Quality over quantity.
Apple is a company that is known for innovation. They reinvented the phone, the tablet, and the personal computer. Now they have their sights set on streaming TV.
Despite launching nearly a year and a half ago, though, there remains a degree of confusion around what Apple TV Plus is. Much like HBO Max struggled with their initial launch when customers confused it with similar products, Apple TV Plus has had its own branding problem with the service.
In this Apple TV Plus review, I'll break down what the service is, what TV shows and movies are included, the pricing, and if it is really worth it.
What is Apple TV Plus?
Apple TV Plus is a premium, ad-free, streaming service offered by the famous maker of various “i” products like the iPhone and the iPad. You do NOT have to be an Apple customer, though, to use Apple TV Plus.
This can be confusing because Apple has both a device and an app called “Apple TV” that are separate from Apple TV Plus. The Apple TV device was first launched in 2010 as a media player that could play movies and videos purchased from iTunes. As later models have been released, it has gradually morphed into a streaming media player similar to Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Chromecast devices.
The Apple TV app, meanwhile, is similar in appearance to the Apple TV device's operating system. It allows you to access all of your favorite streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and other streaming services in one convenient place. The Apple TV app can be downloaded to various non-Apple devices and comes pre-installed on devices made by Apple such as the iPhone.
To access Apple TV Plus, you will need to download the Apple TV app. Once you have done so, you can pay to sign up for the premium streaming service that is Apple TV Plus.
What's on Apple TV Plus?
Apple TV Plus includes an excellent assortment of original shows and movies that are exclusive to Apple's streaming service. Comedy shows include Ted Lasso, the animated series Central Park, and the witty coming-of-age series Dickinson, about the famous poet.
On the drama side, you'll find See starring Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan's Servant, the astronaut series For All Mankind, and The Morning Show. That last series, starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, is an excellent show about the behind-the-scenes happenings of a cutthroat morning news program.
Non-fiction programming includes the new home for Oprah's interviews (minus the one with Harry and Meghan), titled The Oprah Conversations. There's also a documentary about Billie Elish that is getting rave reviews. Finally there's some kids programs like The Snoopy Show.
Their movies include Tom Hanks in Greyhound (recently nominated for an Oscar), Palmer starring Justin Timberlake, and On the Rocks starring Rashida Jones and Billy Crystal.
Now, let's talk about what you WON'T see. There aren't any classic sitcoms, acquired movies, or programing from other studios like you'd see on Hulu or Netflix, save for a backlog of children's content from Fraggle Rock and Peanuts.
This means Apple TV Plus is entirely dependent on original content, which makes their library very limited compared to their competitors.
How much does Apple TV Plus cost?
While you get significantly less programming with Apple TV Plus compared to the competition, it does have a much lower price point. In the United States, it costs $4.99 per month after a 7-day free trial.
They are also currently offering a deal where you can get an entire year for free with the purchase of an Apple device. You can read the full details on their offer here.
What about the app itself?
My experience has been pretty streamlined without any delays in watching the movies and shows I've wanted to see. The menus glide across the screen with a sort of Apple magic you'd expect from the design-obsessed company. That being said, I've only used it on an Apple TV so its hard for me to say what it's like on non-Apple device.
Apple TV Plus allows you to share access to the account with up to six family members through Family Sharing.
It is available on a range of devices including everything from Apple, numerous smart TVs, Xbox, Playstation, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. There do remain SOME Android and Google Chrome-based devices that are not compatible with Apple TV Plus. Those will need to access the service from a web browser rather than the app.
For a full list of supported devices go here.
The library of content on Apple TV Plus may be limited, but it has an impressive range of talent. Tom Hanks. Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Reese Witherspoon are just some of the talented people working on original content for the service.
So far I've enjoyed checking out the various drama series on Apple TV Plus, like The Morning Show . I'm impressed by what I've seen even if I'm a bit nauseas at the huge amount of product placement from Apple. Seriously, it's like all the shows take place in a world where Windows computers never existed.
Besides that, its hard for me to justify the need for this service for anyone who has already binged the top 2-3 shows that stuck out to them. There's no real reason to stick around- the streaming library is just too limited. Apple TV Plus makes for a nice perk if you purchase an Apple computer or smartphone. Otherwise, everyone else can sign up for the free trial, maybe check it out for a month or two, and then cancel.
Where to stream: Various smart and streaming devices, particularly ones with “i” at the beginning
Best for: People who just spent their life savings at the Apple Store, people who plan to cancel after they watch Ted Lasso and The Morning Show
Shall I Stream It? Sign up, watch you want, and then cancel