Apple’s March 25 event featured the tagline “It’s Show Time” and served as the official unveiling of the company’s slate of television and movie programming for its new Apple TV streaming service, dubbed Apple TV+.
The service will be an ad-free subscription service featuring on-demand online and offline content. It will be available in more than 100 countries, and will launch this fall. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
Cost and availability
This is Apple, of course, so many details regarding the service and remain under wraps. Apple hasn’t revealed any details yet about how it plans to price Apple TV+, but pundits predict it will enter the market as a low-cost alternative to Netflix — in much the same way Disney+ is expected to undercut standard Netflix subscription prices.
Little is known about how widespread the availability of Apple TV+ will be at launch, too. Although it’s reasonable to expect the service will be available on most current and future iOS and MacOS devices, it’s unknown whether it will also be an option on Roku, Fire TV, or Android devices, or any specific models of smart TVs.
Beating Netflix at its own game
In addition to all of the projects listed below, Apple TV+ is going after Netflix in a big way. The tech giant is planning to make six small-budget, award-worthy films every year, with an eye on generating buzz for the service and nabbing some Academy Award nominations along the way.
According to the New York Post, the original films on Apple TV+ will cost between $5 and $30 million each and will be helmed by “elevated” Hollywood talent. The move towards original content was inspired by Netflix’s Roma, a 2019 Best Picture contender that won Best Foreign Film. Focus Features, the studio behind BlacKkKlansman, Lady Bird, and Dallas Buyer’s Club, is also a big inspiration.
As the Post notes, Apple doesn’t have the kind of content backlog that Disney is leveraging to launch Disney Plus with a bang, or the same Hollywood connections as Netflix or Hulu. In addition to getting Apple TV Plus some attention during awards season, producing a slate of new films will be a good way to generate material for the streaming service. Licensing (or outright buying) an established studio’s library is also an option.
Audio and video
Apple hasn’t confirmed any of the video or audio formats that Apple TV+ will stream in, but given that soon-to-be-defunct iTunes offers 4K Ultra HD video, it reasonable to expect that this will be an option for at least some of the Apple TV+ content.
The shows officially confirmed for Apple TV+ feature some high-profile actors and filmmakers both behind the camera and in front of it.
Those shows include the alternate-history drama For All Mankind (see trailer above), created by Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore, which explores what would have happened if the international space race never ended.
Steven Spielberg will produce a new version of the sci-fi anthology series Amazing Stories for Apple, while Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell will team up for The Morning Show, a series that explores the behind-the-scenes drama of a morning news show. Apple has already ordered two seasons of the latter project, which brings Steve Carell back to television.
Also among the projects announced so far is the musical drama Little Voice produced by J.J. Abrams and musician Sara Bareilles, the anthology series Little America from the Oscar-winning duo behind The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.
Apple is also reportedly investing heavily in the post-apocalyptic drama See, which stars Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard and is set in a world where what remains of humanity has been rendered blind due to a terrifying virus.
Additional content destined for Apple TV+ includes a wide-reaching, multi-project arrangement with Oprah Winfrey, the all-ages series Helpsters developed by the Sesame Workshop, Octavia Spencer’s Are You Sleeping? mystery series, a comedy series based on the life of poet Emily Dickinson, a new thriller from Sixth Sense writer and director M. Night Shyamalan, and a series from Taika Waititi based on the 1981 film Time Bandits.
More on the way
The long lead-up to Apple’s official announcement of Apple TV+ left time for plenty of projects to be rumored for the service.
Among the most intriguing of those unofficial projects is an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s celebrated sci-fi saga Foundation , an untitled comedy series from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia duo Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, and a scripted series titled Swagger based on the life of NBA star Kevin Durant.
Other big projects rumored for Apple TV+ is the animated series Central Park from Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, and On the Rocks, an original feature film that might reunite Oscar-winning Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola with star Bill Murray.