Apple TV Plus Review – Apple’s New Streaming Service


Summary

Our Verdict

Apple TV+


The long-rumoured streaming service of Apple launches with a tiny library, but with a tiny monthly price to match.

 
Overall 81%
Content
Usability
Value

Review was updated on 12 July 2021

After years of rumours about whether they might just outright purchase an existing streaming service to make their first proper push into content creation, Apple announced what some had already suspected was in the works – a full scale Apple-run streaming service. Named Apple TV Plus – a name deliberately chosen to match the name of the company’s hugely popular streaming box – it differs from the ever-growing range of streaming services in some key ways.

What’s In this Review

Stream Apple TV Plus instantly

Most notably, Apple TV+ will not – as far as anyone knows, anyway – be offering any third-party content at all. The only shows and movies on offer will be the selection of titles that Apple has commissioned especially for the service, from some of the biggest names in entertainment. Apple TV+ will bring all these premium offerings together in a subscription service that will cost, in Australia, just $7.99 per month.

What is Apple TV Plus?

The decision to go with only original, in-house content is one which caught many in the industry by surprise, though it’s actually not at all out of character with the way Apple usually does business. Consumers are used to the idea of paying a monthly fee for a streaming service that offers a large range of content – both originals and third-party titles.

But much third-party content is already tied up in rights deals with existing streaming providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Stan. As a result, we’re seeing Disney launching their new streaming service (a couple of weeks after Apple) with only their content on board – but Disney has a decades-long library to draw content from. Apple, having only just started producing its own shows and movies, will be fairly light on content at launch.

The drawcard is – as you might expect from Apple – quality rather than quantity. Apple TV+ launches with only about nine titles, with more to follow in subsequent months. But Apple is counting on the big names and high production values behind their new offerings will attract the sort of audience that watches HBO’s celebrated originals. 

Not surprisingly, all titles are being produced at the highest technical quality, with streaming in 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos available on compatible devices (and the Apple TV 4K is, of course, the most compatible of them all!)

Apple TV Plus Plans and Pricing

Apple has deliberately kept the cost of Apple TV+ low, and in Australia it’s priced at a mere $7.99 per month. But if you buy any major Apple product from now onwards – iPhone, iPad, Mac, even an Apple TV box – you get a full year of Apple TV+ completely free as soon as you activate your new device. For a lot of people that means they won’t pay a cent for the new service when it launches, but those who pay monthly will still be able to do so direct from their Apple account balance, taking advantage of discounted iTunes cards to get the subscription cheaper.

There’s a free trial available for the service, but it’s a short one – only 7 days. There is only the one price tier – it’s $7.99/month for everyone. That gets you streaming at every quality level right up to 4K, and even better, up to six family members can access the same account at no extra cost, using their own Apple IDs so each family member’s favourites and watch history is kept separate.

That’s a remarkably generous multi-user allowance; families would be more used to paying more than twice as much just to be able to let four family members access services like Netflix or Stan. For families with lots of Apple devices, this one’s a bargain.

Apple TV Plus Plans

Plan
Inclusions
Price
Monthly
  • New customers: 7-day free trial
  • 3 mos free when you buy an eligible Apple device
  • Monthly
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4K HDR included
  • Up to 6 simultaneous streams
  • $7.99/mth
$7.99/mth
Min Cost - $7.99 over 1 month

What TV Shows are on Apple TV Plus?

The launch content for Apple TV+ is an interesting cross-section of genres that basically aims to deliver something for everyone’s tastes, and to impress with some big names. With episodic series titles, Apple will publish the first three episodes on launch day, they add one per week to see out each season. It’s a nice compromise between promoting “bingeing” and letting some very expensive shows get their time in the sun.

Other content includes a psychological thriller from M Night Shyamalan, feature films The Banker (with Samuel L Jackson) and Hala, true-crime drama series Truth Be Told and documentary series Little America

It’s known that Apple has other as-yet-unscheduled projects in the works for Apple TV+ as well, including Steven Spielberg’s revisiting of the classic anthology series Amazing Stories

Apple clearly intends to build up an impressive library or original shows and movies over time, in much the way that Netflix has – except Apple is putting even more emphasis on big names. 

How to watch Apple Plus

If you guessed from the name that the best way to watch Apple TV+ is with an Apple device – preferably an Apple TV – you’d be right. The service is designed top to bottom to be a perfect fit for Apple’s popular streaming device, and the full range of features available on each title – including Dolby Atmos sound, Dolby Vision HDR for TVs that support it (such as LG OLEDs) and native 4K streaming across the entire service at no extra cost. 

You’ll also be able to use your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to load up the new TV app and view the service, and Mac users will get a dedicated TV app with the next major MacOS update (Catalina). 

On other platforms, apps will be available for newer Samsung smart TVs at launch, with support for LG and Sony to come. Also in the pipeline are apps for Amazon Fire TV and Roku (Telstra TV) devices. And of course, you’ll be able to stream everything in a web browser if you prefer the flexibility of not being tied to a specific device.

Apple TV Plus Features

The entirety of the original content made for Apple TV+ becomes its main feature, including shows and movies from big names like Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa, Samuel L Jackson and more.

What’s even better for Apple users is that the company’s streaming service becomes available free for 12 months with the purchase of any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod Touch or Mac. For those wanting to try it out, there’s a 7-day free trial offer.

Review Summary: is Apple TV+ Worth it?

It does seem like everyone is trying to get in on the streaming service action these days, so in some ways it’s surprising it’s taken Apple this long to properly jump in with Apple TV Plus. True to Apple style, Apple TV plus focuses on a small range of high-quality, attention-grabbing titles rather than a vast library of whatever was available, and it remains to be seen how the public will warm to the idea of an originals-only streaming service that deliberately discourages binge-watching behaviour.

The price is right, though, especially if you qualify for the extra-bargain price of free, and Apple has certainly put a huge amount of money into developing content not just for launch, but well beyond. In a few years’ time it might well be the next HBO, but for now, it’s yet another option is a crowded streaming market. But it’s a very Apple option. We hope you liked this Apple TV Plus review.

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