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We didn’t just hear about the iPhone 11 and Apple Watch Series 5 at Apple’s special September event – the company also unveiled more long-awaited details concerning its two upcoming services: TV+ and Arcade.
Coming to a screen near you
At the Steve Jobs Theatre at its Cupertino, California campus, Apple unveiled the launch date for its paid movie and TV streaming service, TV+. The upcoming service is set to launch on Nov. 1, and it’ll carry a monthly price tag of $4.99 – though a seven-day trial period is going to be available for all users. In a surprise move, Apple also announced that anyone who purchases a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV from Sept. 10 onwards will receive a whole year of TV+ entirely free of charge.
That all sounds great, but what are you going to be able to watch? Well, from launch day, a number of “Apple Originals” will be available to stream as part of TV+. These include The Morning Show, Dickinson, For All Mankind, Hipsters, Snoopy in Space, Ghostwriter, See, and The Elephant Queen. And in terms of availability, some whole seasons will drop at once (cue the binge-watching!), while others will have new episodes released on a weekly basis.
Of course, these titles aren’t all Apple is offering with TV+. More content will be added regularly – Apple outlined five future titles in a press release, including M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant, a psychological thriller, and The Banker, a feature film inspired by a true story. It’s clear that while Apple’s focus with TV+ is on commissioning high-quality original content, this doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck with nothing to watch after a month or two.
You’ll be able to access TV+ from within the TV app – so it’ll be available on iOS, macOS, Apple TVs, and some third-party sets and streaming sticks. Users will be able to subscribe with their Apple ID and this subscription can be shared with your family at no additional cost through Family Sharing. It was great to hear that much like Apple Music, TV+ is going to be available in a dedicated Web app, too, at tv.apple.com. This means users should be able to access their TV+ content from any computer connected to the Internet.
And as you’d expect, Apple has accessibility in mind with TV+. From launch, all Apple Originals will include either Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) or closed captions, audio descriptions (in eight languages), and all originals will be subtitled and/or dubbed in nearly 40 languages.
So keep watch – TV+ is coming to a screen near you on Nov. 1 and it’ll be available free for a one-week trial (with a monthly fee of $4.99 thereafter). It’s going to be interesting to see how Apple’s focus of quality over quantity – combined with the affordable price tag – fares with consumers.
Get your game on
TV+ wasn’t the only service Apple discussed at its September event – we also learned more about Apple Arcade, the game subscription service announced earlier this year, which brings a hand-picked selection of over 100 new and exclusive games to iOS and macOS.
The good news for gamers is that Apple Arcade is launching on Sept. 30 on iOS and iPadOS, and in October on macOS Catalina. It’ll cost $4.99 per month but launches with a generous one-month free trial.
As expected, the service offers games which feature no ads or in-app purchases; instead, users pay one fee and get full and unrestricted access to the content on offer. In a lot of ways, Arcade is much like TV+ for games – Apple’s focus is again on exclusive content, and according to senior vice president Phil Schiller, “many of the most innovative game developers in the world” have prepared titles for the service.
Arcade will be available to access via a dedicated tab in the iOS App Store and Mac App Store. On Apple TV, it’ll be available inside a new tvOS app. Once subscribed, users can share access to Apple Arcade with up to six family members (using Family Sharing), and game progress will be synced between devices using iCloud. Apple noted that the games available in Apple Arcade will not require an Internet connection to be played – this is great news for those of us who enjoy a spot of iOS gaming while commuting.
In the App Store, the upcoming Apple Arcade tab (which you’ll see in iOS 13) will offer special game-related editorial content, recommendations, and trailers for new and upcoming titles. And Apple promised that while the catalog is set to launch with over 100 new and exclusive titles, this number will increase in the coming weeks – more games are set to be added each month.
It’s clear that what we’re seeing with both services – TV+ and Arcade – is Apple defining itself as a provider of quality content. In the same way that Apple enthusiasts have long celebrated the quality and finish of its products, like the iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch, Apple’s subscription services are being promoted as the place to go for exclusive, high-quality, artistic content, the likes of which you’d struggle to find elsewhere. It’s a great position for the company to take and may help its video streaming service, in particular, stand out from an already crowded market.
So, be sure to make a note of the dates: TV+ launches on Nov. 1 for $4.99 following a one-week trial; Arcade launches on Sept. 30 (on iOS) for $4.99 following a one-month trial, and will be available on macOS in October.