If Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Kayo and Foxtel don’t quite have your streaming content needs covered, you’ll soon have a new on-demand entertainment option: Apple’s TV+.
Announced at the company’s ‘Show Time’ press event in Cupertino, California, Apple TV+ is the tech giant’s first foray into original video content. The service will feature all-new and original programming, including drama, movies, documentaries, and comedy.
In a seriously star-studded launch – closed by none other than Oprah Winfrey (!) – Apple gave the event attendees an overview of the Apple TV+ lineup, with special appearances from A-listers including Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Big Bird.
What can I watch on Apple TV+?
Apple has reportedly invested over one billion dollars into content for the streaming service, and has now confirmed partnerships with several award-winning and high-grossing filmmakers. In addition to offering a new series from Spielberg, Apple will present content from directors including M. Night Shyamalan, J.J. Abrams, Ron Howard, Sofia Coppola, and Damien Chazelle.
A quick rundown of several headlining shows confirmed by Apple is below.
Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series – which, incidentally, gave this reporter several years of nightmares in early childhood – will undergo a 2019 reboot, with Spielberg again serving as executive producer.
The Morning Show
Produced by (and starring) America’s sweethearts Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and featuring Steve Carrell, this drama-comedy satirises the cut-throat world of breakfast TV.
Sesame Street spin-off
A modern twist on Sesame Street’s ABCs and 1-2-3s, Apple’s spin-off – reportedly called Helpsters – will instead teach coding basics to youngsters, and introduces a new tech-savvy Muppet named Cody.
A post-apocalyptic, sci-fi drama set in a fictional world where everyone is blind, starring the incredibly handsome Jason Momoa (aka Aquaman).
Untitled M. Night Shyamalan series
No details yet on this thriller from the man behind The Sixth Sense, but expect plot twists.
Oprah’s book club and documentaries
In addition to producing two feature-length documentaries for Apple TV+, Oprah Winfrey has also announced plans to bring her iconic book club to the streaming service.
Other programs to look out for will include Little America (an anthology series about immigrants), Are You Sleeping (a new mystery starring Octavia Spencer), Central Park (an animated comedy from the team behind Bob’s Burgers), and a new series from the creators of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
So far, Apple TV+ appears to be focused on presenting original programming, rather than licensing existing content – although this may change by the time the service is actually available.
How much does Apple TV+ cost?
Aside from Apple TV+’s big-name partners and programs, we don’t yet know much about how the service will operate. Apple CEO Time Cook has confirmed that Apple TV+ will be ad-free and subscription-based, and provide on-demand content online and offline in more than 100 countries. However, pricing and plan details have yet to be released.
Rumours have suggested that the service may actually be free, but available only through Apple’s iOS devices (such as Apple TV, the iPhone, iPads, or Macs). And we do know that Apple TV+ will be included in the new update to the Apple TV app, along with new Apple TV partner channels, including HBO, Showtime, CBS All Access, and Starz.
The revamped Apple TV app is confirmed to go live in May, with Apple TV+ streaming expected to be made available later in the year. But without concrete plan or price details, it’s hard to predict whether Apple TV+ will appeal to Australian audiences.
The star power of contributors including Oprah and Steven Spielberg may generate interest, but Apple’s focus on original content (rather than offering Hollywood blockbusters) could mean the service attracts more of a niche audience than competitors such as Netflix.