Apple's original shows may be free for device owners

You'd have to watch in the TV app.

Apple's long-in-the-making streaming video service might not cost you anything. CNBC sources have reported that Apple's offering will revolve around a revamped TV app where original programming will be available for free in addition to previously rumored paid "channels" for third-party services like HBO and Starz. Apparently, that's a reason why Apple is interested in family-friendly shows -- it doesn't want to raise hackles by offering racy and violent material at no charge.

The company is looking at a paid service in the long run, according to the tipsters, but it wants marquee shows that could serve as the cornerstone of that subscription plan.

Apple is expected to launch the new app sometime early in 2019, possibly in March. While the company isn't commenting on the leak, it wouldn't be surprising to see free shows. While Apple is increasingly reliant on services to improve its bottom line, it's still a hardware company first and foremost. No-cost programming in the TV app (which is currently iOS- and tvOS-only) could spur hardware sales or keep existing owners from jumping ship to rival platforms.