Apple's new streaming service will reportedly be up and running in early 2019, and original content will be free to watch — at least at first.
Apple has been working on its own proprietary streaming service for a number of years now, though details on the app have been few and far between. On Wednesday, CNBC reported several new details on the app, the most exciting of which is likely the price. Sources said that the Apple streaming service will come pre-installed on Apple devices, including Apple TVs. Original content will be free to watch, while the app will also feature add-on services such as HBO and Starz, not unlike Amazon Prime or Hulu.
An official spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the report. Apple is expected to spend about $1 billion on original content this year. Most of that will follow the PG-rating guidelines, which the company apparently hopes will minimize backlash when free channels appear on family devices. In the long term, the company reportedly hopes to prop up some "tent pole" franchises to hook users in, then shift to a paid subscription model eventually.
Other details about the service have been leaking all year, making the chances seem pretty good that the debut is finally upon us. Apple has been promising to revolutionize TV for about seven years now, before Steve Jobs passed away. Those words have manifested reality now, however. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, Apple has 24 original shows in either development or production right now.
By the sound of it, those shows could have the effect Apple is hoping for. Consequences of Sound reports that some major names are attached to the projects — including J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey. Rob McElhenney, co-star and co-creator of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, is also reportedly working with the tech giant.
Making television is no small investment, but if any company has the capital to jump into the game so late, it is Apple. Back in August, Apple officially became the first publicly traded U.S. company ever to reach $1 trillion in value. At the time, shares were going for $207.05, while at the time of this writing they have climbed to $218.79.