Apple's Streaming Service Is Almost Ready: Likely Release Date and Shows

Apple's about to dive head first into the streaming game. 

Three years after whispers first began to emerge that Apple had grand Hollywood-esque ambitions, its plans to take on Netflix, Hulu, and the other streaming giants have almost materialized. The Cupertino-based company will soon introduce its very own subscription-based entertainment platform to accompany the Apple TV and its roster of other devices.

The service will offer a smorgasbord original content, third-party shows, and channel subscriptions that customers. Apple is reportedly investing $1 billion to produce series akin to the ones seen on HBO. But this won’t be just another streaming service hitting the internet, it’ll leverage Apple’s massive hardware roster to lure users in with some free content and get them to subscribe to continue watching, according to a report by CNBC.

Apple is also trying convince other streaming services to let it aggregate some of their shows, so the new platform can become a kind of one-stop-shop for all things digital media. That plan has reportedly not sat well with some of the other streaming giants, for example Amazon Prime Video. But regardless of what its competitors have to say about it, the company is apparently moving forward with the plan and it’s set to debut in the spring.

This could be the year when Apple finally makes good on Steve Jobs’ promise to “reinvent TV.”

Smart TV
This could change the Apple TV platform for good.

Apple TV Streaming: Release Date

Apple hasn’t said a word about the streaming service, but people familiar with the project told CNBC that the company wants to ship it in April or early May.

A mid-to-late spring timeframe lines up with a previous New York Times report stating that Apple was eyeing the first half of 2019 for the unveiling of its Netflix-like platform. The company could even dedicate an entire press event to launch it as well.

Multiple reports have provided evidence that Apple’s first product launch of the year won’t involve hardware at all, it’ll be exclusively for a subscription news service. This could be part of larger plan to lean into subscription services instead of purely relying on hardware sales, which are simply more difficult to sustain than a service for which you charge a monthly fee.

Netflix, Apple is coming for you.

Apple TV Streaming: How Would It Work?

A majority of reporting anticipates that this will a revamp of the TV app that is available on Apple TV, iPhones and iPads. But CNBC and Bloomberg and has reported some further details that suggest it could work a little differently once launched.

Currently, the TV app redirects users to other subscriptions services like Now TV. Once Apple has its own streaming set-up in-house, users will very likely be encouraged to stick around to enjoy Apple’s own programming. Content like newscasts, movies, and series could soon live on the TV app instead of on third-party software. This way Apple users will have access to video content as soon as their devices come out of the box.

It’ll also offer device owners free original content to incentivize hardware purchases.

Apple TV Streaming: Subscription Cost?

A final subscription cost hasn’t been revealed, either. But it seems likely that Apple will pick a price that is competitive with other streaming services, which are all priced about the same. The cheapest Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video subscriptions are all roughly $8 per month, so Apple can reasonably be expected to name a price point around that range. The kicker, however, is that it could come with free content for Apple device owners.

The CNBC report stated that iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs will all come loaded with free, Apple-owned content, suggesting this perk will be limited to the content it produces in house. Accessing subscriptions channels and other online-only services might require further payment.

game of thrones
Could Apple make it's own Game of Thrones, like series?

Apple TV Streaming: What Third-Party Services Will Be Available?

The fledgling service is also trying to recruit most established platforms like Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime Video to get on board for its “Channels” option, according to CNBC. Apple’s idea is to make the service a subscription platform for existing services where users can watch, say, Game of Thrones if they’re subscribed to HBO already. But that pitch doesn’t seem to be landing.

Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime Video have reportedly not agreed. That leaves Apple trying to woo big TV networks. But NBC has even set out to start its own streaming platform, suggesting that they could give Apple a similar response.

Apple TV Streaming: What Original Content Will Be Featured?

With $1 billion in-hand, Apple obviously has plenty of cash to pull in whatever big names it thinks it needs to ensure the service makes a splash. That said, the company’s first foray into content production was underwhelming, at least in they were in the case of widely-mocked *Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. That said, most of the shows in the pipeline seem just a touch more ambitious.

Apple hired former Sony Pictures Televisions presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to lead the push on its original programming. These two new executives have stepped up the caliber of content Apple will be releasing in the near future:

  • Swagger, a biographical drama on NBA all-star Kevin Durant’s youth.
  • An untitled drama series from La La Land writer-director Damien Chazelle.
  • Central Park, an animated show from the creator of Bob’s Burgers.
  • An untitled series from M. Night Shyamalan.
  • An untitled morning show drama series starring Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston (which we take to mean a drama series about characters working on a morning show).
  • A reboot of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi and horror anthology Amazing Stories.
  • An untitled Ronald D. Moore space drama series.
  • A thriller-drama series called Are You Sleeping starring Octavia Spencer.
  • A docuseries called Home from executive producers Matt Tyrnauer and Corey Reeser.
  • An untitled comedy series starring Kristen Wiig.
  • Defending Jacobs, a drama series produced by and starring Chris Evans.
  • An untitled comedy series written by Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
  • Foundation, a series based on novels by sci-fi author Isaac Asimov.
  • An untitled mystery series created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik.
  • Little Voice, a romantic comedy by JJ Abrams, Jessie Nelson, and Sara Bareilles.