USA TODAY US Edition
Apple TV Plus launching this week
TV Plus service to launch with a limited lineup
Offerings are limited for now, more on the way.
company that brought you the Macintosh computer, iPhone, iPad and iTunes now wants you to turn to it for Apple-branded entertainment.
And to get you to sign up for the new Apple TV Plus service, launching Nov. 1, Apple is basically giving away the store.
Buy a new Apple hardware product – starting with the $199 iPod Touch, and continuing with the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV streaming box or Mac computer – and you get one year of service free. Historically, Apple sells more than 250 million of these devices a year, so this will clearly give Apple a head start in the “Streaming Wars,” where it will compete with Netflix (150 million subscribers), Amazon Prime Video (more than 100 million subscribers) and Hulu (28 million subscribers.)
Apple’s marketing bonus is why analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities predicts that Apple TV Plus will have more than 100 million subscribers within its first three years.
But can it keep them? Apple is launching Friday with only eight series, a documentary and a talk show.
“Apple needs a critical mass of programming, and eight shows is not a critical mass,” says Peter Csathy, president of CREATV and an industry consultant.
What you can watch
The Apple TV Plus fare:
❚ “The Morning Show,” backstage at a TV show in the #MeToo era, with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
❚ “See,” a futuristic sci-fi show with Jason Momoa (“Aquaman”)
❚ “Dickinson,” a dramatic series about poet Emily Dickinson, starring Hallee Steinfeld.
❚ “For all Mankind,” an alternate hisThe tory drama about what would have happened had the space race never ended.
❚ Three children’s shows: “Helpsters,” from the creators of “Sesame Street,” “Snoopy in Space,” and a revival of the old PBS series “Ghostwriter.”
❚ A documentary about elephants in Africa.
❚ The return of “Oprah’s Book Club,” featuring Oprah Winfrey interviewing authors and discussing books.
And waiting in the wings: “Servant” from director M. Night Shyamalan (Nov. 28), “Truth Be Told,“with Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul and Lizzy Caplan (Dec. 6), and several other series and movies.
Apple will be bringing back Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series “Amazing Stories” and recently outbid HBO to get the third of Spielberg and actor/producer Tom Hanks’ World War II projects, “Masters of the Air.”
With so few shows for your monthly subscription, Apple is taking a different approach than Netflix and Amazon.
Apple will have three episodes available of “The Morning Show” available , with new episodes dropping every Friday, while the series “Dickinson” will have all 10 episodes ready for viewing.
For now, Apple “doesn’t have enough content to stand on their own,” says Luke Bouma, editor of the CordCuttersNews blog. “But with the free year of access, that could buy Apple enough time to build a catalog of content to justify the price.”