Apple’s Mysterious Video Streaming Service May Have a Launch Date

The company is building its original programming team.

Apple may be ready to launch a Netflix-like streaming service in less than three months’ time, according to a Monday report. The company has reportedly told networks and studios that it’s collaborating with that they need “to be ready for launch by mid-April,” with the final launch expected “within several weeks of that date.”

The firm will be taking on the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu in an increasingly-crowded market. The release date, as discovered by The Information, matches with reports from the New York Times and CNBC that place a launch sometime in the first half of this year. That means it’s likely to launch in the same year as Disney’s service, which is producing original Marvel shows for its upcoming premiere. NBCUniversal has also announced its own service that is expected to come in a free ad-supported version for Comcast subscribers. With most of these services around $10 per month per subscription, cord-cutting is starting to add up.

See more: Apple Streaming Service: Likely Release Date, Pricing, and Available Shows

The company has been working overtime to produce original content for its service, hiring ex-Sony Pictures Televisions presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to lead the initiative. Planned content includes an M. Night Shyamalan series, a Chris Evans drama series called Defending Jacobs, a comedy series from Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, a series called Foundation based on the works of Isaac Asimov, and a drama series from La La Land director Damien Chazelle.

Perhaps less clear is how Apple will differentiate itself on the technology front. The company is expected to follow a similar plan as it did with Apple Music, the Spotify competitor that grew out of its Beats Music acquisition. That means deep integration with the operating system, with new features on the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The company is expected to leverage the TV app that shares shows from a variety of streaming services, complementing its competitors’ output.

Alongside the streaming service, Apple is expected to launch a number of products over the coming months: four new iPads, a new iPod Touch and a new set of AirPods.

With CEO Tim Cook sounding the alarm over reduced hardware spending, a shift into services may come at the ideal time for Apple.

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