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Apple announces streaming services, Apple TV Plus and Apple TV Channels, for fall

Both services put Apple in the middle of the TV streaming wars

Apple logo illustration Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Apple has finally unveiled details of its upcoming streaming service, dubbed Apple TV Plus, the company announced at its entertainment-focused event on Monday morning. The company also showed its new Apple TV Channels app which will bundle together streaming channels and services from a variety of other networks and providers. The service, which will also feature original serialized and film content from Apple, and be available to stream content on Apple TV, Macs, and iPhones. The service is also coming to smart TVs from brands like Samsung, then later in the year LG, Sony and Vizio, as well as Roku and Amazon Fire.

While Apple didn’t give a specific price point for the service, they did announce that it would be an ad-free subscription service with all content available online or as a download to watch offline. Apple TV Plus will arrive later this fall.

Apple announced that Apple TV Channels will bring together over 25 different networks and streaming services together into the service’s bundle. Among these channels are larger streaming platforms like CBS All Access and Hulu as well as smaller more boutique services like Mubi. Also included will be more traditional networks like HBO, which can be bundle for an additional price.

Apple TV Channels partners

Through Apple TV plus, Apple is also adding its own original programming to the streaming line up. While this is the first we’ve actually heard of Apple’s new streaming service we already know plenty of details about the shows that will be on the channel thanks to the major production deals the company has made over the last several months.

La La Land director Damien Chazelle will create a series for Apple; so will M. Night Shyamalan. Bigger projects include an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation science fiction trilogy and a new sci-fi epic starring Jason Momoa. Also on the way is a series about a morning show that’s set to star Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, and Jennifer Aniston, making her first real return to television since Friends.

Apple’s announcement sets the company apart in a packed streaming environment. With Disney set to launch the Disney Plus service later this year with a robust back catalog of content, and WarnerMedia threatening to announce its own over-the-top service any day now, with a likely launch date sometime in 2020, every major media company is looking to get into the streaming business. Rather than launching their own standalone service, however, Apple is opting to rely on the strength of its full offering and partnerships with other channels to set it apart from the competition.

With all this content on offer from so many different services, Apple is more than aware that choice can be overwhelming. In response, the company has created a state-of-the-art machine learning program to help create customized recommendations within the Apple TV Channels app for every user.

But, while the streaming options may be plentiful, there’s no company that can put money behind projects and partnerships quite like Apple. The company’s hope is that through the ubiquity of its devices, it’s variety of other streaming service offerings, and the strength of its original programming, Apple TV Channels will be able to make a place for itself in the streaming world.

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