UPDATE: You can now check out our full Apple TV Plus review – but for the nitty gritty of pricing, shows, channels, and more, check out our original Apple TV Plus guide below.
You can now access Apple's TV Plus service on all manner of devices – but will it, in the words of CEO Tim Cook, be "unlike anything that's come before"?
The launch of Disney Plus will no doubt be casting something of a shadow over the Apple TV Plus service, with the latter not having the big-name titles or franchises to really compete. But there may be something in it for you, especially as you can get one year's subscription free when buying a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV.
The Apple TV Plus pricing model, with a $4.99 / £4.99 / $AU7.99 monthly subscription undercuts a lot of competing services like Netflix, Hulu and even the Disney Plus price – with the ability to share between six different family members, if you have that many close relatives.
We've been keeping close tabs on the programming planned for the service, and you can check out our guide to Apple TV Plus shows for specific titles featuring everyone from Aquaman's Jason Mamoa to Deadpool's Ryan Reynolds. Apple already dominates as a seller and distributor for content, so it'll be interesting to see how they take to making that content themselves.
For all the pricing, launch dates, and hype you need to know about Apple TV Plus, though, read on below.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A rival streaming service that Apple will place its own content on, among other titles.
- When will it be released? It's out now
- How much will it cost? $4.99 per month / £4.99 / AU$7.99, but when you buy an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV you'll get one year's subscription free.
2020 shows and beyond
Although Apple TV Plus launched with some good new shows from the get-go, there are plenty more on the way. Thanks to Macworld, they are:
- Amazing Stories: March 6
- Home Before Dark: April 3
- Home: April 17
- Defending Jacob: April 24
- Trying: May 1
- Dear…: June 5
- Central Park: Early Summer
- Masters of the Air: TBC
- Little Voice: TBC
- Slow Horses: TBC
- Severance: TBC
- El Gato Negro: TBC
- False Flag: TBC
- Ted Lasso: TBC
- Foundation: TBC
- Swagger: TBC
- The Mosquito Coast: TBC
- Mr. Corman: TBC
- Lisey's Story: TBC
- Prehistoric Planet: TBC
- My Glory Was I Had Such Friends: TBC
- Losing Earth: TBC
- Wolfwalkers: TBC
- Pachinko: TBC
- Calls: TBC
- You Think It, I'll Say It: TBC
- A Christmas Carol: TBC
Apple TV Plus subscribers will be heartened to see the volume of shows coming to the service. However, while the vast majority do not have release dates, those that do should tide you over in the meantime.
A highlight among those is Amazing Stories, produced at least in part by Steven Spielberg, no less. The resurrection of the show based on the vintage science fiction magazine follows the adventures of a time-travelling World War II pilot. Grand Designs fans should also check out Home, which promises ten episodes of astonishingly innovative abodes that'll totally make you feel better about your little rented flat.
But there's plenty more to come, we just don't know when yet. Following The Rise of Skywalker – perhaps you've heard of it – J.J. Abrams follows his sci-fi epic with Little Voice, an ode to the diverse music scene of New York. Also look out for Gary Oldman in spy thriller Slow Horses, and Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks as executive producers in the limited series on World War II bombers, Masters of the Air.
All Apple TV shows so far
- The Morning Show
- For All Mankind
- Snoopy in Space
- Oprah's Book Club
- The Elephant Queen
- Truth Be Told
- Little America
- Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet
- Visible: Out on Television
The service's existing shows have been hit and miss, but Mythic Quest is the best Apple TV Plus show yet. Fans of sitcoms, videogames, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia will love Rob McElhenney's comedy about the fictional creators of a World of Warcraft-esque MMO. Some comedies take entire seasons to reach the characterisation and humour Mythic Quest establishes in its opening episodes.
On the weaker side is See, beautiful visuals – and we're not just talking about Jason Momoa, here – and expensive set design fail to hide a lack of character development in this near future where a virus has annihilated mankind, leaving its survivors blind.
Little America, however, is a diverse anthology of American immigrant stories, all wildly different in time and place, but each heartfelt tale is united by its restless humanity and desire for a better, less-divided world. Don't miss that, Hailee Steinfeld in Dickinson, and M. Night Shyamalan's uncanny horror, Servant.
Apple TV Plus release date
At Apple's iPhone 11 launch, Tim Cook confirmed that Apple TV Plus will launch on November 1, and the company has come good on that promise.
Unlike the basic package of Hulu, Apple TV Plus is ad-free from the start, and available in 100-plus countries through a section of the Apple TV app on smart TVs, MacOS and iOS.
Apple TV Plus pricing
Apple TV Plus will cost just $4.99 / £4.99 AU$7.99 per month– and, if you buy an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or AppleTV, you'll get a year's subscription for free.
That's even cheaper than Netflix's cheapest subscription, which costs $9 (£5.99 / AU$9.99) per month, as well as cheaper than the recently-released Disney Plus, which costs $6.99 / AU$8.99 (around £6) per month.
You can sign up for a seven-day free trial to test the service out here.
What are Apple TV channels?
In addition to Apple TV Plus, Apple introduced Apple TV Channels, which combines cable subscription services and streaming services like Amazon Prime Video into the Apple TV app. (Unfortunately, however, Apple TV Channels doesn't incorporate Netflix.)
Apple TV Channels will be incorporated into the Apple TV app on iOS starting in May, and on MacOS later in the year, but will sit outside Apple TV Plus' purview.
- Here's the full list of the first Apple TV Plus shows
- Here's everything you need to know about Apple Arcade
- And here's all the info on Apple News Plus
So Apple TV Plus is like Netflix?
This is where things get a little confusing. While on stage, Tim Cook mage it very clear that Apple TV Plus isn't like Netflix – at least not yet. While the service will offer original content by the boatload, Apple TV Plus won't offer licensed content like Netflix or Amazon Prime does, which covers all syndicated shows, like The Big Bang Theory, Mr. Robot or Seinfeld.
For now, you'll still have to buy those shows through iTunes or via your terrestrial cable app in Apple TV Channels and turn to Apple Plus for its library of originals.
There's also the question of availability. Cook named a number of major TV manufacturers who will offer the new Apple TV app in his keynote, but never came close to mentioning all the platforms where Netflix is available, like Android TV, PC desktops and laptops, and non-Apple tablets. We do now know though that Samsung, at the very least, will be supporting Apple TV Plus at launch through its smart TVs.
It's also worth mentioning that Apple Plus has been compared to Disney's upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus. But it looks like even though they might compete in the streaming space, Disney Plus will still be available via Apple TV.
- Disney Plus: the Disney streaming service to take on Netflix (and Apple)