Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Everything you need to know about Apple TV+: pricing, new shows and release date

The UAE will be able to watch Apple TV+ from November, and there are plenty of star-studded shows and films to choose from

Jennifer Aniston, left, and Reese Witherspoon in a scene from 'The Morning Show'. AP.
Jennifer Aniston, left, and Reese Witherspoon in a scene from 'The Morning Show'. AP.

Apple's first foray into the streaming service market is imminent, and now we have more concrete details of what that will look like.

The technology giant first responded to mounting speculation around its intentions to enter the streaming market in May, and it did so with aplomb at a star-studded event at its Cupertino, California headquarters.

Apple TV+ looked set to feature a veritable who's who of Hollywood elite, including the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa and Oprah Winfrey, and a diverse new line-up of original TV shows and films.

It came among a medley of announcements from Apple, which also launched a range of services across different sectors at the same time including a credit card, a gaming subscription service and a revamped news offering. However, only the streaming and gaming services would be coming to the UAE.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook announced details around Apple TV+ at an event which also unveiled the new iPhone 11 models. AFP/
Apple chief executive Tim Cook announced details around Apple TV+ at an event which also unveiled the new iPhone 11 models. AFP/

Since then, we haven't known for sure when the service would launch, what it would cost or what shows would be available immediately, but all that changed on Tuesday at Apple's annual launch event in California.

Here's exactly what we learned:

When will Apple TV+ be available?

The new streaming service will launch on Friday, November 1. The first rollout will be to over 100 countries and regions, including the UAE.

How much will it cost?

The service will be available for $4.99 (Dh18) per month with a seven day free trial. And if you're thinking about buying a new Apple device in the near future, you can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free with your purchase.

It's a relative bargain if you consider that Netflix costs upwards of Dh29 per month.

What devices can you watch Apple TV+ available on?

As expected, you can use the streaming service on all the usual Apple devices – iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac – and some non-Apple affiliated platforms. However, in a move not necessarily typical of Apple, you will also be able to use it on select 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and Vizio platforms. You can subscribe and watch on Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

What shows can you watch on the service?

When Apple TV+ was announced earlier this year, it was done so alongside cameos from Hollywood's biggest stars (which culminated in a standing ovation-inducing appearance from Oprah Winfrey) so we had an inkling of the calibre of television Apple was working on.

Featuring the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Jason Momoa, Sofia Coppola, M Night Shyamalan, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Apple has employed some of the world's biggest stars to launch their foray into the streaming market.

From the launch date on November 1, the company will launch nine Apple TV+ originals, and introduce several more in the coming months.

Here's a first look at them:

See: a drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind. When all humanity has lost the sense of sight, humans must adapt and find new ways to survive.

The Morning Show: Apple describes this as a a "cutthroat drama", starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and starring Steve Carell, which explores the world of morning news and the ego, ambition and the misguided search for power behind the people who help America wake up in the morning. The series is based on journalist Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. The show also stars Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, and Karen Pittman. At the launch event in May, Aniston said she was "so excited" to return to television, to which the crowd responded with rapturous applause.

Dickinson: Starring Hailee Steinfeld (who interestingly has been rumoured as the new lead in Disney Plus's new Marvel adaption Hawkeye), this is a "darkly comedic coming-of-age story", exploring the constraints of society, gender and family through the lens of rebellious young poet, Emily Dickinson.

For All Mankind: A new series from American screenwriter and television producer Ronald D Moore, which imagines what would have happened if the global space race never ended and the space programme remained the cultural centerpiece of America’s hopes and dreams.

Helpsters: A new children’s series from the makers of Sesame Street, this is about a team of vibrant monsters who love to help solve problems. In May, Big Bird took to the stage to announce the new Muppets-inspired show, saying it would help children learn computer coding.

Snoopy in Space: This new original from Peanuts Worldwide and DHX Media takes viewers on a journey with Snoopy as he follows his dreams to become an astronaut. Together, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew take command of the International Space Station and explore the moon and beyond.

Ghostwriter: A reinvention of the beloved original 1990s children's series which followed four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighborhood bookstore. The gang must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature with the help of their neighbourhood ghost.

The Elephant Queen: This documentary is described as a "cinematic love letter to a species on the verge of extinction", folloing a majestic matriarch elephant and her herd on an epic journey of life, loss and homecoming. It's narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Oprah Winfrey: In a seemingly unnamed series, Winfrey will join the world’s most compelling authors in conversation "as she builds a vibrant, global book club community and other projects to connect with people around the world and share meaningful ways to create positive change". At the launch event, Winfrey said she would build “the most stimulating book club on the planet”, as well as working on several other projects with Apple.

Oprah Winfrey is building 'the most stimulating book club on the planet' with Apple. Reuters.
Oprah Winfrey is building 'the most stimulating book club on the planet' with Apple. Reuters.

Winfrey also got political at the launch, saying she was proud to "join forces" with Apple, as it was a poignant time to “build a greater awareness through greater conversations”.

“I want to reach that sweet spot where insight and perspective, truth and tolerance actually intersect," Winfrey said, adding that Apple was the obvious choice to partner with.

“They’re in a billion pockets, y’all. A billion pockets."

Apple will release several other originals in the coming months. The highlights are:

Servant: This new psychological thriller from M Night Shyamalan, follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after a tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home. It will star Rupert Grint, as well as Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell and Nell Tiger Free.

Truth Be Told: A new series starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul, exploring America’s obsession with true crime podcasts and concerns about privacy, media and race.

Little America: Kumail Nanjiani (the star of HBO's Silicon Valley) is producing this new comedy focusing on and inspired by the stories of US immigrants featured in Epic Magazine.

The Banker: A film inspired by a true story, starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L Jackson as two African-American entrepreneurs who try to circumvent the racial limitations of the 1950s and quietly provide housing loans to the African-American community in Texas where Jim Crow was in place (state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the southern states). The film will also star Nia Long and Nicholas Hoult.

Hala: Part of the official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, this film follows a high school senior struggling to balance life as a suburban teenager with her traditional Muslim upbringing.

Updated: September 12, 2019 12:25 PM

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