Apple TV+ Streaming Service Announced

The world is watching, or at least Apple hopes they will be!

by Andy Bassett Mar 25, 2019 at 8:53 PM


  • Movies & TV News

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    Apple TV+ Streaming Service Announced
    One of Apple’s most anticipated, and least surprising, announcements for a while, sees them launch a new TV subscription service for original material to rival the likes of Netflix, Amazon and the upcoming Disney+.
    Apple’s presentation was, as expected, totally focussed on new or improved services.The Cupertino company has spent the last year laying the groundwork for today’s reveals by purchasing magazine subscription service Texture and creating partnerships with a variety of service providers from games developers to trusted news sources to Hollywood A list content creators. Among their announcements were Apple News+, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.

    So, now that Apple TV+ is out of the gates and onto the playing field, how will Apple’s world famous innovation make this stand out among the crowd?

    The starting point for the delivery of this streaming contender is a repurposed Apple TV app. The ethos behind this is to bring all the consumer’s TV and movie requirements under one roof to streamline the interface and prevent the user from having to leave the Apple TV environment in order to control a separate TV service, for example, their cable TV provider. It can all be done using the updated Apple TV software.

    The thousands of movies from the iTunes catalogue will now be available under the TV app as will the cable and satellite services that provide sports, news and live TV scheduling for comedy, drama and documentaries.

    With so much choice available Apple has now introduced Apple TV Channels which enables the user to pay only for the TV channels they are interested in. Only US cable and satellite providers have been announced so far and it will be interesting to see whether Apple can negotiate this kind of functional inclusion with the myriad of national TV providers around the globe when it rolls out to non-US regions in the autumn. Also included will be a host of established streaming channels featuring most of the expected names, such as HBO, Showtime, Starz and Britbox.

    The Apple TV Channel function allows shows to be downloaded and watched offline and the entire family can have their own personalised experience based around member’s own viewing habits.

    The TV app allows access to content on whichever Apple device you find most convenient at the time, such as Apple TV 4K, an iPad or your iPhone. All that will be required is a software update, which is coming this May. Users of MacOS systems will also now be able to benefit from Apple TV when the app becomes compatible later in the autumn.

    Perhaps the most interesting development though, and another example of Apple’s efforts behind the scenes, is the fact that the TV app will now be included with a raft of upcoming smart TVs. These will include new models for 2019 from Samsung, Sony, LG and Vizio. The app will also be available on Roku TV and Amazon’s FireTV service.

    Currently only available in 10 countries, Apple’s ambitions are clear as it plans to roll out the new TV app and its services to over 100 countries. The schedule for this rollout is yet not known.

    So far, the new Apple TV features allows the consumer to pull everything they want to watch under the control of a single environment but the natural extension of that is what Apple has now delivered with Apple TV+, it’s very own original streaming TV service and here the company has been loudly name dropping a parade of high profile Hollywood players.

    Among the projects enthusiastically confirmed are an anthology series from Steven Spielberg based around his childhood love of the Amazing Stories publications, and a drama called The Morning Show which focuses on two ambitious women, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. There’s also a futuristic drama featuring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard called ‘See’ where humanity has to deal with collective blindness. The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani introduced an anthology series called Little America about the experiences of immigrants coming to the US. Projects were also announced by J.J. Abrams and Oprah Winfrey and to cater for the little’uns, the makers of Sesame Street are on board for a show called ‘Helpsters’ which will encourage kids to solve problems via coding.

    The service is due to begin in the autumn and the announcement of these shows culminated in a series of short clips and trailers demonstrating that many of them are currently in production or post-production.

    Unfortunately, the one detail not divulged amongst all this content overload was the subscription cost, nor was the autumn rollout schedule expanded on.

    Continuing with the announcement of services with a ‘+’ added to a pre-existing app name was Apple News+, which adds 300 magazines titles and a subscription charge of $9.99 per month. Included in this is access to the L.A Times and Wall Street Journal news sources. Apple News+ makes suggestions about which articles you may find interesting based on your reading choices. Apple was at great pains to point out that the machine learning which analyses your reading habits takes place ‘on device’ and not on Apple's servers, thus ensuring your personal data is protected. This is the same process that makes viewing suggestions in the new TV app too. It’s not clear whether the Apple News app will continue as free option alongside its pimped-up '+' cousin.

    Also announced was Apple Arcade, a subscription based games service which will occupy a portion of the App Store and enable access to over 100 exclusive games, with more being added on a monthly basis. Apple is using the subscription model to foster an environment whereby creative development of games that may have been stifled through lack of funding is now encouraged. The service will provide games for mobile, desktop and living room platforms. As with the Apple TV+ and News+, pricing has yet to be announced and rollout is expected in the autumn.

    Source: Apple Event: 25th March 2019


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