Apple is expected to reveal its Netflix rival at the upcoming "It's show time" event.
After a steady run of rumours, leaks and speculation, Apple seems to be gearing up to draw the curtain back on its television streaming service. Yesterday, Apple officially sent out invites for its upcoming "It's show time" launch event, which will take place in the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino at 10am PT on 25 March 2019. Those in Australia hoping to tune in live will be up at the crack of dawn, with the event kicking off at 4am AEDT on Tuesday, 26 March 2019.
Details on Apple's streaming service have been mostly hearsay up until this point but let's take a look at what the rumours suggest Apple has in store.
What kind of content can we expect?
Apple has actually already released some original TV shows on its music streaming service Apple Music though you'd be forgiven for forgetting they exist. James Corden's Carpool Karaoke was picked up by Apple as a platform exclusive (and revealed with one of the most uncomfortable keynote segments to date) and in July 2018, Apple tried to launch the American Idol of app development, Planet of the Apps.
If the rumours around the original content in production are to be believed, these early experiments won't be representative of the content quality moving forward.
Back in January 2018, THR reported an ongoing battle between HBO and Apple to lock down J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lost and 2009's Star Trek). The original sci-fi series with the working title Demimonde was eventually nabbed by HBO but it was, at least, an early indication of the kind of high-profile content Apple was gunning for.
Apple's worldwide video unit is currently working on a number of confirmed TV shows, with big names like Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One), Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and the Sunny comedy duo Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, all involved.
Spielberg's involvement is just a bit ironic, considering his war against rival streaming service Netflix.
Here's a working list of content released by and currently in production at Apple's video production.
|Amazing Stories||Steven Spielberg and Edward Kitsis (Once Upon a Time) are working on a fantasy anthology series based on the 1985–87 NBC series of the same name.
Edward Burns (Saving Private Ryan), Austin Stowell (Dolphin Tale) and Halt and Catch Fire's Kerry Bishe are all attached to star in some capacity.
Amazing Stories is co-produced by Universal and Amblin and is expected to release in 2019.
|Are You Sleeping||Based on the 2017 novel of the same name, Are You Sleeping is a crime drama that takes aim at the rise of true-crime podcasts like Serial. The book follows Josie Burhman as her family's grisly history is pulled into the spotlight by an investigative journalist/podcaster.
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) are all set to star in the adaptation.
Filming of the first season wrapped in December 2018 but there's still no indication of when the TV show is set to release.
|Calls||Riding on the success of the French series of the same name, Calls is another anthology series in production at Apple. This adaptation uses actual audio from a number of curious calls to create minimalistic 10-minute short films.
In addition to the fresh adaptation for English-speaking audiences, the original French version has also been picked up Apple as an exclusive.
The English version will be led by French creator Timothée Hochet.
|Short film series|
|Carpool Karaoke: The Series||Apple picked up the rights to James Corden's Carpool Karaoke back in 2017 after The Late Late Show segment became something of a viral hit thanks to a series of high-profile musical guests, like One Direction.
Central Park is an upcoming animated musical comedy from the mind of Bob's Burgers creator Loren Bouchard. It follows a family of caretakers in Central Park who somehow end up saving the world.
Central Park has a magnificent voice cast lineup with Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr, Kimmy Schmidt's Tituss Burgess and The Good Place's Kristen Bell all lending their vocals to the cartoon's main cast.
No release window has been announced at the time of writing.
Dickinson is a comedic coming-of-age story based on the life of American poet Emily Dickinson.
It will star Hallee Steinfeld (True Grit) in the lead role as Dickinson with Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) co-starring as Emily's mother.
Principal photography for the series started in January 2019 so the series is still a while off.
|For All Mankind||Ronald D. Moore (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) is whipping up a new sci-fi series for Apple. For All Mankind is a single-camera sci-fi drama which asks the question, "what if the global space race never ended?"
We know Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon), Michael Dorman (Patriot) and Sarah Jones (Alcatraz) will lead the main cast but other than that, details on the TV series are skint.
|Foundation||This sci-fi will be based on Isaac Asimov's classic book series of the same name and is set to be produced by David S. Goyer (Batman vs. Superman) and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).
Asimov's daughter, Robyn Asimov, will also oversee the project as executive producer.
Home is an upcoming documentary series for the Grand Design audience that takes viewers inside "some of the world's most extraordinary homes and unveils the boundary-pushing imagination of the visionaries who dared to dream and build them".
10 episodes have been given the green light with a 2019 launch date in mind.
|Little America||Produced by Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon (the duo behind The Big Sick) and Alan Yang (Master of None), Little America is an anthology series based on a collection of true stories of the same name.
Each episode will delve into the lives of immigrants living in the USA "at a time that when their stories are more relevant than ever".
|Little Voice||This romantic comedy-drama from I Am Sam writer/director Jessie Nelson and singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles.
Little is known about Little Voice except that it will explore the "universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early 20s".
|Magic Hour||This mystery/drama series from Dana Fox (What Happens in Vegas) follows a young girl in her journey to dig up secrets from her father's past in the hometown he left behind many years prior.
Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) and Abby Miller (Justified) will lead the main cast.
No word yet on when Magic Hour is due out but principal photography for the series isn't expected to wrap until April 2019.
|The Morning Show||
The Morning Show is a drama TV series starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup that offers an "inside look at the lives of people who help America wake up in the morning".
With two seasons ordered, this is possibly the most anticipated show from Apple's current line-up.
|Planet of the Apps||The aforementioned hybrid that's The Voice meets Silicon Valley. Each episode, app developers are tasked with pitching their unique app ideas to a celebrity panel of judges (Jessica Alba, Gwenyth Paltrow, will.i.am and Gary Vaynerchuk).
Season One has already been released and is available to stream via Apple Music.
|See||This upcoming dystopian drama is set in a future where the human race has lost its sense of sight. When twins are born with their sight, this society is thrown into a bit of a rut.
See is written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) but the coolest thing about this project by far is the fact it's got Jason Momoa as a character named "Baba Voss". Sign us up!
|Swagger!||Inspired by producer Kevin Durant's experiences as a young baller, Swagger! offers a dramatic look at "the world of AAU basketball in the nation's capital, and the players, families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, opportunism and corruption".
The series was ordered in December 2018 so it could be a while until more information is revealed.
In addition to the productions listed above, there are also a number of untitled projects in the works from Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shyamalan, Richard Gere, Rob McElhenney/Charlie Day and Simon Kinberg/David Weil.
In June 2018, Apple also announced a "unique, multi-year content partnership" with TV royalty, Oprah Winfrey. Apple suggested Oprah would be helping to create original programs that "embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world". Whether that means Oprah returning to the talk show circuit or simply collaborating on the kind of lifestyle content found on the Oprah Winfrey Network is yet to be seen.
Will the Apple TV streaming service be available in Australia?
We won't know for sure until the service is revealed but recent reports from CNBC suggest the service will be making a dime selling "channels" or third-party subscription services (e.g. HBO or CBS) within the Apple TV streaming service.
In the US, many streaming providers like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video already offer channel add-ons for an additional monthly cost. However, we don't currently have any comparable service here in Australia.
If that holds true, we'll have to wait and see how that translates for a global audience but we wouldn't hold our breath. The most likely outcome is a release date announced for the US (rumoured for April 2019) and a vague promise of international rollout further down the line.
At best, Apple pulls a Netflix and releases the service globally overnight. At worst, we'll see a staggered global rollout like Amazon Prime Video.
It's also entirely possible a local player like Stan locks down an exclusive streaming deal for Apple original content.
How much will the Apple TV streaming service cost in Australia if it does release here?
As mentioned in the previous section, recent reports suggest Apple won't be charging for access to its first-party content (in the US at least) but if it did decide to go down the paid subscription route, the service would likely come cheaper or at the exact same price as Netflix.
Apple Music is priced to match its major competitor Spotify to a tee with both services costing $11.99 per month here in Australia.
Apple loves slapping a jaw-dropping price tag on things but with what we know so far, there's just no way it could reasonably charge more than Netflix at launch (if at all).
A report from Recode in June 2018 quoted an anonymous TV executive on the potential price of Apple's streaming service, who suggested Apple "intends to sell a standalone subscription to its original video shows, priced below Netflix, whose standard offering costs $11 a month in the US".
Compare available streaming providers already available in Australia
Whatever Apple's streaming service looks like when it's revealed, one thing's for sure, it's going to have a lot of competition by the time it makes its way to Australia.
See below for our comprehensive streaming comparison.
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