Amidst all of the exciting hardware announcements at yesterday’s big Apple event, the company also provided a launch date and pricing for its new Apple TV+ service, plus a highlight of what will be coming when it launches.
Contrary to earlier rumors that had suggested that pricing would be in line with Apple Music and Apple News+ at $9.99/month, Apple surprised everybody by revealing that it will not only be launching at $4.99/month, but that this will be the price for the whole family.
While the lower pricing was a pleasant surprise, it should have been somewhat expected. Firstly, although Apple is paying billions to produce its own original content, it also owns the rights to all of it, which means it doesn’t have to negotiate with record labels or cut deals with news publishers, and it doesn’t have to worry about sharing a part of the revenue with them.
Apple will naturally be offering a free trial for Apple TV+ as well, although this will be limited to only seven days — presumably enough to whet users’ appetites for its original content while not giving away enough time to let users watch an entire series.
On the other hand, Apple will basically be providing a one-year free trial for anybody who purchases any new mainstream Apple devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV. For anybody who was planning to subscribe to Apple TV+ anyway, this basically works out to a $60 discount on the price of a new device, and somewhat lines up with early rumors that the service would be free for users of Apple devices.
What’s Coming in November
As of yesterday, all of the content that Apple is expecting to launch on November 1 is already showing up in its TV app on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. This not only gives users a taste of what’s coming, but also lets them add the shows right to their Up Next queue, so that they’ll be ready to go when Apple TV+ arrives in November. It seems likely that this will also provide some metrics to help Apple gauge interest in the new shows.
You can already find most of the new shows in Apple’s TV app. The first eight shows are slated to be coming on November 1st when the new streaming service launches:
- See: The new Jason Momoa-led fantasy series is shaping up to be one of Apple’s flagships, with the first trailer shown at yesterday’s Apple event. Momoa will star alongside Alfre Woodard as the father of twins born with the ability to see in a world where everybody else is blind.
- The Morning Show: Apple’s other high-profile drama is one of the earliest shows we heard about, in production for over two years and starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston in her first appearance on the small screen since Friends came to a close 15 years ago. Apple has already released a teaser trailer and a full trailer for this series, which will take a serious and candid look at the modern workplace.
- Dickinson: This appears to be the only comedy series that Apple will have ready out of the gate, which will star Hailee Steinfeld as famous yet troubled poet Emily Dickinson. It’s also one of the few series’ for which Apple has already released a teaser trailer.
- For All Mankind: Apple released a trailer for this one back in July for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and it looks like it will be an exciting and engaging drama that will reimagine how the space race would have unfolded if the Russians had made it to the moon first.
- Snoopy in Space: We’ve been hearing about this new kids’ show for a few months now, after Apple released a teaser back in May to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 mission. The series will follow Snoopy and the iconic Peanuts gang as the famous beagle fulfills his dream joining NASA and taking command of the International Space Station.
- Helpsters. Apple’s first children’s show from its partnership with the Sesame Street workshop follows a group of muppets who plan and overcome all sorts of everyday challenges.
- Ghostwriter: Another show for kids and family audiences that follows a team of youngsters as they try to solve the mystery of a ghost that’s haunting a neighbourhood bookstore.
- The Elephant Queen: A new TIFF and Sundance acclaimed documentary that follows a woman leading her elephant herd across the unforgiving African landscape.
Apple is also teasing three other shows in the TV app that are simply listed as “Coming Soon” which suggests that they’re almost ready, but it’s unclear on what date they’ll actually arrive.
- Truth Be Told: This new drama will star Octavia Spencer as Poppy Parnell, a podcaster who covers true crime stories and fights to reopen a high-profile murder case that may have wrongfully put a man behind bars.
- Hala: A drama that will tell the story of a 17-year-old girl who struggles to find a balance between being a modern suburban teenager and adhering to her traditional Muslim upbringing.
- Servant: The new M. Night Shyamalan drama follows a Philadelphia couple who are in mourning after a major tragedy befalls them and opens the path to a mysterious force entering their lives.
Apple’s press release also lists two more titles that haven’t yet appeared in the TV app: Little America which tells the stories of immigrant families coming to the U.S., and The Banker, Apple’s first feature film that will star Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson as two American entrepreneurs struggling against discrimination in the 1950s.
It seems likely that Apple will also begin teasing even more content in the TV app in the coming weeks, allowing users to basically “bookmark” new shows so that they’re ready to watch when they finally go live.
How to Watch Apple TV+
Apple has been making every effort possible to get its TV app on as many devices as possible — not just its own hardware, going back even to the third-generation Apple TV — but also major smart TV brands and even Roku set-top boxes. While it won’t be available on all third-party devices at launch, Apple and its partners have committed to the feature arriving on at least some 2018 and 2019 Samsung smart TVs, along with Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony, and Vizio platforms at some point in the future, although users can of course AirPlay Apple TV+ from their iPhone or iPad, provided they’re running at least iOS 12.3.
Apple has also announced that it will be opening the Apple TV+ viewing experience to any modern web browser via a new web app at tv.apple.com, which is expected to go live when the Apple TV+ service launches in November. The web portal will not only allow users to watch content, but even sign up to the service, meaning that new subscribers can jump in without owning even a single Apple device.
According to the announcement, most of the new shows will follow a traditional weekly release cycle, debuting with three episodes, followed by one new episode each week. Considering the relative dearth of content that will be available at launch, this will presumably help Apple maintain subscribers. Apple does add that some shows will have their whole seasons available at launch, although it doesn’t say which ones.
The service is also expected to launch in over 100 countries, and as a result, Apple plans to make its shows fully accessible right out of the gate. Each show has been subtitled and/or dubbed in almost 40 different languages, along with Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH), plus audio descriptions in eight different languages.