CUPERTINO, Calif.—It’s been a long time and many rumors coming, but Apple has finally unveiled its streaming video service. Dubbed Apple TV+, the service combines some aspects of existing players in the space like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.
At the vanguard of Apple TV+ is Apple’s own original programming. The company reportedly spent $ 1 billion developing TV shows and films to include on the service. Upon announcing the streaming service, Apple showed a video featuring the numerous artists it worked with to create original content for the service—filmmakers including Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, as well as actors including Reese Witherspoon and Octavia Spencer.
These creators and actors serve as the foundation for Apple TV+, thanks to all the original content they have created (and will continue to create) for the service. Steven Spielberg took Apple’s stage to talk about the reboot of Amazing Stories, a sci-fi anthology series that Spielberg hopes will “transport the audience with every episode.”
Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston followed up by talking about their new series, The Morning Show, which pulls back the curtain of the many morning news shows with which people wake up every day. The show will “take an honest look at the complex relationships between women and men in the workplace,” according to Aniston. They were later joined on stage by actor Steve Carell, who is also a part of the show.
Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard were ushered to the stage to detail See, a futuristic sci-fi series in which the world’s inhabitants have gone without sight for as long as they can remember.
Another anthology series will come from Kumail Nanjiani, one of the writers behind the hit movie The Big Sick. The series, dubbed Little America, will focus on “everyday life stuff” of immigrants in the United States. Rather than focusing on exceptionality, which many immigrant stories do, Little America will focus on the small things that immigrants in America accomplish every day. The majority of the writers on the show are the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves.
Sesame Street‘s Big Bird also flocked to Apple’s stage to announce a new TV series for kids called Helpsters. Its famous cast of characters will help kids solve problems using coding and emphasizing the importance of computer programming in kids’ education.
Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and director J.J. Abrams came together to create Little Voice, a series about a 20-something musician trying to find her way and make it in New York City. The series will feature original music by the Grammy- and Tony-nominated Bareilles.
To close out the on-stage appearances, Oprah Winfrey talked about two documentary projects she has in the works for Apple TV+. The first, dubbed Toxic Labor, will explore the toll of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace, while the other unnamed series will tackle mental health issues.
The new Apple TV app
Apple clearly wanted to emphasize the star power behind TV+, as those mentioned above were only a handful of partners making originals for the new streaming service. As with most other TV streaming services, Apple TV+ is an ad-free subscription service, and paying for it gives you access to all of Apple’s originals. The service will be available in over 100 countries starting this fall.
New content will live in Apple’s new TV app, which will initially be available to iPhone and iPad users this May through a software update. The updated TV app aggregates all the different sources of video content that people have, including subscription services like Hulu, live-TV cable subscriptions from the likes of Direct TV and Spectrum, and new offerings through Apple TV Channels.
Similar to Amazon’s new Channels service, Apple TV Channels lets users pay for individual network subscriptions like HBO, Starz, and Showtime directly through the new TV app. In addition to only paying for the channels that you want, the new Apple TV app puts all of that content in one place so you don’t have to jump from app to app to watch different content.
The new TV app also features a new Kids panel that collects a bunch of kid- and family-friendly content, including shows like Sesame Street and movies like Big Hero 6. After the initial May rollout of the new Apple TV app to mobile devices and Apple Channels, the company will bring the new app to macOS later this year. Also later this year, the app will come to smart TVs, like those made by Samsung and LG and platforms including Roku and Amazon.
Apple unveiled its TV streaming service today alongside two new offerings that bolster its overall services business. Apple News+ is a $ 10-per-month news and magazine subscription that gives you access to more than 300 publications, including Wired, GQ, the Los Angeles Times, and more from within the Apple News app. Apple Arcade is the company’s first gaming service, and it gives subscribers access to more than 100 games across iOS, macOS, and Apple TV devices.
Apple News+ is available today, while Apple Arcade, for which pricing is still unknown, will be available this fall.