Apple has revealed the name of its new streaming service and announced a $2 billion lineup of original content when Apple TV+ launches in fall 2019.
The foray into TV streaming announced at a star-studded event in Cupertino represents a major change of direction towards services for the device manufacturer.
The market for streaming services is about to get more crowded this year, with Apple and Disney set to join the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu who have all established their brands and are steadily producing original programming.
The service which launches in over 100 countries in the autumn, will include new original programming from major names in the entertainment industry. No pricing details were revealed for the new service.
Apple says it has signed up a number of big names to its new channel, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon M. Chu and more. Although few details were released about when the new shows will launch, the company is reportedly sticking to a “family-friendly” approach when it comes to content.
Aside from the investment in originals, Apple is equally focused on making its free Apple TV app the centre of its strategy to aggregate various video subscriptions for its users.
The tech giant announced Apple TV Channels, which will let customers access their subscriptions to services from HBO, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access, Hulu and other streaming services directly through the TV app. Notably absent from the bundle will be Netflix which has ruled out any deal to be part of the Apple platform.
Apple is championing the concept of making it easier for users to access different streams and promises best-in-class picture and audio quality for all Apple TV Channels it offers.
The company also announced that it will update its Apple TV app, which allows users to access content on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, smart TVs and streaming devices, through a single app.
The update, which is due from May, will enable subscribers to access Apple TV channels and to purchase or rent content from the iTunes Store.
"We're honoured that the absolute best lineup of storytellers in the world - both in front of and behind the camera - are coming to Apple TV+," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "We're thrilled to give viewers a sneak peek of Apple TV+ and cannot wait for them to tune in starting this fall. Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet."
Apple also announced Apple Arcade, a game subscription service that will feature over 100 new and exclusive games.
The new service will be distinguished from existing game apps available on the App Store by offering better quality content, without ads, ad tracking or additional purchases.
Games will be available to play through a subscription to Apple Arcade, which will give players the opportunity to try any game in the service without risk. Since every game includes access to the full experience, including all game features, content and future updates, no additional purchases will be required.
Content will be exclusive to Apple platforms, and Apple says it will also contribute to the development costs and work with game studios on the content.