Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022
When Apple TV+ came out on November 1, it didn't include all of these original series, thanks to the
enlarge When Apple TV+ came out on November 1, it didn’t include all of these original series, thanks to the “soft launch.”

When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, it was the first of four major video streaming services to launch between then and May of the following year. It was also one of the riskiest of the set, coming from a company that had no experience making entertainment whatsoever. With the service’s 90-day mark fast approaching, it’s time to measure the temperature of Apple TV+.

And yes, it is freezing cold. But is Apple TV+ really as dead in the water as it seems? And what do we expect for the rest of the first year?

So many devices, so little excitement

From the get-go, Apple seemed like an odd addition to a roster of players, all of whom were already creating content. Apple has never been more interested in producing its own fare than in using others’ content to promote its closed hardware ecosystem. But that hardware component was Apple’s claim to participate in the derby. The company has two billion devices in its pocket worldwide. If just 10 percent of those users signed up after getting a year of free Apple TV+ with the purchase of a device, the company would gain 200 million subscribers worldwide, dwarfing Netflix’s 158 million.

But 10 percent may be an ambitious range. Disney+ (launched two weeks after Apple TV+) or NBC Peacock and HBO Max (as of April and May 2020, respectively) have or will come with massive libraries of movies and TV shows, highlighting their family-friendly fare to bolster their subscription appeal dollars. (Disney+ is most obviously focused on “family” at this point, but both NBC and HBO have also focused on kids’ offerings for their upcoming services.) Apple TV+, on the other hand, launched with just four shows, all brand new originals focused. at an adult level audience, with nothing in addition that would appeal to an audience of all ages.

This proved reckless when even the best of Apple TV+ offerings, Dickinson and For all mankind came with caveats not to take it too seriously or that it started off slow. The most ambitious project, To seewas a masturbation disaster while the star studded morning show was hardly mediocre. Even a few humble nods from the Golden Globes to the Hollywood A-list stars of the morning show like Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon didn’t do much to spark interest — at least, not in the shadow of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon’s year of award-winning, streaming-only content.

Second seasons already?

Apple TV+ was also taken over by the much more successful launch of Disney+ with The Mandalorian† The very first Star Wars live-action series drained the streaming space, leaving Apple struggling to grab anyone’s attention with follow-up shows like Servant, despite a great cast and M. Night Shyamalan’s name plastered on it. (The lawsuit that followed) Servant“The first season doesn’t help either.) Perhaps the most damning problem is that Apple hasn’t built itself to be an agile player, despite the small amount of shows. Confident it had the next big thing, the company gave the green light for the second seasons of all its launch shows beforehand, essentially committing itself to these vague dud titles for at least another year.

Now the service is launching what is arguably the best series yet, Little Americafrom The big sick writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon along with Lee Eisenberg of The office fame. The docu-series is “inspired by true stories in Epic Magazine” about the immigrant experience in modern America. For the first time on Apple TV+, all 10 episodes will appear at once, rather than a weekly release schedule, in the hopes of getting more attention.

But again, the timing is terrible: Little America arrived all 12 hours after Peacock announced a free, ad-supported tier for its streaming service, making it a less expensive option than Apple TV+ at $4.99 a month.

What Apple TV+ needs now is a return to the parent company’s comfort zone: the hardware. Apple TV+ has its own “free” tier: a year of service for anyone who buys or upgrades their Apple product. The average upgrade time for a smartphone is approximately every 2.8 years, and in the case of Apple products, that period can be even longer. But iPhone and iPad users are more likely to do it if Apple rolls out a must-have product. MacRumors suggests that this is the year the company will adopt 5G and fully OLED. (We know why 2019 wasn’t.) Apple’s Tim Cook can use the company’s regularly scheduled product reveal events to persuade consumers to buy. That would get Apple TV+ for free; it can be enough to leave shows like Little America through word of mouth.

The loss of HBO Max is…

Meanwhile, Cook recently took the first step to straighten out this ship in the longer term: hiring Richard Plepler. After 25 years at HBO, Plepler, who had a hand in making everything green from Game of Thrones until succession, left the company following AT&T’s acquisition of parent company Time Warner. Cook caught it in one of the first major news announcements of the new year, and it’s the first good news Apple TV+ has gotten since launch. The streaming service is still a while away, but there is still hope.

In the meantime, 2020 is going to be a long, hard slog, filled with dodgy shows like the upcoming one Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet† (You can only pray the show is better than the trailer.) I hope a free year with purchase/upgrade will slowly build the foundation, so when content worth subscribing comes out, Mac, iPad — and iPhone users are there to start streaming.

This article has been updated to reflect studies on the hardware upgrade cycles of average users.

By akfire1

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