Apple’s March 25 event featured the tagline “It’s Show Time” and served as the official unveiling of the company’s slate of television and movie programming for its new Apple TV streaming service, dubbed Apple TV+.
The service will be an ad-free subscription service featuring on-demand online and offline content. It will be available in more than 100 countries and will launch on November 1. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
The shows officially confirmed for Apple TV+ feature some high-profile actors and filmmakers both behind the camera and in front of it.
Those shows include the alternate-history drama For All Mankind (see trailer above), created by Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore, which explores what would have happened if the international space race never ended. Season one will premiere alongside Apple TV+ on November 1, while season two is already on the way.
Apple TV+’s flagship show is The Morning Show, a series that explores the behind-the-scenes drama of a morning news show. Apple has already ordered two seasons of the series, which brings Steve Carell back to television as part of a high-powered cast that includes Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. All of that star power doesn’t come cheap, though: Every episode of The Morning Show reportedly costs over $15 million, making it more expensive than the final season of Game of Thrones. A teaser trailer for The Morning Show (see below) was released in August.
A half-hour comedy called Dickinson stars Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson, the American poet who became famous years after her death. Apple describes the series as a look at “the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of [the] rebellious young poet.” Despite its 1800s setting, the show’s first trailer features several modern flourishes. While Dickinson hasn’t aired yet, Apple has already ordered a second season.
Apple is also reportedly investing heavily in the post-apocalyptic drama See (you can watch the trailer below), which stars Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard and is set in a world where what remains of humanity has been rendered blind due to a terrifying virus. Like For All Mankind and Dickinson, See season two got the go-ahead before the Apple TV+ launch.
Servant, a creepy drama from The Sixth Sense and Glass creator M. Night Shyamalan, tells the story of a young couple played by Lauren Ambrose and Toby Kebbell who lose their baby and cope by adopting a doll, which they treat like it’s real. They even hire a nanny (Nell Tiger Free) to care for the fake child, although there might be to the young woman than she lets on. Harry Potter‘s Rupert Grint also stars.
Stephen Spielberg is producing two series for Apple TV+. One is a reboot of Spielberg’s ’80s sci-fi/fantasy/horror anthology series, Amazing Stories. The other is Masters of the Air, Spielberg’s follow-up to Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Tom Hanks co-produces.
While nothing’s come of it yet, Apple recently signed a major deal with Gravity and Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón. Under the terms of the pact, Cuarón will develop TV shows exclusively for Apple TV+. The partnership is said to last for five years.
Apple outbid rivals, including Netflix, to secure the rights for a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol starring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. Reportedly, Apple is paying $60 million for the cast alone, putting A Christmas Carol‘s budget somewhere around $100 million, according to industry estimates. For a streaming-only movie, that’s a lot.
Also among the projects announced so far is the musical drama Little Voice produced by J.J. Abrams and musician Sara Bareilles, and the anthology series Little America from the Oscar-winning duo behind The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.
Additional content destined for Apple TV+ includes a wide-reaching, multi-project arrangement with Oprah Winfrey, the all-ages series Helpsters developed by the Sesame Workshop, Octavia Spencer’s Truth Be Told mystery series, the thriller series Servant from M. Night Shyamalan, a reboot of the 1990s children’s series Ghostwriter, a drama about a Muslim-American teenager titled Hala, the animated feature Snoopy in Space, and a series from Taika Waititi based on the 1981 film Time Bandits.
Cost and availability
Apple TV+ will cost $5 per month when it launches on November 1. That’s $4 cheaper than Netflix’s bottom-tier subscription and a lot less than its maxed-out $16-per-month Premium membership. Not sold? Purchase a new Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, or Mac from September 10 and the company will throw in a year’s membership for free, valid from the launch date. A bundle combining Apple TV+ and Apple Music, which cost $15 a month when bought separately, is said to be in the works.
Naturally, Apple TV+ will be available through the Apple TV app on all modern Apple hardware, including all iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices capable of running the latest operating systems, the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, third-generation Apple TVs, PCs running Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, and Samsung Smart TVs. Apple TV app support recently arrived on Roku devices, and is expected to come to Amazon Fire TV hardware soon.
Beating Netflix at its own game
In addition to all of the projects listed below, Apple TV+ is going after Netflix in a big way. The tech giant is planning to make six small-budget, award-worthy films every year, with an eye on generating buzz for the service and nabbing some Academy Award nominations along the way.
According to the New York Post, the original films on Apple TV+ will cost between $5 and $30 million each and will be helmed by “elevated” Hollywood talent. The move towards original content was inspired by Netflix’s Roma, a 2019 Best Picture contender that won Best Foreign Film. Focus Features, the studio behind BlacKkKlansman, Lady Bird, and Dallas Buyer’s Club, is also a big inspiration.
As the Post notes, Apple doesn’t have the kind of content backlog that Disney is leveraging to launch Disney Plus with a bang, or the same Hollywood connections as Netflix or Hulu. In addition to getting Apple TV Plus some attention during awards season, producing a slate of new films will be a good way to generate material for the streaming service. Licensing (or outright buying) an established studio’s library is also an option.
Audio and video
Apple hasn’t confirmed any of the video or audio formats that Apple TV+ will stream in, but given that soon-to-be-defunct iTunes offers 4K Ultra HD video, it’sSteven reasonable to expect that this will be an option for at least some of the Apple TV+ content.
More on the way
The long lead-up to Apple’s official announcement of Apple TV+ left time for plenty of projects to be rumored for the service.
Among the most intriguing of those unofficial projects is an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s celebrated sci-fi saga Foundation, an untitled comedy series from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia duo Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, and a scripted series titled Swagger based on the life of NBA star Kevin Durant.
Other big projects rumored for Apple TV+ include the animated series Central Park from Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, and On the Rocks, an original feature film that might reunite Oscar-winning Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola with star Bill Murray.