Television is in the midst of a revolution. Streaming media has changed the landscape in a way that hasn’t been seen since the early advent of cable. And while streaming services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix are dominating the scene, it’s too lucrative a market to not draw in a flood of competitors. It should come as a surprise to almost no one that tech giant Apple is throwing their hat into the ring, but the form their streaming ambitions are taking were outlined by Tim Cook in late March, and it’s an intriguing change of pace from some of the established standards.
From lightning cables to their closed operating systems, Apple has long been a company that’s trafficked in proprietary technology, but the new Apple TV+ seems to be breaking away from the same philosophy of a closed ecosystem. The Apple TV app is expanding compatibility with TVs from a number of other manufacturers. The Apple TV app looks to be a refreshingly open platform, a big change from the company’s standard policies. A Channel section provides access to more traditional programming from more traditional and established networks like HBO, CBS, and Comedy Central but lets you pick and choose your providers in a way that traditional cable services don’t. It will also provide users with access to all the TV they’ve downloaded from the Apple Store. But the biggest game changer is the company’s original content which will be similar in its approach to streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime and accessible through its own section of the Apple TV app.
Streaming services have been paying exorbitant sums to content creators for exclusive deals, but Apple’s announcement of content partners is newsworthy even by those standards. Their stable of partners include legendary directors like Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard as well as celebrated actors like Octavia Spencer. And this first taste of the upcoming lineup suggests a diverse portfolio that ranges from intimate stories to blockbusters. Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, and Jennifer Aniston will be headlining a drama called The Morning Show, while comedian Kumail Nanjiani is spearheading a project called Little America that focuses on the immigrant experience. Bringing potential competition to genre blockbusters like Game of Thrones and Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series is a sci-fi series called See starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard.
While some of the more granular details still aren’t known, Cook announced that Apple’s new streaming service will be ad-free and launching in over a hundred countries in the fall.