Apple TV+ guide: Everything to know about Apple’s incoming streaming service

We break down the what, how, who and how much of TV Plus

Apple TV+: Everything you need to know
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Apple has a new product launching, but it’s neither shiny nor made from Jony Ive's uncompromising aluminum: it's a streaming service called Apple TV+.

It may sound like an upgraded version of Apple’s streaming box, but Apple TV+ is actually Apple's horse in the race to own our TV time – and a portion of our monthly outgoings. Yes, it's essentially Apple's answer to Netflix.

Read this: Apple TV 4K review

The service is launching on 1 November, and gets out the gate with a couple of original programs commissioned by Apple. To get you prepared and help you decide if you even want Apple TV+, we've put together this guide explaining everything about the new service, including fees, supported media types, and the shows and movies it will be launching with.

Apple TV+: What is it?

In short, it's a streaming service. But where Apple TV+ is different to Netflix etc is that it’s exclusively filled with Apple’s original programming. Apple’s not (yet) interested in licensing other content for its service (it already has a good thing going with the iTunes store for buying and renting stuff, after all), although maybe that could change in time.

Apple TV+ will support 4K, HDR/Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos – so everything you can already play if you have the Apple TV 4K, plus everything from the service will be ad-free.

Also, it's worth pointing out that Apple TV+ should not be confused with Apple TV Channels, which is just a way to subscribe to services like HBO and Starz from within the Apple TV app, so you don't have to hop around.

Apple TV+: How can I watch it?

You’ll need the Apple TV app to watch TV+, and that’s currently available on Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This year Apple has also brought the Apple TV app to Samsung's smart TVs and, once their exclusive agreement period expires, it's also coming to Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony, and Vizio TVs.

Apple TV+ will also let you download original programs to watch offline, but just on Apple devices, of course. No word on whether Apple will bring the app to Android, as it did with Apple Music, in the future.

Apple TV+ guide: How Apple’s streaming service will work

Apple TV+: What’s showing?

There will be nine original titles on the service at launch including The Morning Show, a comedy following a news show and starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. It's also a huge bet from Apple that’s reportedly costing more than $15 million an episode. For reference, that’s more than the cost of the final episode of Game of Thrones.

The other shows are: Dickinson, a period drama about Emily Dickinson with Hailee Steinfeld in the titular role; For All Mankind, a revisionist history miniseries about the space race; The Elephant Queen, a documentary following a herd of elephants across Africa; Hala, a feature film about a 16-year-old Muslim teenager; See, a Jason-Momoa-starring fantasy series; Servant, a psychological thriller series written by M Night Shyamalan; Snoopy in Space, which is Snoopy in space (and should require no further selling); Ghostwriter, a reboot of the 1990s series about ghostbusting kids; and The Helpsters, a Sesame Street spinoff.

It's certainly a varied lineup, but is it enough? There should be plenty more to come. When Apple first announced TV+ it had Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams and even Oprah come on stage to talk about projects they were working on for the service.

We are, however, disappointed that Apple scrapped the planned Richard Gere drama Bastards over disagreements, just because it sounded absolutely nuts.

Apple TV+ guide: How Apple’s streaming service will work

Apple TV+: How much does it cost?

Here’s the kicker. Apple TV+ will cost $4.99 a month, which is a huge shot across the bow of Netflix, Disney+, and even Hulu, which was until now one of the cheapest options at $5.99. Apple is undercutting its rivals, presumably in part because it can and in part because it just won't have that much content to start with.

It’s $4.99 for nine shows, which when you take a step back and remember how spoiled we are by streaming services, is good – but Apple will need to maintain a constant cadence of fresh material if it wants to keep people paying.

It has another plan to pull people in, however: If you buy a new Apple TV, Mac, iPad or iPhone starting 10 September, Apple is giving you a free year’s subscription to the service, which isn’t to be sniffed at. For the rest of you, there’s a seven-day free trial to make use of.

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