Last night Recode's Peter Kafka hosted an interview with Apple's Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services, who was joined by television producer Ben Silverman at Recode's Code Media Conference. The discussion centered around Apple's video ambitions, with new information and trailers being released for two of Apple's upcoming original shows: Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. Additionally, Cue commented on work Apple's doing with Apple Music and in a variety of other areas.
The interview began with Kafka questioning Apple's video ambitions. Both television shows discussed in the interview were confirmed to be Apple Music exclusives, so Kafka questioned why Apple Music will be home to this content. Cue answered:
We think videos can be a very important part of Apple Music. We think it's one of the differentiating factors we can add.
Later in the interview when Kafka asks Cue whether we should expect to see more original video content in the future, Cue replied:
Look, we're just starting out. We're excited. We think that these shows bring something to customers that hasn't been seen before, so there's something unique, special that we're bringing to the table. And I think that there are more ideas like that that we have, so we hope to continue doing more.
Planet of the Apps is a reality show featuring developers who pitch their app concepts and work with celebrity advisors with the goal of scoring a large investment from a venture capital firm. Developers who participate on the show will also have their apps prominently featured by Apple on the App Store.
The premiere trailer reveals that the series bares many similarities to NBC's The Voice. There are four celebrity advisors – will.i.am, Jessica Alba, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Gwyneth Paltrow – who decide whether an app pitch deserves further investment and development. App developers who do well on their initial pitch will choose which of the advisors they'd like to mentor them as they continue their app's development and prepare for a pitch to venture capital investors.
Eddy Cue revealed the series will launch this spring, and episodes will be released weekly rather than all at once.
As part of the discussion around Planet of the Apps, the show's producer Ben Silverman shared that there will be an element of the series that integrates technology in a way that creates a unique viewing experience.
It's going to have a linear representation as an episodic television show...but what it's also going to be is an app, which is really meta, and cool...One of our producers, in conjunction with the Apple team, talked about this idea of, how do you take all of this incredible content and this deep, educational, immersive experience we have within the show and go into different elements of it for longer, and have parts of this show be controlled by the consumer watching it, not just in its linear representation. One of our guys talked about this idea of rubber banding, where you can watch the actual show, and press pause, and go as deep or as far as you want along the rubber band, in this case the material that you're interested in – a developer, the venture capital partner.
Eddy Cue added:
It will have a linear component as you typically watch, but, as Ben said, there are a lot of things we shoot that don't end up on air in a linear format. If you want to go deeper on a developer or a particular thing that's happening, we can do that.
This sounds like an interesting element of the show that Apple isn't ready to unwrap the full details on yet. In a separate interview with The Verge, however, Cue did mention Apple's desire to innovate with the video content they create by making television more interactive.
The second show highlighted in the interview is Carpool Karaoke. One of the show's producers, Ben Winston, described the premise of the series.
Our idea is that we're taking two people from different walks of life – friends, or people who haven't met – and putting them in a car together, and they go on a road trip. What we've found is we're getting really entertaining half-hour episodes from people being together in the car.
We saw the first glimpses of the show earlier this week, but last night Apple unveiled a new look with a lengthier trailer.
Carpool Karaoke will be launching in April, Cue announced.
One piece of information gleaned from the Carpool Karaoke trailer is that Apple's original shows will live within a new 'TV Shows & Movies' section in Apple Music's 'Browse' tab. It is worth mentioning, though, that Apple Music's video content will also likely be available in the TV app released in December. At its launch the TV app integrated with Apple Music so that original content, such as Apple's 808 documentary, could be watched through the TV app rather than just through the Music app. That integration still exists, so we should expect it to apply to these upcoming shows as well.
Aside from the main discussion around Apple Music and video content, there were several questions on other topics. Two that stood out as notable included a question around podcasts and one about voice platforms.
On podcasts, Cue commented:
I think there's a huge resurgence in podcasting...Can we do more and will we do more? Absolutely. We're working on new features for podcasting – stay tuned.
And in response to a question about what Apple has learned watching Amazon get into the voice interface business:
We think voice is a huge part of the future of user interfaces. That's why we did Siri, that's why we continue to evolve it. It's great in cars with CarPlay where you need to use voice. It's faster to do things like setting your alarm clock, finding data, finding your next calendar event, or calling somebody. Those are all things that are great on your device that you carry with you all the time. So we continue to see Siri usage spike and go further and further up. So we're not surprised that people like a voice interface; we're going to continue to evolve that.
The full video of the interview is available for viewing below.