Published on March 25th, 2019 | by Bill Stiteler


Apple announces new TV app, but only teases original programming

Apple TV will get a new app, and we got a taste of what Apple’s new streaming service will look like at today’s It’s Showtime media event. But what we don’t know yet is how much it will cost, or when exactly we’re going to get it.

The event presented three new services. First, Apple News +, a subscription service that will give users access to over 300 newspapers and magazines. Second, Apple Arcade, another subscription service that provides over 100 ad-free and fully unlocked games to play on supported Apple devices. Third, Apple has moved into the financial sector with Apple Card, their own credit card service which will be fee-free, and combine digital Apple Pay with a physical card.

But this is BEST Apple TV, so let’s get to the meat of the matter (what there is of it).

tvOS is getting an upgrade in May that turns the concept of  “Apple TV” into an app on both the TV hardware, iOS, and—as new services—a Mac App, integration into smart TVs from major manufacturers, and as competitor’s streaming devices from Roku and Amazon. The new TV app will  integrate several cable and streaming services into a unified interface, allowing users to switch between shows and movies without needing to switch between apps. So rather than having to leave Hulu to watch your CBS Now shows, they’ll be presented as one group. The new TV app will also use on-device machine learning to recommend new shows for you.

However, not all streaming services will be included. Netflix has notably declined to allow its programming to be accessible through the service, although of course the Netflix app will continue to be available on Apple TV, the hardware device (boy is this going to get confusing).

Following that, Apple TV + (it was a big day for “+” to be added) was announced as the name for Apple’s original content streaming service, but we learned nothing about what it would cost or when it would launch beyond “Fall 2019.” Apple papered over this, however, by bringing some heavy hitters onstage to tease—and only tease—what they’re going to be working on and (importantly) why they’re excited to work with Apple. How big? They opened with Steven Spielberg (who’s rebooting the Amazing Stories anthology series) and closed with Oprah Winfrey (who’s producing documentaries and a book club series). That big.

However, there were no trailers, only descriptions of intriguing ideas. As we already know, Kumil Nanjiana is producing what sounds like a dramatized biopic series about the immigrant experience titled Little America. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon were joined (eventually) onstage by Steve Carell to talk about The Morning Show, a series set, well, during a morning show.

What we do know is that Apple TV + will be ad-free and on-demand, all shows will be downloadable so they can be viewed offline. But, given reports that Apple has been giving excessive notes during the production process, and that they were still finalizing deals with streaming services two weeks ago, perhaps that’s not surprising. All we know really know at this point is that Apple TV + is, indeed, happening, and that a lot of very important producers are excited about it.

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About the Author

Bill Stiteler has been covering technology since the 90s, with a focus on Macintosh games and video production.

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