Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Apple TV+

Mitchel Broussard:

Apple says that Apple TV+ will be the home for “the world’s most creative storytellers,” and it will feature original TV shows, movies, and documentaries. As we’ve learned over the past few months, original content partners include Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, and more.


Apple says that the service will launch in fall 2019, and that pricing for the subscription service will be announced at that time.

Mitchel Broussard:

Apple today revealed an all-new and redesigned Apple TV app and a new “Apple TV Channels” feature. The new app is an updated version of the existing TV app, which brings together shows, movies, sports, news, and more in one hub, available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and later this year on Mac and smart TVs.


Users will be able to subscribe to Apple TV channels à la carte within the TV app and then watch them there, without having to jump between apps, sign into a new account, or enter another password.

Benjamin Mayo:

Following the event today, Apple has not released any new hardware but it has rebranded the 2015 fourth-generation Apple TV as the Apple TV HD. The set-top box, formerly known as simply ‘Apple TV’, now has a better name that it distinguishes it from the newer Apple TV 4K.

With the introduction of the Apple TV+ original content offering, Apple now has four products that start with the name ‘Apple TV’. Apple TV app, Apple TV+, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

Damien Petrilli:

So AppleTVs are still overpriced and no cheap AppleTV stick. They could have least lower the price of the +2y old AppleTVs.

Josh Centers:

I don’t want to be overly cynical today, but of all the things I want from Apple, a video streaming service is dead last on the list.

Ryan Jones:

Woah Woah you can’t do that, must show price in the button and 5,000 fine print words about recurring costs!

John Gruber:

The whole TV Plus segment felt like a presentation from another company, like Google or Amazon, not Apple. Apple does a good job keeping events moving along, and they tend not to parade a long series of people on stage. This was a parade of a bunch of A-list celebrities — Spielberg! Oprah! — but it just went on and on. It should have been as tight as the Apple Arcade segment. It feels like Apple was starstruck. And why weren’t there trailers for these TV shows? Why don’t we know what this is going to cost yet? We started the day with a lot of unanswered questions about Apple’s original content strategy and we’re ending the day with most of those questions still unanswered.

Ruffin Bailey:

Say it with me Apple: “It’s ready when it’s ready.” These aspirational presentations are really getting on my nerves. Wait until it’s ready.

Dan Masters:

Apple TV Channels makes sense, and is what the TV App should’ve been from the start, like I wrote 2 years ago.

But nobody – not Apple pundits, nor Apple critics – has managed to explain why Apple is distracting themselves with original content.

Oluseyi Sonaiya:

Continuing with our theme of, “God, the Tech Press is Bad,” this evening:

TV+ is an indication of how weak Apple’s leverage over TV and film companies is. When I saw them talking about channels, it was a wrap. Netflix unbundled shows from channels; Apple capitulates to them.

It’s interesting to note that the TV app is coming to smart tv sets from Samsung, Sony, LG and Vizio… but not the web, and therefore not Windows (AFAIK). It’s like Apple is trying to eat its walled garden cake and have its universally available cake, too.

Ken Kocienda:

I’m ambivalent about the Apple announcements today. Maybe some of these new services will be nice. I’m just disappointed because I want Apple to make wonderful new technology appear, not arrange to make Spielberg and Oprah appear.

I can see moguls, movie stars, and talk show hosts elsewhere. I don’t see what Apple see as its unique value in offering celebrities to us.

At its best, Apple makes things possible that weren’t possible before. Not sure that any of today’s annoucements even aimed for that goal.

Farhad Manjoo:

Why is Apple making TV shows? I watched today’s presentation and still don’t understand.

I don’t mean the business reason. I mean the product reason.

Apple is the company that makes computing better/easier by integrating hardware and software. How’s that apply to TV shows?

Dan Masters:

“When Apple looks at what categories to enter, we ask these kinds of questions: What are the primary technologies behind this? What do we bring? Can we make a significant contribution to society with this?” — @tim_cook

Bob Burrough:

It’s wild. Disney wanted a streaming service and Apple wanted exclusive movies/shows, yet they couldn’t come together on it.


Update (2019-03-27): Mike Murphy:

did.. they completely forget about four years ago ?

Update (2019-03-28): Joe Rosensteel:

Hilariously, this decision has actually hurt them in a few ways because they’ve been trying to course-correct for a couple years and get third parties to integrate with a TV app to discover, browse, and launch content. To replace the app-centric experience that originally shipped. They can’t do that though because there are some big holdouts, and even the companies that did participate participated to varying degrees. Now that there’s a new program for mixed support, Apple Channels, the permutations increase again. Apple Channels are just like Amazon Channels, where content the end-user sees is piped through Apple’s service and appears as if it was something the user had through Apple. They’re not kicked out to CBS All Access’ dreadful app, or anything else. No, this doesn’t mean that Amazon Channels you’ve subscribed to will show up as if they were Apple Channels, you’ll still see those in Amazon’s Prime Video app. In fact, depending on how thorough Apple is, you might see sales pitches for Amazon Channels you subscribe to littered in your TV app as possible Apple Channels you should get a free trial for. Rates for this are unannounced but I would be surprised it if was priced differently from Amazon Channels. Amazon Channels is a huge source of revenue for Amazon too, so this makes sense if you’re hungry for sweet, sweet revenue growth.

The jury is out on the specifics because if the app presents it like it was an iTunes purchase, and you have to use the navigation and browsing features available to you from that, you might not see much of an improvement in your experience, general wellbeing, or temper.


The big omission continues to be the Netflix juggernaut. Netflix has no interest in being a pool of content for Apple, they want to be the place where people go so Netflix can control the experience and to shape what Netflix as a brand is worth to a consumer.

Update (2019-04-09): Benjamin Mayo:

The latest iOS and tvOS betas include the new TV app and demonstrate exactly this. Scroll around and you quickly run into banners for Showtime with one-click buttons to sign up and subscribe. It is contradictory to me that Apple designed the TV app in this way, a pseudo-advertising platform, at a time when many people are switching to streaming services because they want to get away from ads and commercial breaks. This factor alone will limit the enjoyment of the Apple TV+ service and impair its adoption.

I believe Apple TV+ will foster talent and debut many incredible shows, but I don’t like the idea of navigating past buy buttons when I just want to watch TV. As it stands, Apple will not provide that experience. I would like to be able to tell the TV app to only show me stuff I am subscribed to, but I am not convinced that Apple will ever include an option like that as it would hurt the sales of Apple TV Channels.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

The Guardian, usually fairly obsequious in regard to Apple's endeavours, were also fairly damning:


From a personal standpoint, I'm completely against ecosystem plays like this. It's bad for the consumer & bad for society. Why would all of Apple's media announcements not turn into a Californian, neo-liberal, Fox Network?

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