To close out today’s press event focused on Apple’s services business, the company has officially announced its streaming initiative, Apple TV+.
CEO Tim Cook said this will be an ad-free subscription, with everything available for online and offline viewing, in more than 100 countries. It’s coming this fall, but Apple hasn’t shared any pricing info.
“We feel we can contribute something important to our culture and society through great storytelling,” Cook said.
The company already had a long list of titles in development, which will hopefully put all your “Carpool Karaoke” jokes to rest. They include an “Amazing Stories” reboot executive produced by Steven Spielberg, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s classic “Foundation” books and “The Morning Show,” a drama set in the morning TV industry starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
Details about the shows have been dribbling out for more than a year, so the main question was: How would consumers get access to all of this content? And how much would they have to pay for it, if anything?
Reports last fall suggested that Apple might actually give away these shows for free to anyone with an iOS or tvOS device, so the original content would essentially function as an incentive to buy Apple hardware and as a funnel to other services.
And indeed, Apple announced there’s a new Apple TV app coming in May, as well as Apple TV Channels, which will allow you to subscribe to other streamers like HBO, Showtime, Starz and CBS All Access. It turns out TV+ will be a part of the TV app, but you’ll have to pay extra — even if Apple isn’t saying how much yet.
To highlight the caliber of filmmakers involved in this initiative, Apple showed off a promotional video featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Octavia Spencer, Ron Howard, M. Night Shyamalan, Sofia Coppola, Damian Chazelle, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon — who are, of course, all making shows for Apple TV+.
Spielberg then took the stage to talk about his childhood love of the Amazing Stories magazine, which he subsequently turned into an ’80s TV series.
“Thanks to the visionary and inventive folks at Apple, my Amblin team and I are going to be resurrecting this 93-year-old brand and offering to multi-generational audiences a whole new batch of Amazing Stories,” he said.
Spielberg was followed by a veritable parade of celebrities touting their various shows: Aniston, Witherspoon and Steve Carell, who are all starring in “The Morning Show; then Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, who talked about their science fiction series “See”; then Kumail Nanjiani, who said his anthology series “Little America” will consist of “human stories that feature immigrants”; then Big Bird (yes, that Big Bird) announcing coding-themed shows that Sesame Workshop is making for Apple and then J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles — Bareilles performed the theme to their show “Little Voice.”
And to close it all out? Oprah Winfrey.