Apple is set to launch its own Apple TV+ OTT streaming service this fall featuring Oprah Winfrey-produced documentaries, and original series from Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and M. Night Shyamalan, among others.
The tech giant unveiled a series of new applications, features and platform offerings in a star-studded, two-hour livestream Monday morning from the Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino, CA.
Apple is billing Apple TV+ as “the new home for the world’s most creative storytellers” with pricing and availability of the video subscription service to be announced this fall. Ad-free, users will be able to watch online or off, across all devices and smart TVs, thanks to a major expansion and redesign of the Apple TV app.
The redesigned offering allows a user’s satellite, cable, and subscription digital services to all be accessed in one place, from within the Apple TV app. Starting in May, users will also be able to subscribe to Apple channels like HBO, Starz, and SHOWTIME à la carte. Later this spring, the Apple TV app will also launch on Samsung, Sony, LG and Visio smart TVs, in addition to Roku and Amazon. Currently available in 10 countries, the app’s reach will go global expanding to over 100 countries and regions.
Today’s series of announcements crescendoed with Oprah Winfrey’s appearance, who was greeted with a standing ovation.
“We have a unique opportunity to rise to our best selves in how we use and how we choose to use our technology and our humanity,” she told the audience. “They’re in a billion pockets y’all…a billion pockets. The whole world’s got them in their hands and that represents a major opportunity to make a genuine impact,” continued Winfrey, who has two documentaries in production with the company. Toxic Labor looks at sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, while a yet-to-be-titled series on mental health will explore what Winfrey termed the “scourge” of depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress, addiction, trauma and loss affecting lives around the globe. Winfrey also announced plans for a new book club, envisioning conversations with authors streamed globally across all devices.
Other projects in production include Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories – a series based on the magazine that first sparked his interest in sci-fi; Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard are set to star in sci-fi drama See, set in a future where disease has devastated the planet and humans are born blind; and Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are executive producing The Morning News, which explores the male-female power dynamic behind a morning television news show. Steve Carell and Billy Crudup also star.
Other announcements unveiled by CEO Tim Cook included Apple News+, an expansion of the Apple News app that will now include 300 magazine titles including Time, National Geographic, The Hollywood Reporter, In Style, Essence, marie claire, Harper’s Bazaar, and The Atlantic.
Apple News+, which will cost $12.99/month in Canada ($9.99 USD), essentially re-designs the magazine experience for mobile devices with features like live covers, built-in infographics, and typography that maintains the spirit of a publication, but is designed to be viewed on an iPhone or iPad.
Apple News+ will also include a premium digital subscription to Vulture, The Skimm and The Cut, and newspapers The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal. In Canada, there will be 30 additional Canadian magazine titles and a digital subscription to The Toronto Star.
A press release indicates Global News, Bell Media, Le Devoir and La Presse will also be contributing to Apple News in Canada.
Apple also offered a preview of Apple Arcade, a new tab in the App Store that will give subscribers access to 100+ exclusive games. With iOS now the largest gaming platform in the world boasting one billion game downloads, the platform promises to deliver new and exclusive games that raise the bar, from immersive AR to groundbreaking multi-player. A subscription will allow you to play any game across iPad, Mac and Apple TV and pick up where you left off. Apple Arcade will launch this fall in over 150 countries with pricing to come.
Additionally, Apple released details of its new Apple Card – a virtual credit card accepted anywhere that takes Apple Pay with a two per cent, unlimited cashback feature. Apple Card is a partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, and authenticated by Touch or Face ID.
Apple stock closed the market on Monday down 1.21 per cent to $188.74 USD.
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