Apple (AAPL) on Monday unveiled its long-awaited video streaming service.
Dubbed Apple TV Plus and debuting this fall, the service will be available through the Apple TV app, which will now be offered across Apple devices as well as smart TVs from a slew of manufacturers.
The tech giant has yet to reveal the pricing for Apple TV Plus.
Apple debuted the service with the help of a number of Hollywood heavyweights including Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, J.J. Abrams and … Big Bird.
The company says all of its content will be completely downloadable and available in more than 100 countries.
The service is expected to be a critical part of Apple’s shift away from its heavy dependence on hardware sales toward the continuous revenue stream of its services business.
Analysts have high hopes for Apple’s TV Plus. And if it proves successful, the service could ensure that Apple continues to stand as one of the riches companies in the world.
Apple TV Plus
Apple’s streaming initiative will be integral to the company’s future, as the iPhone maker pivots to relying on the continuous revenue stream of its growing services business amid slowing handset sales.
But Apple TV Plus faces stiff competition from some of the biggest names in video streaming including Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), and Hulu. Then there are the other services that are expected to launch in the coming year including Disney’s Disney Plus and NBCUniversal’s still-unnamed offering.
Analysts are banking on the success Apple TV Plus. Ahead of Monday’s unveiling, Needham upgraded Apple’s stock rating from buy to a strong buy, citing the company’s product ecosystem, customer loyalty, and Apple TV Plus.
And while Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty and Erik Woodring pointed out that the investment community is skeptical of Apple’s ability to stand apart from its competition in the streaming industry, the duo also noted that Apple Music was met with similar sentiment and managed to put up solid growth numbers.
“Going forward, services and wearables drive all of the growth in our model, making the update of new Apple services important to stock performance over the next year,” they wrote.
Apple TV Channels
Apple also debuted its new Apple TV Channels, a new ad-free app that lets you watch shows offline or online.
Apple TV Channels will let you watch your favorite shows from different subscription services without having to jump between disperate apps. This way if you have subscriptions to things like Hulu, Amazon’s Prime Video, a cable, or satellite subscription or premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, and others, you can view them all in one place.
The Apple TV app itself is also getting an upgrade. A Watch Now panel in the app lets you know what’s showing that you haven’t seen. There are also Movies, TV Shows, and Sports tabs that provide you with a list of offerings in each category.
In the Watch Now tab, you can see everything that you’ve been watching and pick up where you left off. You can also view trailers for movies and start free trials for premium channels like Showtime from within the Apple TV Channels app.
A Kids tab provides you with children specific programing including “Sesame Street” and “Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Interestingly, Apple says it will bring the Apple TV app to Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio smart TVs, as well as Roku and Amazon streaming devices. That’s a huge step for the company, and immediately opens it up to an enormous number of potential subscribers.
Here are some of the projects announced on Monday:
Oprah Winfrey will debut two documentaries: One focusing on workplace sexual harassment and the other on mental health.
Steven Spielberg announced a new project called “Amazing Stories.”
Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell will star in “The Morning Show,” where they say they will provide an insider’s view into what goes on behind the scenes at morning shows.
Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard announced “See,” a story about a race of humans who are all blind, and who doubt that the concept of vision even exists.
Kumail Nanjiani announced his new anthology “Little America,” a series of true stories about immigrants living in the U.S.
“Sesame Street’s” Big Bird, meanwhile, took the stage to help debut a new show for preschoolers.
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