Apple’s answer to the growing streaming market is here, giving subscribers access to a variety of new high-profile programming like “The Morning Show” and “See.” With the streaming field already crowded and Disney+ (Nov. 12th), HBO Max (2020), and Peacock (2020) launching soon, how does Apple TV+ work and what will it get you?
About Apple TV+
Apple TV+ is the cheapest of the forthcoming streaming services at $4.99 per month. If you’re unsure if the service is for you, a seven day free trial is available to feel it out. Additionally, everyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV will get a year of the service for free. One catch: the free year is automatically set to renew, and you have one day to cancel your subscription–the day before the deal stops. Cancelling before that will shut the service off and the free period can’t be reinstated.
The service will be exclusively devoted to Apple’s original series and films, a library that will grow over the next year. There will be no ads, and most Apple TV Plus series will debut with three initial episodes followed by weekly episodes. Select series will have full seasons available at once.
All Apple TV+ content will be available through Apple’s TV app under the ‘Watch Now’ tab. They’ll sit alongside other subscribed content, like HBO or Starz. The service will be available in more than 100 countries and will fall under Apple’s family-sharing feature (allowing you to share with up to five family members). Apple originals will be available in 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision, with most titles offering Dolby Atmos sound.
Apple TV+ Content
Apple TV+ is launching with nine titles, all series, and it has used its roughly $6 billion budget to net huge stars and content creators. First and foremost is Morning Show, its flagship drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. (Reportedly, the series costs a hefty $15 million per episode in part due to the $2 million per episode that Witherspoon and Aniston negotiated).
The service also launches with See, a post-apocalyptic fantasy epic starring Jason Momoa; Oprah’s Book Club, a book-centric talk show starring the popular hostess and entrepreneur; For All Mankind, an alternative history space race series; Dickinson, an irreverent comedy about Emily Dickinson (played by Hailee Steinfeld).
Beyond these high-profile launch titles, the service also launches with the animated series Snoopy in Space; a Sesame Street spinoff called Helpsters; a kids program called Ghostwriter; and a documentary film called The Elephant Queen which was acquired at the Toronto International Film Festival.
In the near future, the service will see the launch of Servant, a thriller series from director M. Night Shyamalan; mystery-drama Truth Be Told; Little America from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon; The Banker, a film starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson; and Hala, a movie produced by Jada Pinkett Smith. There are forthcoming deals with Alfonso Cuarón, J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot, Steven Spielberg, and A24 as well with details forthcoming.
Is It Worth It?
Whether or not the service is worth it sort of depends on your perspective. On the one hand, $4.99 / month is pretty affordable–one skipped Starbucks trip easily makes up a month’s streaming cost.
On the other hand, at present you really don’t get much. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, while admittedly more expensive, each have large libraries of content. Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock will both have nearly a century of content to fold into their own respective libraries, and that doesn’t include their acquired properties and forthcoming originals.
All the series launching with Apple TV+ are certainly high-profile properties with well known talent behind them, but initial reception of their biggest titles–See and Morning Show–has been less than ideal for Apple.
So… is it worth it?
Not yet, truth be told. It doesn’t provide nearly the content that its competitors do. Once it gives you exclusive access to content from Cuarón, Spielberg, and A24?
…Maybe, but not for certain. Check out the free trial and see for yourself.