The much-awaited Apple TV streaming service has finally been unveiled, and it is actually a two-part package joined together. Whether this makes Netflix quake in their boots, we don’t know just yet. However, there might be value for those who would want the new Apple TV app to be the single hub for their online video streaming subscriptions, subscribe to channels, rent or stream movies and TV shows and also hooks up with your cable TV subscription (US only, at the moment). The second part of the new Apple TV experience is Apple TV+, which is all about original movies and shows that will be exclusive for Apple, at least in the foreseeable future.
The Apple TV app update now adds what Apple calls TV Channels—these are basically certain streaming services that you can add as you would perhaps add a channel to your cable TV subscription—at the moment, the channels include Showtime, Epic, Starz, MTV, CBS and Smithsonian Channel. You can subscribe to these from within the TV app, and any available trial offers will also be active. Then there is the content from streaming services such as Amazon Video, Hulu, NBC, ABC and ESPN+, to name a few. The Apple TV app will also be able to handle your cable TV subscriptions—this service will be limited to the US for the moment, and supports DirectTV Now, Spectrum and Playstation Vue.
The app has been redesigned as well, and now will have tabs including Movies, TV Shows, Sports and Kids, for better content segregation and discovery.
What will continue as is, is the ability to rent, buy and stream iTunes content from within the app, in addition to all the content from different streaming services. Apple will continue to curate content for individual preferences, with advanced machine learning—this will rely on your viewing history as well as the services you may have subscribed to.
We have to address the elephant in the room—there is no Netflix on the updated TV offering at the moment, which could pit Apple TV against Netflix, at least in the markets where both will be vying for your attention.
Apple is smartly making the new TV app available to as many users as possible. Apart from being available on the iPhone and iPad, Apple will be rolling out the TV app for macOS computing devices as well. And it is perhaps the first time when an Apple app is becoming available on so many platforms. Apple has confirmed that the Apple TV app will be rolled out for smart TVs made by Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio, as well as streaming devices including the Amazon Fire TV and Roku. The idea is to make it available to as many potential subscribers as possible, and chances of those conversions into regular paying users increases even more if the Apple TV content is available on a television directly.
But Apple is not done with just a TV app update. The Cupertino based company has invested heavily in creating original content over the past year. The service is called Apple TV+ and this will be all about original content. It comes as no surprise when Apple CEO Tim Cook says this is "the greatest collection of accomplished, creative visionaries who have ever come into one place" to help create original content for Apple TV+. Some of the big names include Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa and Kumail Nanjiani. Apple says this content will be rolling out in the Fall of 2019, and will be accessible via the TV app.
Spielberg will have a series called Amazing Stories, while Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell will bring us a behind-the-scenes look at morning talk shows in the show called, well, The Morning Show. Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard will have a series called See. Kumail Nanjiani will be part of a series called Little America, which looks at the stories of immigrant in the US.
Apple says that the new TV app and the new content will be available in 100 countries this Fall, but it isn't clear if this will be rolled out in India, and if yes, how much it will cost. It is also debatable whether all content would be made available in India, considering a lot of streaming services have geographical rights limitations, and services such as Showtime and Hulu for instance, aren't available in India at the moment.