know that the Apple TV Plus service will be ad free.
We also know that users will be able to share Apple TV+ and subscriptions to Apple TV channels via Family Sharing.
The Bloomberg report mentioned above suggests that the Apple TV+ streaming service will cost $9.99 a month. There will be a free trial and there may be ties to other services, which could mean that customers can get a discount if they sign up to multiple sevices together.
The $9.99 price will be in contrast to the rumoured $6.99 per month for Disney+, which, as we said above, will launch in November.
There had been suggestions that the new service could be free. BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield said he thought Apple will give the content away for free.
It wouldn't be typical of Apple to give away the content for free though, so we think it's more likely there will be a subscription model.
How to get Apple TV+
This content will be available via a redesigned TV app, and it will be possible to watch it on iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TV, on various smart TVs, and on the Roku and Amazon Fire TV. (We have more details about TVs that work with the new Apple TV+ content here).
The TV App is available on iPhones, iPads and the Apple TV, and will be arriving the Mac as well this autumn.
Prior to the upcoming changes, Apple's media player app made it possible to search for TV shows and films across various services in one place. However, having decided what you wanted to watch, you were then pushed out to the third-party app where you could watch the content.
The new version of the app (which has already seen some changes on iPhones and iPads, and the Apple TV following a May 2019 update, and will arrive on the Mac this September) will eventually not require you to leave Apple’s TV app to watch some content, instead you will be able to watch it within the app through a 'Channel'.
In the UK, as yet no services have signed up to be Apple TV Channels, so UK users can't partake of this feature, but the arrival of Channels means users can sign up to a Channel and view the content from within the Apple TV app.
An updated version of the TV app will pull in all the content you own, and will display anything you have a subscription to, and it will also offer access to new shows being produced by Apple itself once the subscription service launches.
Because you watch all the content in the app you’ll be able to get personalised recommendations from Apple’s own team of editors. The app should show content that is more in line with what you like to watch, making it easier to find shows you like.
Where will you be able to watch Apple TV+
In its current iteration the TV app is only available in 10 counties, but the new service will be available in 100 countries, according to Apple.
You will be able to watch everything available in the TV app on iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TV and also TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio, and on Roku and Amazon FireTV. We have a complete guide to what you can watch Apple TV on here.
You will also be able to download shows to watch offline, according to Apple.
- The Apple TV app will be available on Samsung smart TVs this spring.
- The Mac version of the app will launch in the autumn.
- The app will also be available on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms "in the future," according to Apple.
- In addition, customers with eligible VIZIO, Samsung, LG and Sony smart TVs will be able to play videos and other content from their iPhone or iPad directly to their smart TVs using AirPlay 2.
We might be unclear about whether Apple will be offering licenced content as part of the subscription to Apple TV+, but we do know that Apple is going to be bringing programmes from various artists to its Apple TV+ app.
The company was said to have budgeted at least $1bn in 2018 and another $2bn in 2019 for buying and producing its own video content,as per a Finacial Times report in August 2019, Apple has now decided to spend more than $6 billion on TV shows for its new service.
Apple has already granted us a preview of what it has up its sleeve. The company showcased a number of different artists describing their new shows that will be made available via the service during its March 2019 event.
Many of these shows weren't surprises as the company has been unable to keep rumours and snippets of information getting out about its plans here, so we already knew about quite a few of the shows the company is working on.
Here are a few of the shows you can expect to see. We have a complete guide to the shows Apple is making, and what you can watch on Apple TV right now here.
- Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories
- See, starring Jason Momoa
- Sesame Street - coding workshop
- Little Voices, produced by J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles.
- Little America, co-written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
- The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon
- Oprah, including a documentary about mental health being made by Prince Harry (Duke of Sussex)
- Bastards, starring Richard Gere
- Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits
- Video game studio comedy from Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day
- Cartoon Saloon film
- Ed Sheeran documentary Songwriter
- Shantaram, based on Gregory David Roberts' novel
- Dickinson, about the poet Emily Dickinson
- M. Night Shyamalan show
- Isaac Asimov's Foundation
- Central Park, staring Kristen Bell and Josh Gad
- Swagger, about basketball player Kevin Durant
- Untitled drama from La La Land writer
- You Think It, I'll Say It - Reese Witherspoon-produced show
- Space drama from Star Trek veteran Ronald D. Moore.
- Are You Sleeping, crime drama
- For All Mankind, Sci-fi drama
You can watch a new trailer for 'The Morning Show' below:
Apple has also published a trailer for 'For All Mankind' on YouTube to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that put man on the moon.
What services will be included as Channels?
Netflix has already confirmed that it won't be included - it's not clear if this means it will be leaving the TV app completely (it is currently possible to search for Netflix content via the app). Which other services will be available from inside Apple's TV app?
Content will also be available from more than 150 streaming apps, according to Apple. These will include Amazon Prime and Hulu (the latter being US-only).
In the US, at least, you can expect content from the following:
- Comedy Central
- Eros Now
- Sundance Now
- Nick Hits
- Smithsonian Plus
- PBS Libing
- Acorn TV
- MTV Hits Curiosity Stream
Apple says that with the new version of the app, customers will be able to subscribe to content from satellite and cable providers via a simple process that takes "just a couple of steps".
And anything you rent or buy on iTunes is also available to watch through the TV app.
Will iTunes Video be part of the subscription?
Long before Netflix and Amazon Prime, Apple was selling TV shows and films on the iTunes Store. You might have forgotten about iTunes, but, for now, you can still find tons of movies, TV shows and more in iTunes on a Mac and via the TV app on iPhones, iPads and the Apple TV. (Incidentally, iTunes is leaving the Mac and will be replaced by the Music app).
The problem with the current service is that you have to pay to either own or rent shows. If you already pay monthly for Netflix and Prime you might not be so keen on actually buying or renting a show, even if you could see it on iTunes before it comes to Netflix or Amazon.
This has always been Apple's model for the iTunes Store. Now that the company is bringing its own content that we assume will be part of a subscription package, will the existing content you can buy or rent on iTunes be available to subscribers too?
We hope so, but to date the company has not announced plans to offer iTunes content as part of the subscription package.
Apple's Eddy Cue has been building a video team for some time. The video team is mostly based in Los Angeles and is lead by two ex-Sony Pictures execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who have shows such as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul under their belt, have worked at Sony for 15 years (Amburg) and 20 years (Erlicht).
Erlicht and Amburg appeared on stage at the Apple Showtime event to talk through the new service.
When he was given the job in June 2017, Erlicht said: "It will be an honor to be part of the Apple team. We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in their other services and consumer products - unparalleled quality," according to a report on Deadline Hollywood.
In September 2017 Matt Cherniss, president of US TV broadcasting company WGN, joined the team. He was behind shows such as Manhattan and Salem and has previously worked for Sony, Warner Bros. Pictures and Fox.
And in late October 2017 Apple added the former controller of BBC One and chief creative officer of Channel 4, Jay Hunt, to its team of creatives working on video content. Hunt was behind shows like Sherlock, Luther, and then helped Channel 4 buy The Great British Bake Off. In her new role at Apple she will be creative director Europe, worldwide video. It is thought that she will be commissioning programming on behalf of Apple for Europe and the UK market.
In February 2018 Apple hired Gaumont Television executive Carol Trussell as Head of Production at its Worldwide Video Programming division. When at Gaumont, Trussell was responsible for Narcos and Hannibal amongst other shows. She was previously a producer for HBO's True Blood
Apple also hired The Paramount Network's Dana Tuinier as creative executive for comedy. Before Paramount, Tuinier worked at Fox on shows including New Girl, Almost Human and Glee.
A July 2018 TBI Vision reported that Apple had hired head of BBC Films Joe Oppenheimer to join the international team. Oppenheimer will be tasked with sourcing programming internationally, according to TBI Vision. His film credits include I, Daniel Blake and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
Then in December 2018 it emerged that Apple has signed a deal with Justin Lin's entertainment company, Perfect Storm. Lin directed some of the Fast and Furious movies, as well as some episodes of Community and True Detective. Lin worked with Sony Pictures TV for six years on Sony TV shows including Scorpion, S.W.A.T and Magnum PI.
Apple is also forming a team of people with awards strategy experience. In January 2019, the company hired someone who'd been employed in Disney's television group. The company is also said to be seeking a high-level candidate to oversee the process, according to Bloomberg sources.
The Bloomberg report suggest that Apple is aiming to get award nominations for its original content. That report suggests that Apple could be in the running for Emmy awards by 2020.
In order to be nominated for an award Apple might have to release movies in the cinema. The company is known to have already purchased one movie at the Sundance Film Festival, Hala from Cartoon Saloon.
Apple’s also made Disney’s Chiara Cipriani director of video services, as of May 2019.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Cipriani had been at Disney for ten years. She was vice president at Disney+ International and VP of Disney's digital media distribution team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She also served as general manager of Disney’s digital direct to consumer service and was also VP of content and commercial there. Previously she worked at Sky, and was co-founder of The Poker Channel Europe. Cipriani will be based in Apple’s London office.