I am going to talk about Apple TV+, which has been out for a couple of weeks now and we have five episodes of all the big name shows. But I’m not going to talk about the shows, or at least not much. No, I want to talk a botu the service itself and the choices that I think Apple is making.
First of all, this is a worldwide service. Yes, there are some countries (Romania) where Apple TV+ is not available, but it covers a large portion of the world’s population. You can get a sense for this if you look at the possible language tracks on For All Mankind. Currently that list has English, French (France or Canda), German, Italian, Japanese, Portugese (Brazil or Portugal), and Spanish (Spain or Latin America). Impressive? Yes, but even more impressive every single one of those languages also has Audio Description, allowing visually impaired people to enjoy the show as well. The l;ist of subtitles available is, frankly, too long to transcribe.
OK, but that is one of their premier shows. What about one of the shows where they dropped all the episodes on day one? Well, Dickinson has exactly the same list.
So, Apple is launching worldwide and embracing that, but they are also launching with a service that is free to a large percentage of their customers (anyone that’s bought an Apple product since 10 Sep 2019).
In addition, Apple is all 4K, and is delivering the highest quality streams in the industry (about double the bit rate of Netflix best 4K).
OK, this is all interesting, but what does it mean? My guess is that it means Apple is looking at Apple TV+ as far more than just another streaming service to challenge Netflix and compete with Disney. In fact, I think this all points to them not even considering they are in the same market as Netflix and Disney.
But if this is true, what market are they in? Are they trying to be the new HBO now that HBO is quickly going to be eviscerated (I mean, it will take a few years, but AT&T has made it clear that the days of HBO being premium content are over.) No, I don’ think so. I think Apple sees their TV service as something entirely new, and quite unlike anything else in the industry. What that is, exactly, is hard to say because what Apple TV+ is going to be is something that doesn’t exist right now, and describing it in terms of the various services that exist now wouldn’t make any sense in the same way that describing an iPhone in 2005 terms would entirely fail to describe it accurately.
I think in 2025 we will look at the shattered remains of the streaming wars and Apple will not even be mentioned in that mix as a winner or loser because it will be obvious to nearly everyone that what Apple did was Think Different.