Apple TV+ officially launched today. How much does it cost? How can you get it? And are the original series any good? We were given advance access to some of the most talked about series to give you the feedback and details. But first, the essentials.
How Much Will It Cost?
The biggest question on potential subscribers' minds is how much will it cost? As we continue to add more and more subscription-based services to our monthly bills, from streaming TV to streaming music, cloud-based storage, security camera monitoring, and more, every bit counts. So how much will Apple TV+ add to the bottom line?
Apple TV+ is available at a pretty reasonable cost of $5.99/mo. in Canada, which equates to $72 annually. It's actually slightly less with the seven-day free trial - yes, you'll only get a week versus an entire month to try out this service. Once subscribed, service will automatically renew until you manually cancel it.
There is an incentive for those who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod Touch, or Mac starting September 10, 2019: you'll get one-year of Apple TV+ for free. The offer is good for three months after eligible device activation, starting November 1, 2019, and will be available for a limited time.
There is also a special student deal that will afford eligible and verified college students subscribed to an Apple Music student plan free access to Apple TV+ for a limited time. This includes students who have signed up for the Apple Music student plan prior to the launch of Apple TV+. Students can sign in with their Apple ID to the Apple TV app or on tv.apple.com. This offer does not extend to a Family Sharing group student from around the world with a free subscription through the app or website.
Where to Watch
You can access Apple TV+ from the Apple TV app, which is accessible on all iOS devices, including iPhones, iPad, Apple TV (third generation and up), iPod Touch, and Mac, as well as select Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV devices, Roku devices, and online via tv.apple.com via the Safari, Chrome, and FireFox web browsers.
Customers with AirPlay 2-enabled Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs can play Apple Originals from the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac directly to their smart TVs. Note, however, that you must update to iOS 12.3 or later or macOS Catalina to play Apple TV+ originals from the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac directly to their smart TVs.
With Family Sharing, up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription and watch using their own Apple ID and password on their own devices.
The Apple TV app will come to LG, Sony, and Vizio platforms in the future. Customers with eligible Sony smart TVs will be able to enjoy AirPlay 2 support later this year.
Audiences worldwide can stream Apple TV+ originals subtitled and/or dubbed in nearly 40 languages, including Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) or closed captions. Apple Originals are also available with audio descriptions in eight languages.
What Original Programming is Available?
Apple is coming out of the gate with a ton of original series crossing different genres, including The Morning Show, See, For All Mankind, Dickinson, Helpsters, Snoopy in Space, and Ghostwriter, as well as the documentary film The Elephant Queen and the first installment of Oprah's Book Club, featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates as her guest discussing his novel The Water Dancer.
We had the chance to check out The Morning Show, See, For All Mankind, and Dickinson in advance of the launch. Here are short synopses and our initial thoughts on each.
The Morning Show
The show is about a morning television show that finds itself embroiled in drama when the male co-host, played by Steve Carell, is fired due to sexual misconduct. His long-time co-host, played by Jennifer Aniston, is distraught and left to figure out her career now that the partner she worked with for 15 years, and with whom she shared great on-screen chemistry, is gone. Meanwhile, she crosses paths with a hungry, young and outspoken local news reporter, played by Reese Witherspoon, who could be her mortal enemy or saving grace. Thanks to the star-studded cast and compelling storyline that's eerily similar to another recent event in the world of morning shows (you'll figure it out after watching episode one), it's a great series that will leave you wanting more by the end of each episode. While female empowerment is a big theme, it's not an in-your-face presentation of feminism by any means. It's worth giving this series a shot, even if you think it might not be for you.
Slightly reminiscent of Game of Thrones, not only because Jason Momoa heads up the cast playing a character that's similar, in some ways, to his GoT character Khal Drogo, this drama has a really interesting premise: a virus has wiped out all humanity's ability to see, and the entire world has become blind. This has been the way of life for so long in this dystopian future world that the concept of sight is completely foreign and considered to be evil withcraft. When twin babies are born with the ability to see, they become public enemy number-one and must be protected at all costs. If you liked Game of Thrones, including its intense fight scenes and gratuitous violence, this show might appeal to you. After watching only one episode, I'm left on the fence as to whether this show can really fly or might peter out before the season ends. That said, I'll be tuning in again to see how the story pans out.
The best way to describe this series is weird. It combines both modern aspects, including the way the characters speak, background music, and some other elements, with a backdrop of the 1800s time period. Telling the tale of the life of poet Emily Dickinson, played by Hailee Steinfeld, we see a young Emily as she navigates life as a rebellious teenage girl who simply wants to write poetry, not wear frilly dresses and fetch pails of water. The eccentric and unconventional girl also has an obsession with death. It's hard to peg this series as falling under one specific genre. Is it a period peace? Is it a teen coming-of-age story? It's sort of both? If you're into series like Anne of Green Gables and Little House of the Prairie, but also Gilmore Girls and Riverdale, this show might be worth a watch. But prepare to be confused as Dickinson switches between meeting potential suitors forced upon her by her overbearing mother (Jane Krakowski) to fantasizing about death, played in human form by rapper Wiz Khalifi, as she recites some of her most prolific lines to hip hop beats.
For All Mankind
This series looks at an alternate account of history whereby the USSR had the first Moon landing, beating the U.S. to the punch. Naturally, Americans are angered, embarrassed, and upset as they deal with the failure. The main character, astronaut Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) struggles with his own feelings about the future of NASA and the agency's over-cautious, risk-averse nature, his anger at having missed the opportunity to get their first, and trying to salvage the reputation of the country as a world leader. There are portrayals of historic greats like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and while the first episode starts off a bit slow, by the end, you'll be grabbing some tissues and, for those old enough to remember. recalling when you watched the real Moon landing on TV with the rest of the world 50 years ago.
Other series coming later this year include Servant, a psychological thriller by M. Night Shyamalan, which will be streaming November 28, Truth Be Told (December 6), and Little America; as well as the movies Hala and The Banker.
Apple TV+ joins other TV streaming services that are battling for Canadians' dollars, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Crave, and CBS All Acess.