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Apple TV+ Review 2019

Price
$4.99/mo.

(N/A /5)

Pros

  • It’s Apple!
  • Impressive original content

Cons

  • It’s Apple. . .
  • Lack of further info

Update: In September, Apple announced that Apple TV+ will launch on Friday, Nov. 1 at $4.99 a month. Also, you’ll be able to get a year of Apple TV+ for free with the purchase of a new iPhone, MacBook, iPad, or Apple TV. As you’ll read in the rest of our preview, we expected it to be way more expensive—Apple TV+ is rolling out some seriously ambitious content.

The bottom line: Apple TV+ is still (mostly) a mystery

In March 2019, Apple unveiled its streaming TV plans with a low-key pretentious black-and-white trailer featuring A-list Hollywood directors pontificating about storytelling. But, while it looked expensive and on-brand, it didn’t tell us much about Apple TV+.

Apple also released a list of equally star-studded original shows from the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey, as well as the tagline “It’s Show Time” (but not SHOWTIME—that’s a different service).

We know when it drops, how much it’ll cost, and some of the planned shows. But, does it come with a black turtleneck?

Apple TV+ promotions and deals

Buy some new gear and save $60: With the purchase of a new iPhone, MacBook, iPad, or Apple TV, you’ll get one free year of Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ plans

PriceLive channelsCloud DVRStreams
Apple TV+$4.99/mo.N/AN/AN/A
Apple TV+
Price$4.99/mo.
Live channelsN/A
Cloud DVRN/A
StreamsN/A

Data effective as of 09/10/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Beyond a grand, well-produced vision, public details are still scarce about Apple TV+. People speculate that it will operate similarly to on-demand streaming TV services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, with one major difference: Apple will produce and own all of the programming.

Proprietary content that you can get only through Apple? It doesn’t get any more on-brand than that.

Apple TV+ channels and shows

On-demand shows and movies

Right about here is where we usually tell you about a streaming service’s non-native programming, like acquired TV shows and movies produced by outside sources. Netflix has The Office and Friends (for now), Hulu streams Rick & Morty and Grey’s Anatomy, and Amazon Prime Video carries American Horror Story and The Americans—all created elsewhere.

But initially, at least, Apple TV+ won’t play like that. It will rely entirely on in-house original productions (more on those coming up). Meaning, Apple TV+ won’t be your go-to for your favorite movies and TV shows; you’d have to buy those through the app formerly known as iTunes (RIP).

The considerable amount of money Apple has saved on licensing fees for outside content has been poured into its own productions, obviously—but it’s a big gamble. If Apple TV+’s original shows flop with its subscribers, we’d expect The Big Bang Theory and Marvel movies to show up on the service, like, overnight. Stay tuned.

Original shows and movies

Apple TV+ is attempting to do what no other streaming service has done before: launch with all-original, never-before-seen programming. Apple TV+ has invested big bucks in nuclear-grade star power to make it happen—you don’t lure Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell back to TV with free EarPods.

Here are six of Apple TV+’s confirmed original series:

The Morning Show: The most buzzed-about Apple TV+ original features TV-stars-turned-expensive-film-actors Aniston and Carrell, as well as eternal movie star Reese Witherspoon, in a workplace drama about a TV morning news show. Think HBO’s heady The Newsroom but, you know, earlier in the day. A second season of The Morning Show has already been ordered.

Amazing Stories: In the ‘80s, Steven Spielberg produced a sci-fi/fantasy anthology series along the lines of The Twilight Zone, but with a more positive bent. Now, his Amazing Stories is back to soothe your Black Mirror–abused psyche with a series of stand-alone episodes Spielberg says will add up to a “single thematic experience.”

For All Mankind: Creator/writer Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) presents an alternate history wherein the international space race never ended. For All Mankind is bound to raise eyebrows with this space-lore revision: the Soviet Union made it to the moon before the USA. (Please direct your moon-landing conspiracies to another forum.)

Little Voice: Created by megaproducer J.J. Abrams and singer-songwriter Sarah Bareilles, Little Voice follows the burgeoning career of a young New York City musician “learning to find herself and her voice.” We’re guessing it’s a semi-autobiographical story for one of the producers, and we’re also guessing it’s not Abrams. Bareilles will, of course, write the music for the series.

See: Ready for yet another post-apocalyptic thriller? No? How about one starring Jason “Aquaman” Momoa? Now you’re interested. See takes place in a future where an international virus has wiped out all but a handful of the earth’s population and those who survived are now blind. If it sounds vaguely similar to Netflix’s Bird Box, it’s only because you’re paying attention.

Oprah Winfrey projects: Apple signed Oprah Winfrey to a multiyear deal to create whatever Oprah Winfrey wants for Apple TV+—because brand recognizes brand. Confirmed Winfrey projects include documentaries about mental health issues and workplace harassment, and a new take on her Book Club that will livestream author events from Apple Stores.

Live sports

Apple TV+ isn’t expected to get into the livestreaming sports game, though it would be a smart move if it has any money left over from all of those original TV projects (it’s Apple; assume the money is there). You’ll have to get your sports from another streamer, like fuboTV or ESPN+.

Local channels

Even less likely to be found on Apple TV+ are local channels—again, it’s an on-demand model, not a livestreaming platform. If you want local channels, try Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV.

Channel add-ons

You’re going to see this a lot scrolling down the rest of this page: We don’t know right now.

But Apple has announced Apple TV Channels, a subscription aggregator that will resemble Amazon Channels and operate separately from Apple TV+.

Through that, you can assemble your subscriptions to services like HBO NOW, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video (but, conspicuously, not Netflix) through the Apple TV app—which is not Apple TV+. Confused? We feel you.

Combine Apple TV+ with another streaming service

If Apple TV+ doesn’t give you everything you want, try pairing it with another streaming service to fill in the blanks—you’ll probably still save money compared to a cable or satellite subscription.

fuboTVSling TVNetflix
$54.99–74.99/mo.$25–$40/mo.$8.99–$15.99/mo.
Soccer, niche sports, and livestreaming TV channels Apple TV+ doesn’t have.Livestreaming entertainment, lifestyle, and sports TV channels on a budget.Netflix originals plus thousands of popular on-demand TV shows and movies.
fuboTV$54.99–74.99/mo.
Sling TV$25–$40/mo.
Netflix$8.99–$15.99/mo.
fuboTVSoccer, niche sports, and livestreaming TV channels Apple TV+ doesn’t have.
Sling TVLivestreaming entertainment, lifestyle, and sports TV channels on a budget.
NetflixNetflix originals plus thousands of popular on-demand TV shows and movies.
fuboTV
Sling TV
Netflix

Apple TV+ specs and features

Cloud DVR

Since Apple TV+ will be an on-demand service, there should be no need for a cloud DVR. But, again, we don’t have that info yet.

Multiple streams

How many devices will be allowed to stream Apple TV+ simultaneously? Three is the average for most streaming services—but Apple doesn’t do average. We’ll have to wait and see.

Compatible streaming devices

Apple TV+ will, naturally, be compatible with Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV set-top boxes. As for compatibility with Android and Windows-based devices, we’re still waiting to see.

You’ll be able to watch Apple TV+ through the Apple TV app, which will reportedly be available on these devices sometime in the near future:

  • Apple TV 4K
  • Apple TV HD
  • iPhone, iPad, Mac laptops
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Samsung smart TVs
  • LG smart TVs
  • Sony smart TVs
  • VIZIO smart TVs

Video and audio quality

Obviously, we haven’t seen or heard Apple TV+ yet. We can only assume it will match the video and audio specs of the Apple TV 4K, which we have reviewed—check it out.

Our final take: Apple TV+, in theory, will be as unique as Apple itself

Until it debuts in November, we can only speculate on the awesomeness (or meh-ness) of Apple TV+. The initial lineup of original programming looks impressive but limited compared to the sheer volume of content Netflix cranks out annually. Quality talks, but numbers are louder.

We’re as curious as you are about Apple TV+, and we’ll be updating this page frequently. As soon as we know anything, you’ll know too.

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