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Apple TV+ free trial to be slashed from a year to 3 months

Anyone buying an Apple device since the launch of AppleTV+ in 2019 has been offered free access to the streaming service for a whole year, but starting July 1, Apple will reduce this period to just three months.

For sure, a three-month trial for nothing is still a nice little freebie to go with your new iPhone, Apple Watch, or whatever, but it’s of course nowhere near as generous as before.

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The tech giant recently quietly updated the terms of the offer, with media outlet Vulture spotting the change.

Apple’s website still says you can get “one year free when you buy an eligible Apple device,” but it now says that the purchase needs to be made before June 30. In the fine print, it’s also added: “Eligible devices activated July 1, 2021, or later will qualify for offers of three months free Apple TV+”

The move shows a certain amount of confidence on Apple’s part — confidence that its streaming service is now ready for prime time. And confidence that most of the people who’ve been enjoying free Apple TV+ won’t cancel the contract at the end of their yearlong trial — or, moving forward, their three-month trial. Once the freebie ends, subscribers will have to pay $5 a month for access to Apple TV+.

Of course, many folks these days fork out for multiple streaming subscriptions, so Apple is hoping its own offering is now strong enough to compete with the huge number of other streaming services out there, among them Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

The Cupertino, California-based company has been steadily expanding its modest library of streaming content, and has started to build a following through hit shows, from the quirky and bone-chilling Calls to Ted Lasso, an award-winning comedy with a second season just weeks away from launch.

Apple doesn’t release subscriber numbers for Apple TV+, though research company Statista estimated it had around 40 million at the end of 2020, a good number of them watching via the free trial. For comparison, Netflix, which of course has been in the video streaming business a lot longer, currently has more than 200 million paying subscribers globally.

If you’re not planning to buy a new Apple device but still want to take Apple TV+ for a spin, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial of the service. Alternatively, anyone can sign up for a free monthlong trial of Apple One that offers different bundles of Apple services, all of which include Apple TV+.

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