Apple TV+: Price, Release Date, Shows, Availability for the Netflix Killer

Apple TV has a whole new look.

Apple TV+, Apple’s long-rumored video streaming service, was finally unveiled at the Steve Jobs Theater on Monday. In addition to revamping Apple TV, the Cupertino-based company also laid out plans to meld concepts from its competitors — including Netflix-like streaming and other cable TV offerings — to create a unique television experience.

Apple’s foray into the streaming industry will incentivize cord cutting but with its own twist. An updated Apple TV interface will serve as a film and TV marketplace where users can pick and choose the channels they want to watch, instead of signing up for a bundle. Existing series, sports, and news broadcasts will be complemented by Apple’s original content, but that will cost extra and be housed under the Apple TV+ umbrella.

All in all, Apple’s sweeping update to its TV product will first move to make cable TV less binding and more customizable. Secondly, it will attempt to rival Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video with its original programming.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple TV+.

“We’ve partnered with the most thoughtful, accomplished, and award-winning group of creative visionaries who have ever come together in one place to create a new service unlike anything that’s been done before,” said CEO Tim Cook in his introduction.

Apple TV users will be able to flip on their screen and access channels like Starz and Showtime, stream shows from other services like Hulu and Prime Video, and, eventually, browse Apple’s own productions.

The company is expected to spend somewhere between $1 to $2 billion for upcoming original shows and films, so there’s a lot to expect from Apple TV+ in the near future. But for now, Apple left viewers of its March 25 event with more questions than answers.


Apple TV+: Price

Apple didn’t disclose Apple TV+’s cost, just that it would be a subscription service. Seeing as Netflix’s most popular plan goes for $10.99 and Hulu’s commercial-free subscription costs $11.99, Apple will likely position itself somewhere in that range.

The addition of channels and streaming services in the redesigned Apple TV app will come with no additional cost. They’ll be offered in an à la carte structure, so users can pay for only the channels and streaming services they want. Each channel and third-party service will carry its own fee.

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The all-new Apple TV app brings together the different ways to discover and watch shows, movies, sports, news and more in one app.

Apple TV+: Release Date

More details about how much Apple TV+ will cost and when it could become available are due in the fall. That could mean we don’t get an update on when Apple’s original shows will be available until the annual iPhone announcement in September.

The updated Apple TV app and its roster of channels will become available on iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs starting in May. Mac users will have to wait until the fall to get the app on their desktops or laptops.

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Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue breaks down the channels that will be available on Apple TV in May.

Apple TV+: Availability

Apple announced that its Apple TV channels option will be available in over 100 countries upon release, but it didn’t specify if that would be the same for Apple TV+. The company has also taken steps to make its streaming service available to non-Apple hardware users.

The Apple TV app will be available on Samsung TVs beginning this spring as well as on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms at an unspecified later date. In the meanwhile, Apple will let customers with eligible VIZIO, Samsung, LG and Sony smart TVs cast content from the iPhones and iPads using AirPlay 2.

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Beginning in May, customers can subscribe to Apple TV channels à la carte and watch them in the Apple TV app, including live sports broadcasts.

Apple TV+: Can You Watch Live Sports?

The channel selection available on the upgraded Apple TV will also provide a selection of live sports broadcasts so fans can tune into their favorite teams. Its biggest asset in this department will be ESPN+, which costs $4.99 a month and will be available through Apple TV.

It includes MLB, NHL, Major League Soccer and PGA events plus international sports like soccer, cricket, and rugby with commercial breaks.

NBA and WNBA games will be available through other channels, like TNT.

Apple TV+: Channels and Other Streaming Services

Off the bat, the most compelling perk about the upgraded Apple TV app will how it consolidates multiple services under one roof. It will offer shows, movies, and broadcasts from over 150 streaming apps and television channels that will all be easily accessible through the app.

Apple listed a roster of the channels and services that will be initially accessible to customers:

  • HBO
  • Starz
  • SHOWTIME
  • CBS All Access
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • EPIX
  • Tastemade
  • Noggin
  • MTV Hits
  • TNT
  • Amazon Prime
  • Hulu
  • Canal+
  • Charter Spectrum
  • DIRECTV NOW
  • PlayStation Vue
  • Suddenlink (added later this year)
  • Altice (added later this year)
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Apple lists its creative partners for Apple TV+.

Apple TV+: Apple Originals

At least for now, the most compelling part about Apple’s service is also the most mysterious. The company teased a handful of its original shows, starting with Steven Spielberg’s reboot of Amazing Stories, Foundation a show based on series of novels by Isaac Asimov, and a rendition of Brian Stelter’s book The Morning Show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

Apple hasn’t mentioned when the content it’s reportedly spending upwards of $1 billion to produce will become available. But it has offered an initial list of the directors, producers, actors, and actresses that will be involved. The list of rumored shows and films is much longer.

  • Steven Spielberg, Amazing Stories
  • Isaac Asimov, Foundation
  • Joel Kinnaman
  • J.J. Abrams
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Jessie Nelson
  • M. Night Shyamalan
  • Ron Howard
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Sofia Coppola
  • Rupers Grint
  • Matt weaver
  • Morten Tyldum
  • Reggie Rock Bythewood
  • Tituss Burgess
  • Jason Sudelkis
  • Tim McKeon
  • Edward Kitsis
  • Jon M. Chu
  • Octavia Spencer
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Damien Chazelle

Apple TV+: What’s Not Included

The most notable omission was Netflix, which means the new Apple TV app will not offer any kind of Netflix integration. The streaming giant was the only streaming services that completely opted out of Apple’s offer and it’s not hard to see why.

Netflix is expected to spend far more than Apple — something like $15 billion this year — on its own original content. That should be more than enough to make Netflix consumers feel like they’re missing out by going with Apple’s bundle.

Apple’s rework of Apple TV is step in the right direction with Apple’s new focus on services, but it’s not yet clear the company has what it takes to punch with the entertainment heavyweights. Of course, that could change after Apple offers more details on its original programming.

Media via Apple