On November 1 2019, Apple finally entered the red-hot streaming market with Apple TV+. A subscription service that offers original content from everyone’s favorite lifestyle brand. Since you’ve probably already subscribed to Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, or some combination of the above, yet another content provider seems like a stretch.
The good news is that you probably won’t have to put any money down to give the service a try. The even better news is that we’re going to go over the most important things you need to know, so that you can hit the ground running if you do choose to give Apple a chance.
How To Get Apple TV+
You’ll need an Apple ID in order to become a subscriber. If you own any Apple hardware, you probably already have an Apple ID. If not, you’ll have to register one first before moving on. You can subscribe from within the Apple TV app on any device that supports it.
The service costs $4.99 per month, but everyone gets a 7-day free trial which, as you’ll see, is more than enough time to give the content a fair shake. If you bought an Apple device recently you may also be eligible for a 1-year free trial.
Just log into your Apple account on that new device and when you open the Apple TV app, you should get the offer. Even better, everyone in your Family Sharing group have access on their own devices.
Users who are currently using the Apple Music Student subscription may also qualify for the free addition of Apple TV+. So Apple have made it easy for potential subscribers to try their entertainment offering for little or no money down.
Apple’s other two major services, Music and Arcade, have proven both popular and good. However, currently there’s no indication that a value bundling of the three services will happen.
Where Can I Watch Apple TV+?
Apple TV is available on every Apple device with a screen. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV and MacOS all support the service. However, Apple had the foresight to also provide versions of the Apple TV app for non-Apple devices as well.
Certain recent Samsung Smart TV’s have the app, but you’ll need to confirm your brand and model of smart TV has the app first. Roku and Amazon streaming devices also have the app, but Android users are currently out of luck.
However, Apple brought their Music App to Android, so never say never!
What Content Is On Offer?
At launch, the amount of content is rather thin on the ground. Apple is focusing heavily on original content, which has been very successful for market leader Netflix. It’s entirely possible to binge the launch content during the free trial. However, new shows and episodes will be released regularly.
As to the quality of content on offer, that’s largely subjective. Reviews of shows such as For All Mankind have been mixed. However, since you get to sample this programming for free, the best strategy is to simply try a few episodes from the shows currently on offer.
The list of upcoming releases is rather respectable as well, so if you do subscribe beyond the trial it might very well be worth sticking around.
Using The App
We’re using the app on an iPad Pro here, so expect some differences in layout on Smart TVs and the iPhone. However, the overall functioning of the Apple TV app is the same.
Apple TV+ does not have its own application. Instead it’s simply a channel added to the existing Apple TV app. This probably saved Apple a bundle when it comes to development costs, but it leaves the user experience feeling a little tacked-on.
It also means that you should be careful where you tap. Most of what you see within the app is currently not included with the Apple TV+ subscription. It’s mostly rental titles or outright purchases, which means you have to be careful when handing your tablet or phone over to the kids. Be sure to either require a password for every purchase or enable Ask to Buy on a child’s device, if they are using an Apple ID for children.
Assuming that you have completed the activation of your Apple TV+ subscription, launch the app and you should see a screen like this one.
Now scroll down until you see available channels. This might vary by region.
Tap on Apple TV+.
Here you’ll see what shows are currently on offer on the channel. Right now there’s not much, but more programs are in the pipeline. The interface works OK given how few titles there are, but it might become a little tricky once the library starts expanding.
Be warned that the “search” function at the bottom of the screen doesn’t just search for content in Apple TV+, but also content you’ll have to pay extra for!
To start watching, tap any of the shows that interest you and you’ll be taken to its page.
Now just tap to play or resume and enjoy your show.
Wait & See
This is only the start for Apple TV+. With a huge mountain of money invested in original content and second seasons for premiere shows already confirmed, it’s sure to bring something worth watching to the table.
It’s entirely possible to binge all of the launch content within the 7-day trial for new subscribers, which doesn’t feel like an accident. So you can literally try everything Apple TV+ has to offer at launch without paying a cent.
Again, remember that if anyone in your Family Sharing plan has bought Apple hardware close to the launch of Apple TV+, they may be eligible for a whole year free as well.