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Apple TV+ review: This is a very different streaming service

You see the problem is, we’re all comparing Apple TV+ to Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime et al. That’s ridiculous. For a few reasons.

Firstly, there’s just nowhere near the content library on Apple TV+ to be in the same league as any of those services.

Secondly, I don’t suspect that Apple even intended Apple TV+ to be compared to Netflix – or others.

Let me explain.

When you pay $7.99 a month for Apple TV+, You’re probably counting down the months until you cancel it. Because if you’re used to Netflix or Stan, you’re used to having hundreds and hundreds of titles across a range of genres to choose from.

Coming to Apple TV+ from Netflix is like coming from a Las Vegas all you can eat buffet to an artisan serving only the finest vegan food. The choice is limited, and there are probably not many things for you to choose from.

Apple’s gala launch for Apple TV+ had more Hollywood superstars on stage than there are shows available today on the streaming service.

Did Apple launch too soon? Or is this all part of the plan?

That goes to the second part of this. Apple didn’t seem to intend to create a Netflix rival. If they did, they would have been signing content deals with some of the biggest TV and Movie studios in the US and around the world and given they have existing relationships with those studios through the iTunes sales of TV and movies.

What Apple wants here is more people using the Apple TV app. Using it to watch any and all their streamed and downloaded content.

You see, there’s no Apple TV+ app – there’s just Apple TV – the box with the TV app, and the Apple TV app on your iPhone/iPad etc.

Open that up and you’re seeing content from 9Now, 10 All Access, ABC iView, iTunes and Apple TV+.

Search for “Madam Secretary” in the Apple TV app – it’s there, and sends you to the 10 All Access app.

Search for “Madam Secretary” in iTunes and they’ll sell you a copy.

Apple want you using Apple TV as a gateway to content. And if they can entice you with a few amazing shows to “subscribe” to exclusive content then they’re on a winner.

Fortunately, a large amount of the folk “subscribing” to Apple TV+ are not paying a thing, because you get it free if you’ve purchased an Apple product in the last year.

If you have to pay, then you’re going to wonder what you’re getting for your coin.

Not much. I doubt many people would be “keen” on more than 2-3 of the shows individually.

My kids smashed through Snoopy in Space in 3 days. There’s only 12 episodes, all of them pretty short. It’s a great new look at the Charlie Brown comic series, with an emphasis on Snoopy’s space adventures. A solid educational show for the kids.

Then there’s SEE – this is an epic blockbuster if you’re a fan of epic action and perhaps a bit on the sci-fi end because it’s a conceptual future set after a virus renders all remaining humans blind – then strap yourself in.

Morning Wars – known as The Morning Show in every single other country – has been billed as the star of Apple TV+.

Personally, I didn’t find it quite as engaging as a Newsroom style Sorkin production. I think it gets bogged down in a Me Too storyline that could probably have been dealt with in much shorter time. Some of the character setups and backstories aren’t even close to fully revealed and we’re three episodes in.

My big winner is “For All Mankind” – or the story of the Red Moon. This is gripping. The basic principle is a look at the World if the Russians got to the Moon first and the space race never ended. Honestly, the first six minutes of this was enough to have me hooked.

The content Apple is producing for this service is best in class. Great scripts, great production, great actors. However, the service as it stands struggles to justify the $7.99 price tag.

If you’ve got to pay for it, wait for few months when all the current shows episodes have dropped and binge it all. You won’t be disappointed.

If it’s free because you got a new Apple device recently, best of luck to ya, enjoy it.

I do wonder if Apple might have made more money using the same amount of promotion to sell these shows outright as seasons than they are through streaming subscriptions.

Perhaps though the real truth lies in Apple’s ability to hold course, steady the ship, and just keep making amazing shows until they have a library that is deep, they have outside content available to back their outstanding original content – because they have the deepest pockets in entertainment – and we can’t underestimate their ability to reshape an industry, and perhaps do to TV and Movies what they did to Music.

Time will tell, I think we’ll have to wait and see what Apple’s true plan is, right now though, I think it’s very wrong to see Apple TV+ as an alternative to Netflix or Stan in the same way that Disney Plus will be given its extremely deep library.

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Apple TV+ review: This is a very different streaming service
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