Apple is putting iTunes on Samsung and AirPlay on LG, Vizio, Sony TVs

iTunes app displayed on a Samsung TV
iTunes app displayed on a Samsung TV (Image credit: iMore)

Apple is putting iTunes on Samsung Smart TVs. I'm going to just keep going while you let that sink in...

"We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favorite content on the biggest screen in their home," — Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, on what can only be termed a bombshell announcement from Samsung just a short time ago.

Don't read, watching the video is much better. So, hit play and subscribe for more.

UPDATE 1: Apple has a new AirPlay 2 page live and highlights include more TVs coming with AirPlay 2, Siri functionality so you can tell your iPhone to play a movie on our Apple TV, and an updated AirPlay controller for iOS.

UPDATE 2: Vizio is adding AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support to their VIZIO SmartCast TVs.

UPDATED 3: LG has also announced AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support for 2019 televisions.

UPDATED 4: Sony has now announced AirPlay 2 and HomeKit for Sony Z9G Series, A9G Series and X950G Series TVs.

UPDATE 5: Here's the complete list of TVs that'll feature AirPlay + HomeKit:

  • LG OLED (2019) Announced
  • LG NanoCell SM9X series (2019) Announced
  • LG NanoCell SM8X series (2019) Announced
  • LG UHD UM7X series (2019) Announced
  • Samsung QLED Series (2019 and 2018) Announced
  • Samsung 8 Series (2019 and 2018) Announced
  • Samsung 7 Series (2019 and 2018) Announced
  • Samsung 6 Series (2019 and 2018) Announced
  • Samsung 5 Series (2019 and 2018) Announced
  • Samsung 4 Series (2019 and 2018) Announced
  • Sony Z9G Series (2019) Announced
  • Sony A9G Series (2019) Announced
  • Sony X950G Series (2019) Announced
  • Sony X850G Series (2019 85", 75", 65" and 55" models) Announced
  • Vizio P-Series Quantum (2019 and 2018) Announced
  • Vizio P-Series (2019, 2018 and 2017) Announced
  • Vizio M-Series (2019, 2018 and 2017) Announced
  • Vizio E-Series (2019, 2018 and 2017) Announced
  • Vizio D-series (2019, 2018 and 2017) Announced

Here's the rest of Samsung's announcement, along with some comments and thoughts from yours truly:

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.announced today it will offer iTunes Movies and TV Shows and Apple AirPlay 2 support on 2019 Samsung Smart TV models beginning this spring. Support on 2018 Samsung Smart TVs will be made available via firmware update. In an industry first, a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app will debut only on Samsung Smart TVs in more than 100 countries. AirPlay 2 support will be available on Samsung Smart TVs in 190 countries worldwide.

So, Apple opening up a firehose to Samsung and letting them make a crappy SmartTV apps to showcase iTunes content is inconceivable to me, so, what it sounds like we have here, which up until today I would have said sounded only slightly less inconceivable, is Apple making iTunes for Samsung the way it makes iTunes for Windows. Yeah, insert Steve Jobs glass of water in hell joke, only now there are so many other glasses of water in the industry, can we even call it hell any more?

With the new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app on Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung customers can access their existing iTunes library and browse the iTunes Store to buy or rent from a selection of hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes — including the largest selection of 4K HDR movies. iTunes Movies and TV Shows will work seamlessly with Samsung's Smart TV Services, such as Universal Guide, the New Bixby and Search, to create a consistent experience across Samsung's platform.

That's a lot of integration right there. And from Samsung, which is Apple's biggest rival in the smartphone space and the company that Apple spent years suing for, basically, ripping off Apple designs.

But Samsung isn't really one company. It's a conglomerate of different companies that all license the Samsung name. Even as Apple was suing Samsung Mobile, it was buying parts from Samsung LSI. And Samsung is a huge player in the TV space so, if Apple wants eyeballs, it's an incredibly efficient place to put all that porting effort. Even if Samsung TVs run Tizen, not Android...

And unlike Windows, it's not the only big player in town. So, this may be just the beginning.

With AirPlay 2 support, Samsung customers will be able to effortlessly play videos, photos, music, podcasts and more from Apple devices directly to Samsung Smart TVs, including QLED 4K and 8K TVs, The Frame and Serif lifestyle TVs, as well as other Samsung UHD and HD models.

Here's a question: Will Samsung phones get AirPlay 2 now as well?

Now, all of this may come as a bit of a surprise. But it shouldn't really. Apple is getting ready to ramp up its original TV content. The video version of Apple Music. And Apple Music has always been available on Android and has recently been made available on Amazon Echo as well.

Which, yeah, was another head scratcher if not full on pea-soup spitting spinner as well.

But, in light of the saturationing — which is what I'm gonna keep calling the maturing of the smartphone market — Apple isn't just about making the iPhone more and more valuable through more and more exclusive content any more. It's about getting value from that content beyond iPhone exclusivity.

That's always included Apple Music and now it looks like it's going to include Apple video as well, and, who knows, maybe Apple's new Texture-based Magazine and News service as well.

Would Apple do that with iMessage and FaceTime for Android or Windows? People pay and subscribe directly for Apple Music and iTunes content. Would people pay and subscribe directly for iMessage or FaceTime? I don't know. You tell me.

Why didn't Apple just build its own television set? Apple did. A couple of them. But Apple never saw them as a viable product that had a real go-to-market that made any sense, and so they never left the lab. Or at least Jony Ive's Super Bowl… er… rugby World Cup parties?

Now, news is so fresh, so new, so interesting, that it's going to take me a while to sift through all the angles and figure out where it's all going. Also, since CES is happening this week in Vegas, I have a sneaky suspicion there may be a few more announcements on the way.

If and when that happens, I'll add the updates right here, so check back often.

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.