Apple TV+: Is It Worth $5 a Month?

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Apple-TV-Plus
Image Credit: Dreamstime.com / Apple

Apple TV+ is a new streaming service from tech giant Apple that has cable cutters talking.

And it’s for a reason that has surprised those who are familiar with the innovative, top-shelf brand: It’s cheap!

With a price tag of $4.99 per month, no ads and superstars like Oprah Winfrey, Steve Carell, Samuel L. Jackson, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston committed to creating original content for the service, Apple has our attention. It might have yours, too.

Team Clark has investigated the streaming service a bit further to determine if it is worth spending $5 per month to add to your entertainment experience. We’ll look into how you can get the service, some of the established content already  available and the new programming Apple is planning to create for subscribers.

Table of Contents

What is Apple TV+?

Positioning itself as the home of “the world’s most creative storytellers,” Apple TV+ is a non-live subscription streaming service that launched in November 2019. This is not to be confused with Apple TV, which is a device that connects to your television so that you can enjoy all of your streaming or downloaded content.

Apple TV+ can be found through the Apple TV app that comes pre-installed on Apple products, though it is not necessary to have an Apple device to purchase a subscription. It has original series and films from some very popular actors and actresses. The content, which is available in 4K HDR, is on-demand and ad free.

On launch, Apple released an exciting video that further explains the type of premium content subscribers can expect:

How Can I Get Apple TV+ and How Much Does It Cost?

Apple TV+ launched on November 1, 2019 in the United States and is now available for purchase through the Apple website or on many popular devices.

Price

Apple TV+ is priced at just $4.99 per month. That is positioned as a value in the non-live streaming market. Given that Apple is known for being a premium brand, it leaves one to question if this is introductory pricing to gain a user base with planned increases in the future. For now, the barrier to giving Apple TV+ a try is pretty low.

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For comparison, the entry-level Netflix plan is $8.99, Disney+ is $6.99 and Hulu’s basic plan is $5.99 per month with ads included.

Apple TV+ users can save some money by opting for an annual subscription, which is $49.99. That lowers the cost to $4.17 per month.

The subscription includes access for up to six family members on the same account, so there is plenty of leeway to get your devices connected.

Devices

While Apple would certainly prefer its streaming service be viewed on one of its phone, tablet or computer products (and we’ll tell you how they’re incentivizing that next), it is important to note that you’ll be able to access Apple TV+ from some non-Apple products. In fact, popular streaming devices like Roku and the Amazon Fire TV Stick already have it available.

Here’s a look at Apple’s list of approved devices for the platform:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Mac
  • Apple TV
  • Airplay
  • PC
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Samsung Smart TV

You may have noticed a lack of Android-based cell phones. That is because the Apple TV app is not available via the Google Play Store at this time. The rivalry is real!

How To Get Apple TV+ Free For One Year

With a new product, Apple is aggressively pushing out promotional deals to expose users to Apple TV+. There is a 7-day free trial available to new users, but even more generous deals are being offered to users of other Apple products.

As of November 2019, Apple is offering a free year of Apple TV+ with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or Apple TV.

Here are the steps to take with your new device, per Apple:

  • Turn on your new Apple device and sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Open the Apple TV app. Make sure your device is running the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, or macOS.
  • The offer should be presented immediately after launching the app. If not, go to the Apple TV+ channel page where you’ll see the offer.
  • Tap Enjoy 1 Year Free.

Check with Apple or your authorized dealer to ensure that the product you purchased qualifies for this promotion.

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Original Content Included With Apple TV+

Apple has made an investment in producing original content for the platform by signing on big-time stars like Oprah Winfrey and Steve Carell to participate in various pieces of content.

The list of initial offerings may not be as robust as that of more established streaming services like Netflix, but it appears that may be by design. Apple seemingly is taking a “quality over quantity” approach with the build out of this product.

Here’s a look at some of the original content projects for Apple TV+:

The Morning Show

The star power is strong with this one, as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Weatherspoon and Steve Carell combine forces on a series titled The Morning Show. The tagline for this drama is “The news is only half the story.”

Dickinson

Hailee Steinfeld stars as poet Emily Dickinson in what is described as a coming-of-age comedy.

Snoopy in Space

While this one is probably for the kids, there are plenty of adults who grew up with Snoopy in their lives. He returns in a modern animation with this new original series.

Other Series and Movies

  • Oprah’s Book Club: Oprah Winfrey gets into deep and “unguarded” conversations with some of today’s top authors
  • SEE: This thriller is based on the fallout of a virus that wipes out much of mankind
  • For All Mankind: “Imagine a world where the global space race never ended.”
  • The Elephant Queen: “Join Athena, the majestic matriarch, as she leads her elephant herd across the unforgiving African landscape”
  • The Banker: Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie are 1960s entrepreneurs fighting for housing integration
  • Hala: A 17-year-old Pakistani-American teenager grappling with “family, culture and religious obligations”
  • Servant: The latest from popular psychological-thriller producer M. Night Shyamalan
  • Truth Be Told: A series based on the experiences of a true-crime podcaster
  • Ghostwriter: Four kids team up to solve a mystery based on a ghost’s past that’s revealed through a book
  • Helpsters: A kids’ series with “vibrant monsters who help solve problems”

One thing I noticed while browsing the library is that Apple has decided to adhere to a gradual release schedule for episodes of many of its shows. Unlike Netflix, which typically drops an entire season of a show at once, it appears Apple is trying the conventional television approach of “one new episode per week.”

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Apple indicated this would be the case in a statement prior to launching the Apple TV+ product:

“At launch, most Apple TV+ series will premiere with three episodes, with one new episode to roll out each week, while full seasons of some series will be available all at once.”

Final Thoughts on Apple TV+

As streaming becomes an increasingly popular part of our entertainment lives, it is natural that the marketplace will flood with companies interested in profiting from the change in consumer behavior.

Apple is attempting to get away from the idea that it is simply a maker of devices with which to stream content. This launch makes it clear that the company would like to carve out its own space in the streaming market. In other words, they want to be both the device you stream on and the service you’re paying to stream — a double dip into your entertainment budget, if you will.

Let’s review some pros and cons to trying out the service:

Apple TV+: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Quality original content Limited library of content
$4.99 monthly subscription Limited licensed content
Free year with new Apple device No access via Android phone

Bottom Line: If you have access to a new Apple device, the free year subscription should provide ample time to decide if this is a long-term fit for your entertainment needs. If you don’t have that option, I suggest taking a test drive with the free seven-day trial.

Even in a crowded streaming service market, the price is right to see if the original series included are enough to hold your interest.

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