Apple TV+ launched early Friday morning, but it's already got a lot wrong. With Apple aiming to compete with Netflix, Disney, Hulu and Amazon (just to name a few), Apple TV+ is the latest combatant in the streaming wars, but it hasn't had the strongest start.
Apple TV+ went live on November 1. The service offers a free year to any customer who has purchased an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV box or Mac since September 1, and will cost everyone else $4.99 a month. This approach should provide ease of access to the hundreds of millions of Apple users around the world (making the subscription a no-brainer for them). According to Apple, the steaming service is available in over 100 countries. While the tech giant will benefit from this advertised affordability and Apple customer bias, that’s really all it has going for it.
Apple TV+’s limited library only contains TV series and movies made by Apple; its slate of only nine shows includes See, Dickinson, The Morning Show, For All Mankind and Oprah's Book Club. With big names like Jason Mamoa, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell and Hailee Steinfeld attached to these projects its clear Apple has no problem investing in talent. Those shows are getting mixed reviews (with some very negative), and the rest of their library is relatively dismissible. In addition to this, all of the episodes aren’t being dropped immediately (like most streaming services) and accessing the app is confusing for customers otherwise unfamiliar with it, and some Apple TV owners have even been experiencing repeated crashing when browsing in the app.
Apple TV+'s slim selection of content will gradually grow; M. Night Shyamalan's mystery thriller Servant arrives November 28 and Spielberg's Amazing Stories reboot is in the works as well. However, the service’s unimpressive library almost negates its availability worldwide and cheap price. Disney + is set to launch in two weeks fully loaded with big-name franchises (Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar), nostalgia, hundreds of movies and television shows for only $7 a month. Disney's already proven content only adds to its overshadowing of Apple TV+, with the former's launch not having happened but already more impressive than Apple's. Unless Apple produces an assembly line of masterpieces, they might be at risk of meeting a fate similar to that of PlayStation Vue.
Netflix has set the standard for streaming with 150+ million global subscribers at (now) $16 a month. It should come as no surprise that Apple has spent way more money promoting the new iPhone than Apple TV+. The conglomerate has thrown their hat into the ring of battling streaming services and hoping for the best, without banking on it. Apple TV+ is clearly trying to stumble upon a handful of shows the caliber of a Stranger Things or Game of Thrones. If that doesn’t happen, the service’s unfamiliar interface and small library will be its downfall. Investing in top-tier filmmakers and attaching year-long subscription gimmicks to the service won’t be enough to keep it alive.