APPLE’S NEW PUSH INTO SUBSCRIPTION CONTENT
Three separate press releases hit our inbox this morning, all from different personnel within or associated with Apple. Each spruiked a new Apple service or feature.
Apple News+ is touted as a “subscription service that brings together over 300 popular magazines, leading newspapers and digital publishers into a beautiful, convenient and curated experience within the Apple News app.”
Apple says that this subscription-based content (US$9.99/month) “adds an even more expansive collection of high-quality stories to the free experience of Apple News” and will be available in Australia, “later this year”.
Next up is Apple Arcade, pitched by Apple as “the world's first game subscription for mobile, desktop, and the living room”. Apple says it will hand pick and “contribute to the development costs and work closely with the creators” to bring Apple Arcade's games to life.
The as yet undisclosed subscription cost will give access to over 100 new and exclusive games, according to Apple. Apple Arcade games will also have no additional in-app charges or ads.
Set to launch “later this year”, Apple is inviting developers now to be considered for its Arcade platform.
What has us at StereoNET most interested though is Apple's new service, TV+, already being reported by some tech commentators as a real rival to Netflix.
Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will feature a brand-new slate of programming from the world’s most celebrated creative artists, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon M. Chu and more.
The new Apple TV app available in May 2019 is reported to be available across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, smart TVs and streaming devices.
The Apple TV app will give subscribers “access to inspiring and authentic stories with emotional depth and compelling characters from all walks of life, ad-free and on demand.”
Subscription costs have not yet been mentioned, but users will be able to sign up to just the services they want, including HBO, SHOWTIME and Starz1, as well as sports, news and network TV from cable and satellite providers — all on demand, available on and offline.
Apple says channels will offer “incredible picture quality and sound”, but there has been no mention of 4K broadcast or sound formats as yet.
On launch, the Apple TV+ service will include channels such as HBO, Starz, SHOWTIME, CBS All Access, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade, Noggin and new services like MTV Hits1, “with more to be added over time around the world.”
The app will also offer personalised viewing suggestions for shows and movies from over 150 streaming apps, including Amazon Prime and Hulu, as well as pay-TV services such as Canal+, Charter Spectrum, DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue. Apple says Optimum and Suddenlink from Altice will be added later this year.
What is not clear is which of the mentioned services will be available to Australian customers on launch, with typically strict licensing arrangements in place with existing platforms.
Apple's Family Sharing feature will mean users can share Apple TV+ and subscriptions to Apple TV channels.
Apple has already confirmed the Apple TV app will be available on Samsung smart TVs soon, and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future.
Apple TV+ could be one to watch, literally!