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Disney+ Available Now, Integrated with Apple’s TV App But Not as a Channel

Today Disney has launched what’s almost certain to become one of the most successful streaming services over time: Disney+. Apple users can enjoy the new streaming service through the Disney+ app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. You can subscribe directly inside the app to start a 7-day free trial, after which it costs $6.99/month or $69.99/year. Disney is also offering a bundled option, where Disney+, Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ are available for a single $12.99 monthly fee; to sign up for that bundle, you need to visit disneyplus.com.

Disney+ features an enormous back catalog of Disney favorites, from classic animated films to the worlds of Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and National Geographic. Not only that, but Disney has prepared a healthy slate of originals to accompany the launch, the clear standout of which is the Star Wars-based The Mandalorian. Combining originals and catalog fare, Disney+ is unquestionably the strongest content debut ever for a streaming service.

The app experience of Disney+ seems at least as good as other streaming services, and in some cases even better. As seen in the image above, Disney+ on the Apple TV offers an easy way to log in if you’ve already set up your account on an iPhone or iPad. Unlike most other streaming apps, which require entering a code on your TV, the Disney+ app can automatically log you in on your Apple TV when you have the mobile app open on the same Wi-Fi network.

Disney+ content inside Apple's TV app.

Disney+ content inside Apple’s TV app.

You can also connect the Disney+ app to Apple’s own TV app, enabling you to track everything you’re watching from Disney inside the TV app’s Up Next queue. You’ll see Disney+ shows and movies advertised inside TV’s Watch Now tab, where they can be added to your queue. This way, content from Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO, and other sources can all reside in one universal hub.

Unfortunately, Disney+ isn’t available as a channel inside the TV app, it only offers an app integration. What this means is that you’ll have to download the Disney+ app on all your devices to play the service’s content, whereas with channels content you can watch without needing a separate app. Also, whenever you initiate playback in TV you’ll be bumped out to the Disney+ app, making for a clunkier playback experience than you would have if the service was available as a channel.

The streaming wars are only just now starting to heat up, and the launch of Disney+ is a significant moment in those wars. While for some, the new service represents yet another video subscription they’re asked to pay for, it truly is remarkable that the dream of unbundling content from expensive cable or satellite packages is finally coming true.


Apple Releases Trailer for The Banker Arriving in Theaters December 6th and Streaming on Apple TV+ in January 2020

Apple has released a trailer for its upcoming movie, The Banker, on its Apple TV YouTube channel. The company describes the film as follows:

Based on a true story, “The Banker” centers on revolutionary businessmen Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) and Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson), who devise an audacious and risky plan to take on the racially oppressive establishment of the 1960s by helping other African Americans pursue the American dream. Along with Garrett’s wife Eunice (Nia Long), they train a working class white man, Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult), to pose as the rich and privileged face of their burgeoning real estate and banking empire – while Garrett and Morris pose as a janitor and a chauffeur. Their success ultimately draws the attention of the federal government, which threatens everything the four have built.

The film, which is rated PG-13, will be released in theaters December 6th and stream Apple TV+ in January 2020 following a similar pattern to The Elephant Queen and Hala which are also Apple Original movies. It’s an interesting approach and one that is likely designed to ensure the films are eligible for awards like the Oscars, while simultaneously creating marketing opportunities and viewer awareness in advance of their debut on TV+.


Apple TV+ Now Available: Here’s Its Full Launch Lineup

Apple TV+ is now available, a video subscription service that Apple has been working on for over two years now. The new streaming service debuts in over 100 countries, and can be accessed now inside the TV app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, and select smart TV manufacturers, as well as from tv.apple.com.

Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month, but all users are offered a 7-day free trial; also, anyone who has purchased a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, or iPod touch since September 10 will receive a free year of service. Finally, even if you don’t subscribe at all, Apple has made the first two episodes of all of its series available for free viewing in the TV app.

While the cost of entry is low for Apple TV+, what you get for the price is also fairly limited at the moment. Apple has branded TV+ “the first all-original video subscription service,” which means there’s no back catalog of legacy content, only brand new shows and movies that have never been released before. This angle could be spun as a positive thing in some respects, because many streaming consumers these days care most about new content, but it also means you can quickly watch everything TV+ has to offer and be stuck waiting for more content.

Here’s the full lineup of everything Apple TV+ offers today:

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Apple TV+ Review Roundup: Apple’s Originals Met with Mixed Reception

Apple’s streaming video service, Apple TV+, launches this Friday, November 1st. Ahead of its launch, today the first reviews dropped for the service’s tentpole originals: The Morning Show, See, For All Mankind, and Dickinson. Overall the critical takes are extremely mixed: though I haven’t seen any reviews that are outright negative, and there are a few which are very positive, the majority of reviews seem to lie somewhere in-between those two extremes.

For All Mankind appears the best-received Apple series, with Dickinson perhaps the second most-praised; however, that may be due to the added pressure placed on The Morning Show and See as Apple’s top two draws. Though many reviewers found things to praise about each show, such as Jennifer Aniston’s strong performance in The Morning Show, and the incredible visuals of See, the majority of their critical emphasis was on the ways these series fail to live up to high expectations.

One common note struck by reviewers is that with most Apple TV+ shows, only three episodes per series were provided for review, which made it difficult to adequately evaluate each first season. Perhaps tellingly, For All Mankind had the most episodes screened for critics, and it’s the most-praised show.

Below is a roundup of excerpts from various reviews that help provide a good overview of what to expect from Apple’s first original series.

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Apple’s TV App Arrives on Amazon Fire TV Devices

Benjamin Mayo, reporting for 9to5Mac:

Apple today released the Apple TV app for Amazon TV devices, starting with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the older HD model. Support for Amazon Fire TV Cube, Fire TV (3rd generation penchant design) and some other models is coming soon.

The TV app experience on Amazon’s platform mirrors the functionality of the Roku app, which launched last week. Users can watch their purchased iTunes movies and TV shows, access Apple TV Channel subscriptions and watch Apple TV+ content when the streaming service launches on November 1st.

This isn’t a surprise, as the impending launch of Apple TV+ meant all previously-announced TV app platforms were likely to arrive before November 1st. Now that the app is available on Roku and Fire TV devices, plus Samsung TVs, the only platforms still waiting for support are smart TV sets from LG, Vizio, and Sony.

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Roku Devices Gaining Apple TV App Today

Roku announced in a press release that the Apple TV app would be available on its streaming devices starting today:

For the first time ever, Roku users can add the Apple TV app via the Roku Channel Store to discover and watch movies, TV shows and more, including accessing their iTunes video library and subscribing to Apple TV channels directly on Roku devices. Starting November 1, Apple TV+, Apple’s home for all-original shows and movies from the world’s greatest storytellers, will be available on the Apple TV app on the Roku platform.

Like the TV app on Samsung smart TV sets, the Roku version of the app offers access to all iTunes movie and TV show content, as well as all Apple TV channels options, such as HBO, CBS All-Access, and soon Apple TV+. However, content from non-channels like Hulu or Amazon Prime Video, which are accessible on iOS and tvOS devices, will not be present on the Roku version of the TV app because it lacks third-party app integrations. Moving forward though, I expect that all of Apple’s new content partners with the TV app will be full-on channels rather than legacy app integrations.

Earlier this year Apple announced that the TV app would also be arriving on Amazon Fire TV devices and TV sets from more manufacturers, so as we get closer to the November 1 launch of Apple TV+, I expect we’ll see those other vendors all follow Roku’s lead.

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Apple Harnesses TV+ and the Books App to Launch Oprah’s Book Club

Earlier this year when Oprah Winfrey took the stage at Apple’s March event, she teased a book club project that would manifest in some way through Apple’s new TV+ service. Today in a press release, Apple has shared the full details about this new project, officially named Oprah’s Book Club, which will utilize both TV+ and Apple Books in a special cross-service format.

Apple and Oprah Winfrey today announced Oprah’s Book Club will connect a community of readers worldwide to stories that truly matter by today’s most thought-provoking authors. Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN, will partner with Apple to build a vibrant, global book club that has the power to both transport and transform people — turning every book into an opportunity for self-discovery, and bringing the world together through reading.

Winfrey’s first book selection is “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, available for pre-order now on Apple Books in both ebook and audiobook formats, and debuting tomorrow. Winfrey will interview Coates for the first installment of her new exclusive Apple TV+ series, “Oprah’s Book Club,” premiering November 1. A new episode will be available every two months. For every Oprah’s Book Club selection sold on Apple Books, Apple will make a contribution to the American Library Association to support local libraries, fund programs that give access to everyone and create lifelong readers at an early age.

As if the marriage of TV+ and Books for Oprah’s Book Club wasn’t enough, Apple’s also leveraging its business by hosting the very first of Oprah’s author interviews at none other than Apple Carnegie Library. Additionally, Apple News today is offering a special preview of Oprah’s first book selection. Now that’s some synergy.

It’s exciting to see Apple start to utilize its roster of services such that they complement one another. The company has dabbled in similar efforts before, like through its featuring of the World Cup last summer, but we haven’t seen anything as sustained and on-going as Oprah’s Book Club will be. I’m curious to see what other potential cross-overs Apple has planned moving forward.

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Apple TV+ Launching November 1 at $4.99/month, Free for 1 Year with Hardware Purchase

Today at the Steve Jobs Theater during a packed September event, Apple shared the launch details for its forthcoming video streaming service, Apple TV+. The paid subscription service will launch in over 100 countries on November 1, at a price of $4.99/month; a 7-day free trial period will be available to all users. Additionally, Apple is offering an entire year of free Apple TV+ service with the purchase of any iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, or iPod touch from today on.

On launch day, the selection of Apple Originals available on TV+ will be limited to the following:

  • See
  • The Morning Show
  • Dickinson
  • For All Mankind
  • Helpsters
  • Snoopy in Space
  • Ghostwriter
  • The Elephant Queen
  • Unspecified Oprah Winfrey projects

Most of these are shows, while The Elephant Queen is a documentary. We’ve seen trailers for some titles before, but today Apple debuted the first trailer for See, the big-budget series starring Jason Momoa. Apple has also highlighted some of its other Originals in a press release, which it says will be added on a monthly basis. Other content includes the show “Servant” from M. Night Shyamalan and the award-winning film “Hala.”

With Apple’s shows, most series will debut three episodes at launch, with new episodes released weekly thereafter. However, some series will drop full seasons at once, following the Netflix-style binge model.

After launching, Apple TV+ will be available inside the TV app everywhere that app lives, including iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Macs, and select third-party television sets and streaming sticks. Notably, Apple also announced today that you’ll be able to watch TV+ content on the web too, by visiting tv.apple.com. TV+ will be available as a channel inside the TV app, so just like with other channels such as HBO and CBS All-Access, you can easily subscribe with just a couple steps using your Apple ID, and you’ll receive all the playback benefits guaranteed for channels: no ads ever, offline downloads on iOS, Picture in Picture on supported devices, and you can share your subscription at no additional cost with your whole household through Family Sharing.

As part of the global launch for TV+, Apple Originals will be available dubbed and subtitled, according to Apple’s press release:

Audiences worldwide can enjoy Apple TV+ originals subtitled and/or dubbed in nearly 40 languages, including Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) or closed captions. Apple TV+ series and movies will also be available with audio descriptions in eight languages.


Apple TV+ first debuted at Apple’s services-oriented event this March, but aside from teasing some of its shows and stating that it would be accessible from the TV app, the company revealed few details about the service at that time. Six months later, our questions have finally been answered. As the streaming service market begins to heat up, with players like Disney+ and HBO Max launching soon, and incumbents such as Netflix ramping up their content budget, there will be no shortage of TV options for consumers. However, Apple hopes that its focus on quality over quantity – combined with the benefits of a unifying TV app – will make Apple TV+ stand out in the streaming wars. If it can build a reputation that matches its ambitions, with every show and movie earning critical acclaim, then the company has a shot. But only time will tell if such a bold feat can be accomplished.


You can follow all of our Apple event coverage through our September 10, 2019 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated September 10, 2019 RSS feed.


Apple’s New TV Strategy Might Just Work

It’s been a very significant week for Apple’s TV efforts. On Monday the company debuted its first full-length trailer for an Apple TV+ original; that trailer was for The Morning Show, which has long been destined as a tentpole title for Apple. From what I’ve seen online, the trailer has been well-received, aided by an aggressive marketing push on YouTube and Twitter.

While The Morning Show’s first full trailer is a big occasion, and we’ll likely start seeing promos for other Apple TV+ shows soon with its fall launch fast approaching, the most important TV news in Apple’s week came from Disney.

Disney announced that its Disney+ streaming service would launch with native iOS and tvOS apps, which will use Apple’s In-App Purchase system for subscriptions, and the service will be “fully integrated with the Apple TV app.” Depending on your interpretation of that quote, Disney didn’t technically announce that Disney+ would be a channel in the TV app, but “fully integrated” is a strong phrase, and since Disney’s adopting Apple’s In-App Purchase system and integrating in some way with TV already, there’s virtually no reason to think it won’t be a full-fledged channel.

Following these two key events – the marketing push for Apple TV+ starting to gain steam, and Disney+ partnering with Apple in a key way – I’ve been reflecting on what Apple’s future in TV may hold.

We’ve known since March what the company’s TV strategy entailed: putting the TV app everywhere as an aggregator, bolstered by channels and Apple TV+. With the TV app Apple can do something that no one else seems to be trying: control the full stack of TV experience through integrating hardware, software, and services – the classic Apple playbook. But Apple needs partners to make this vision a reality. Without TV app commitments from big players like Netflix or Disney, it was unlikely that Apple’s strategy could ever find success. Signing Disney+, however, changes everything.

Absent Disney, failure seemed inevitable. The lack of both Netflix and Disney+ would have been a death blow to Apple’s plans. But with the home of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars now on board, I’m starting to think Apple’s TV strategy might just work. Here’s why.

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