Apple TV Plus
Apple is now making or commissioning high-budget, high-profile films and television to stream on its Apple TV+ service. As yet, the service doesn't have a very big library, but it aims to leverage use Apple's famous simplicity to make finding and watching shows better than ever.
● Original films and TV made for Apple TV+
● Low monthly subscription of $4.99
● Free week's trial for all users
● Free year for buyers of new Apple devices
● Fewer original shows than Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+
● No library of existing shows or films
● Students get Apple TV+ with Apple Music Student Plan
Apple TV+ is a streaming service of original television and film produced in conjunction with Apple or directly by the company itself. The service can be found on many platforms inside of the Apple TV app. From the app, users can also access other content from iTunes, external streaming apps like Hulu, and from Channels including HBO.
This video streaming service is Apple's biggest step into media since the introduction of Apple Music in 2015. Through this one service, you can watch original films and television commissioned or purchased by Apple. You will not find classic series runs like "The Simpsons" or "Seinfeld" here, only original content licensed directly by Apple, at least for now.
Apple TV+ is unfortunately named, considering it is accessed via the Apple TV app and does not need an Apple TV box to work.
Following the launch of macOS Catalina, there is an Apple TV app on Mac too. You can use the existing but recently updated Apple TV app on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad as well.
The aim is to have this service be wherever you are and on whatever Apple device you use. However, Apple also wants this service to have as wide a reach as it can, so alongside its own hardware, you can watch it via smart TVs such as certain Samsung models. Or you can get the whole service, plus access to your previously bought videos, via an Amazon Fire Stick or even Roku box.
If you are on any other device, including those running Android, you can always visit the AppleTV+ website.
Apple TV+ content
Apple TV+ is constantly adding new shows, and the current slate consists of the following:
Oprah Talks COVID-19
Oprah interviews doctors and famous individuals during the coronavirus outbreak about what to do and how to stay safe and sane during a lockdown. The show is on Apple TV+ but does not require a subscription to watch.
Drama series. "See" is Apple's stab at a high fantasy or sci-fi epic, meant to reverberate faint echoes of "Game of Thrones." Sadly, the table-setting for the show's future is akin to that of a slog, bruised by a concept that lacks the compulsion to seduce viewers out of the gate.
The Morning Show
Drama series. Apple's "The Morning Show" packs all the power, pageantry and prestige you'd expect from a series anchoring the launch of the company's new Apple TV+ streaming service, but its initial episodes falter.
For All Mankind
Drama series. "For All Mankind" is Apple's 1970's alt-history space program drama and based on our viewing of the entire launch catalog of programming, it is the best new series to be included with the Apple TV+ launch.
Comedy-drama series. "Dickinson" is a A period piece injected with present-day attitudes, this stand-out series depicts the life of the titular poet if with modern musical scores and young-adult drama.
The Elephant Queen
Documentary movie. "The Elephant Queen," the first movie of the Apple TV+ era, is a gorgeous, eye-opening nature documentary that begs to be watched on the largest screen possible.
Film. "Hala" is a coming-of-age tale for a Pakistani American teenager struggling to cope with the conflicting demands of her family and her own desires –– plus a newfound secret that threatens them all.
Oprah's Book Club
Oprah Winfrey brings her famous book club to Apple TV+. She'll be discussing new titles and interviewing authors across a wide range of topics.
Drama series. The M. Night Shyamalan-produced series "Servant" is the most addictive of Apple TV+'s new shows, and is the kind of creative curveball a new streaming service needs to offer.
Truth Be Told
Drama series. The true-crime podcast phenomenon "Truth Be Told" gets the fictionalized streaming treatment with excellent performances from a deep cast as well as a compelling murder mystery.
Children's. "Helpsters" is a funny and happy series where Sesame Street-style monsters set out to help people with their problems, ranging from how to climb a mountain, to mastering magic tricks.
Snoopy in Space
Children's. "Snoopy in Space" has Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the whole Peanuts gang help out NASA as they learn about traveling to the moon.
Children's. "Ghostwriter" is a reboot of the 1990s PBS series that sees present-day kids embroiled in mysteries that are causing fictional characters to escape into the real world.
Drama. "Little America" is an anthology series that follows different stories of immigration from Epic Magazine. Highly reviewed and seen as one of the best shows yet on Apple TV+.
Comedy. "Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet" is centered around a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. Written by Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" fame, and produced by Ubisoft and Lions Gate.
Visible: Out on Television
Docuseries. "Visible: Out on Television" is a look at the importance of TV as an intimate medium that has shaped the American conscience, and how the LGBTQ movement has shaped TV. Combines archival footage with interviews with important people from the movement and industry.
Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" is an anthology series reviving the one with the same name from the 1980s. Each episode represents a different story with different characters as they deal with a supernatural or extraordinary phenomenon.
Drama. "The Banker" is a movie following Bernard Garrett Sr. and Joe Morris, portrayed by Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, who lead a real estate business by hiring a white man to act as the "face" of the business. The film has seen some controversy prior to release due to the actions of one of the characters' sons.
Home Before Dark
Mystery. "Home Before Dark" is inspired by the reporting of young investigative journalist Hilde Lysiak, and follows a young girl who moves from Brooklyn to a small lakeside town. Hilde, portrayed by child actor Brooklynn Prince, will pursue a cold case that everyone, including her father, tried to bury.
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth
Children's film. "Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth" is adapted from the best-selling children's book by Oliver Jeffers, and created by animation firm, Studio AKA. A short film celebrating Earth day as a seven-year old boy discovers the wonders of the planet.
Documentary. The series offers a look inside of the world's most innovative homes. The inspiring stories of these wild homes and the people who built them.
Fraggle Rock: Rock On!
The return of a classic kids show during a pandemic. "Fraggle Rock" sets out to teach kids how to practice social distancing and have fun during the coronavirus lockdown.
Drama. "Defending Jacob" is a limited-run series based on a bestselling novel of the same name. The series follows the events after a shocking crime deeply affects a Massachusetts family. Chris Evans stars and executive produces in this Anonymous Content production.
Beastie Boys Story
Documentary. Spike Jonze has made a documentary about the Beastie Boys based on the bestselling "Beastie Boys Book."
Apple's first foray into British television. "Trying" features Jason and Nikki, played by Rafe Spall and Esther Smith, on their journey to try to become parents.
Animated musical comedy. Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith of "Bob’s Burgers" are writing and producing "Central Park" alongside Josh Gad of "Frozen" fame. The show depicts a family, the Tillermans, in their struggle to keep Central Park, their home, safe from a hotel heiress. This animated musical is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
May 29, 2020
Documentary. "Dads" is a heartwarming look at some of the worlds most extrodanary dads, directed by Ron Howard. Featuring rare footage, and intimate interviews with actors like Will Smith, Neil Patrick Harris, and Patton Oswalt.
June 5, 2020
Documentary/biography. "Dear..." takes inspiration from the "Dear Apple" campaign in which people would write letters about their experiences. This show takes a cinematic look at different influential people's lives from the point of view of a letter written to them by someone whose life they have changed.
June 19, 2020
Drama. A tale of finding your musical voice, directed by JJ Abrams.
July 10, 2020
The Apple TV app
Wherever you watch, you are met with the Apple TV app, which ultimately intends to become the sole place you go to in order to watch television or films, whether they're from Apple or not.
Most other streaming services are included in the Apple TV app, with the notable exception of Netflix. External services include dozens of cable provided channels that need a cable service sign-in to work, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and several other third party providers. When dealing with content from external services, it is listed in the Apple TV app and shown in the Up Next section, but opens in the parent app outside of the Apple TV app.
All content purchased via iTunes is listed within the TV app as well.
Apple TV Channels provide you with the ability to subscribe to content providers from directly within the app, and share this subscription across a family sharing plan. HBO, Starz, and multiple other services are available this way, and greatly simplify the way you subscribe and manage these accounts. Content from Channels can be downloaded for offline viewing.
Apple TV+ Pricing
From launch, Apple has offered a year's free Apple TV+ service to anyone buying a new iPhone or other devices. This promotion will not last forever though, and will likely not be present for the 2020 iPhone launch.
Similarly, there is a bundle offer where people on the Apple Music Student Plan will receive Apple TV+ for free.
Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month, which is cheaper than either Disney+ or Netflix. As with Apple Music and Apple News+, there is a free trial period, which in this case is one week.