Apple will launch its Apple TV+ video on-demand service next month, November 1, 2019.
The video streaming offering appears to be prioritising quality over quantity. Apple has only revealed details of a dozen or so shows – that’s not a patch on the original film and box sets available from rivals Amazon and Netflix. However, each one has some serious prestige behind it, with Academy Award-winning Stephen Spielberg rebooting his Amazing Stories show, Friends star Jennifer Aniston teaming-up with Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell for a drama about a morning news magazine show, a new Jason Momoa vehicle called See that’s purported to cost a Game Of Thrones-topping $15 million an episode, as well as a new psychological drama from Sixth Sense writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, to name just a few.
During the announcement of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, Apple confirmed that any customers who bought a new Apple product would be eligible for a free year of its Apple TV+ subscription. The service can be accessed via the TV app on iOS, iPadOS, macOS and, of course, any of the recent Apple TV set-top boxes.
Select Samsung TVs have access to Apple TV+ via a Smart TV app, but that still left huge swathes of potential viewers unable to access the video on-demand service without heading to their local Apple Store to spend £149 on the Apple TV HD with 32GB of built-in storage (and £199 for the 4K HDR version of the hardware with 64GB of storage). Rumours of a Chromecast-like HDMI dongle from Apple circulated online, but none of these have come to anything.
And now we know why.
It seems Apple is content to partner with companies that already manufacture more affordable streaming sticks, including Amazon. A dedicated Apple TV+ app will be coming to the Alexa-enabled set-top boxes and HDMI dongles today.
Not only will this app enable Fire TV owners to stream the latest Apple TV+ shows when they begin to roll-out from November 1, but they will also allow viewers to access over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows, including the largest collection of 4K HDR titles available to browse, buy or rent.
Apple will tailor its recommendations to you based on your tastes. You’ll also be able to access the vast library of behind-the-scenes footage and making of footage that is often included with movies on iTunes – just like the good ol’ days of DVD extra features, if you’re old enough to remember those?
Apple’s TV+ app includes a Watch Now tab with Up Next, where users can quickly find and watch their favourites with activity synced across devices, as well as explore expertly curated collections based on a secure and comprehensive understanding of users’ viewing interests. So, if you’re halfway through an episode in the latest season of Fleabag on your iPhone on the train home from work, you’ll be able to resume in the exact spot from your Fire TV when you collapse onto the sofa.
There is also a dedicated Kids section which highlights handpicked shows and movies for kids of all ages, alongside the Sports section that makes it easy to find games and receive notifications about favourite teams and leagues. Additionally, customers can find their purchased movies and shows from iTunes in the redesigned Library tab, now organised by Recently Added, Downloaded, Genres and more.
Using the Alexa Voice Remote included with every Fire TV or a paired Echo device for far-field voice control, you can easily start watching your favourite shows and movies or discover a new Apple Original from Apple TV+. Starting November 1, you can ask Alexa to start watching something specific, by saying “Alexa, watch Dickinson.” Or if you’re trying to figure out what to watch you can say, “Alexa, find dramas,” and you may see Apple TV+ originals like “The Morning Show” and “See” included in Fire TV search results.
The Apple TV app is available today for Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen) and Fire TV Stick 4K, in the United Kingdom.
The app will be available on Fire TV Cube, Fire TV (3rd Gen pendant design), and Nebula Soundbar Fire TV Edition before the end of the year.
Amazon says the app and TV+ streaming service will be coming to the JVC Fire TV Edition Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs announced during its IFA press conference early next year.