Apple flips the switch in streaming TV wars

The billboards are up - hailing the entrance of the latest contender in the streaming TV wars - Apple TV+.

Its signal goes live Friday in over 100 countries with Hollywood darlings Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon sharing the spotlight in "The Morning Show", one of a handful of Apple TV's original programming.

At just $5 a for a year with the purchase of a new Apple device such as an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer ... the goal of Apple TV+ goes beyond simply undercutting streaming leader Netflix, says Reuters Apple correspondent Stephen Nellis.


"So I think most people are looking at this so far as still more of an ecosystem play rather than Apple trying to take on Disney or Netflix head on. They want people to see this as just another reason along with the watch, airpods, Apple Music, iCloud storage for people to come into the Apple family of products. They don't yet seem to be going out and saying 'hey, we don't care what kind of phone you have, we want you to watch us versus Disney or Netflix.' They are saying, 'hey, here's another reason to have an iPhone.' So that's the lens that most people are viewing it through and I think it is also important to note that some of these shows have not gotten great reviews so far."

Unlike Netflix, Disney+, and the newly-announced HBO MAX from AT&T's Time Warner - Apple lacks the access to the back catalog of hundreds of TV shows and movies, and will have to rely solely on its originals.

But that doesn't worry Apple CEO Tim Cook. He told Reuters that he welcomes the wide range of competition in streaming video because, in his opinion, it will encourage more cord cutting.

And if you follow his thinking - who would benefit most from that? The company behind some of the world's most popular handheld devices used to view streaming video.

But what about those not-so-great early reviews for the first batch of original TV shows?


"So we might also see another familiar Apple pattern where it takes them a few tries to get it right, just like it did with the early iPhone, just like it did with the early Apple Watch."

And star power from none other than Oprah Winfrey might help. The media mogul is bringing her famous book club to Apple TV. The first episode features national Book Award author and prestigious MacArthur Fellowship award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates.

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