After a preview announcement all the way back in March, Apple finally announced a launch date and full details (including pricing) for its upcoming streaming service. Named Apple TV+ – the “plus” name having been chosen long before Disney announced their upcoming service – it will launch on November 1st in over 100 countries around the world, including Australia.
The headline Apple TV+ announcement was the pricing– an unexpectedly low $7.99 per month in Australia, which comes in slightly cheaper than the $8.99/month recently announced by Disney for their streaming service, which launches around the same time. Apple’s pricing for Australia is, accounting for the exchange rate, almost exactly what US customers will pay for the service.
The launch date was announced at an Apple event where new models of iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch were also announced – and anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod Touch (yes, they still make them) will get a year’s subscription to Apple TV+ included free of charge. For those that upgrade their iPhone every year, that could mean ongoing free premium TV content if the offer continues.
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What Is Apple TV+?
Having tried a few half-hearted efforts at creating their own content for customers – such as the ill-fated TV series Planet of the Apps – Apple has invested billions of dollars to create content for a premium streaming service that’s positioning itself as a place to find high-quality original TV series, movies and documentaries, made by and featuring some seriously big names.
Taking its name from the company’s hugely popular streaming devices, but available on many more platforms, Apple TV+ is unusual in that it’s a streaming service with only original content on offer. While it’s possible that there may be some third-party content added at launch, it’s looking increasingly like Apple is going to keep its streaming service entirely for its own productions.
What Content Will Apple TV+ Have?
The launch slate for the shows (and movie) on Apple TV+ is now finalised, and anyone with an Apple TV, iPhone or iPad can check out the trailers for many of the upcoming titles – and add them to their “Up Next” list to get notified the moment they’re released.
Apple has put a lot of emphasis on the talent they’re working with both in front of and behind the cameras for their productions, and the message throughout is one of “quality over quantity”, with the launch line-up offering something for just about everyone.
Apple plans to treat the way a series is released a little differently, too – they’ll drop three episodes at launch, then one per week after that until the season is complete. That should ensure a fairly steady feed of new content, even though it may frustrate fans of binge-watching.
The titles available at launch on November 1st are:
This big-budget drama starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell (and known as The Morning Show in the US) is set around the people that make a big network morning news show happen.
Billed as “darkly comedic” this series portrays the early life of poet Emily Dickinson. If that sounds a bit dry and boring, the fact that popular actress Hailee Steinfeld plays Dickinson suggests it’ll be anything but.
For All Mankind
A science fiction series set in a world where the space race never ended, produced by Ronald D Moore – the man behind Outlander and Battlestar Galactica.
Set 600 years in the future in a world where the entire population is blind – except the children born to stars Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard – this one looks to be going for the Game of Thrones audience. Francis Lawrence, director of three of the Hunger Games movies, is involved.
The Elephant Queen
A documentary film about the epic journey of one African elephant, narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor and aimed at a family audience.
A kids’ series from the Sesame Street team about a bunch of colourful problem-solving monsters.
A series for older kids that’s a remake of the popular 1990s show of the same name, with kids teaming up to rescue fictional characters.
Snoopy in Space
One for the Peanuts cartoon and comic fans, this series follows the beloved beagle as he attempts to become the first animated dog to explore space. For all dogkind, presumably.
Coming later – Apple say new stuff will be added monthly – are feature films The Banker (with Samuel L Jackson) and Hala, the M Night Shyamalan thriller Servant and another thriller series based around the world of true-crime podcasting, Truth Be Told. Oprah Winfrey will also be involved with the service is some way yet to be clearly defined, though indications are it’ll be a “book club” series of some kind.
Last audited 19 October 2020
What Devices Can Stream Apple TV+?
At launch on November 1st, Apple TV+ will be available, not surprisingly, on Apple TV devices, as well as iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, accessible from the TV app that’s already a part of tvOS and iOS, which will become the TV+ app in a software update later this month. Mac desktop and laptop users will get the TV+ app in the upcoming update to MacOS.
Outside the Apple ecosystem, the Apple TV app is already available on recent Samsung smart TVs and is coming to LG and Sony models. There will also be an app for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, with Telstra TV sure to get an app eventually as well since Roku devices in the US are going to be supported. Offline downloading will be supported on all devices. Of course, you’ll also be able to stream in any modern web browser.
Is It Worth It?
By picking a price point lower than any competitor (aside from Amazon Prime Video in Australia), Apple has made it clear they want as many people as possible to give Apple TV+ a try. Whether it will be able to keep people subscribed is going to depend on how much regular new content there is, but it’s hard to say no to giving it a try for the low price (which includes streaming in 4K and HDR and allows multiple users to stream at once, too).
Keep an eye on CompareTV for more Apple TV+ news as we get closer to the launch date!