Ditching cable for streaming once made a lot more sense. Unfortunately, rising prices and a proliferation of services have forced many to rethink their streaming needs. No, we're not about to see a resurgence for cable or satellite. But, as inflation begins to eat into the family budget, and prices for some services rise, cutting out some streaming services now seems inevitable. When the saw comes out, there's one package you shouldn't say goodbye to — Apple TV+.
First introduced in November 2019, Apple TV+ was never designed to have as much content as Netflix, Disney+, or HBO Max. The reason for the small (but growing) Apple TV+ library is one of its biggest appeals. The streaming service is about providing first-run content that can't be found anywhere else online. For this, subscribers are now being asked to pay just $5 per month.
By now, I mean Cupertino has finally put the breaks on a very generous COVID-related plan that saw Apple TV+ subscribers never having to pay for the service. That's no longer the case. Subscribers, who got a free one-year membership with any hardware purchase, which Apple extended for several months, must now pay a monthly or yearly fee to keep the service. At the same time, the free one-year membership for new hardware buyers (and new subscribers only) has been cut to three months.
Why should you pay for Apple TV+? I have many reasons, but let's stick with the $5 theme and go with five.
5. Integration and family
I don't think Tim Cook ever expects Apple to make a profit on Apple TV+. And yet, the service is accessible in such a way that benefits both sides. Apple TV the app, the digital vehicle for Apple TV+, is available across multiple Apple devices, including the best iPhone, plus iPad, Apple TV, and Mac. That says nothing about the availability of the service on other devices such as smart TVs and gaming consoles, and other streaming boxes. In other words, Apple TV+ can be seen everywhere, which is convenient for subscribers and a great marketing tool for the company.
It also helps that an Apple TV+ subscription includes Family Sharing, which means a family of five can watch the service for just $1 each per month.
4. Apple Originals
Apple TV+ has come a long way since Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon introduced the service to the world with The Morning Show. Though COVID wreaked havoc on the early product schedule for many early Apple series (including a long delay for the second season of The Morning Show), that bottleneck has largely been resolved.
In recent weeks, the service introduced new content across various categories, including the odd Mr. Corman, dramedy Physical, and the truly original, Schmigadoon! In the coming weeks, See and The Morning Show return for second seasons, while new content from Tom Hanks (in the film Finch, seen above), Vince Vaughn, and many others is in the pipeline. And don't forget, the heavily-anticipated Foundation is just a few weeks away from making its first season debut.
By my count, 21 drama series, 10 comedy series, and four kid-friendly series have launched, and that doesn't count the many well-received documentaries, variety shows, co-productions, and original films.
3. Coming attractions
Though I mentioned many of the headliners above, there is a lot of other new content coming to Apple TV+ in the coming months. These series and films should rise to the top, not because of star power but rather its unique theme.
In November, for example, Tom Hanks returns to Apple TV+ following last year's successful Greyhound to star in Finch, about a man, a robot, and a dog. Meanwhile, Masters of Air, which has no announced release date, is a war-based precursor to HBO's very popular Band of Brothers and The Pacific.
On the comedy front, The Afterparty hopes to break out for anyone who has ever dreaded going to a class reunion. But, there's a twist: it's a murder mystery comedy!
There's also a growing library of unscripted content set to make debuts in 2022 and beyond.
2. Ted Lasso
This brings us to Ted Lasso, probably the best Apple TV+ series to date. In its second season, the British-based comedy is fun and relevant and appeals to viewers of all ages. The Peabody Award winner received the most Primetime Emmy Award nominations for any comedy series this year. Its 20 nominations towered over the other 15 nominations other Apple Originals titles received.
Ted Lasso is reason enough to subscribe to Apple TV+, and as the first Apple TV+ series to be awarded renewals for two additional seasons, it's likely to stick around for many years to come.
Did I mention just how awesome the Christmas episode was just last week?
And finally, we'll end with the price of the service. While companies like Netflix and Disney continue to raise prices for their streaming services, Apple is only now getting around to actually charging for its service. So I don't expect we'll see the $5 monthly price change anytime soon. (Apple TV+ is also available as part of an Apple One bundle.)
Again, I don't think anyone expects the service to make money, at least in the immediate future. As long as the mother ship continues to sell millions of iPhones and other devices each year, it will stick with Apple TV+ and give it the time necessary to make it a winner.
Why have you stayed with Apple TV+? Or did you cancel your subscription?