Apple can make TV+ ubiquitous through brute force

YOU get a free year of Apple TV+ and YOU get a free year of Apple TV+ and YOU get a free year of Apple TV+!

Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't waste any time at the company's 2019 iPhone event. One of the first announcements he made was that Apple's highly anticipated video-streaming service, Apple TV+, will launch November 1st for $4.99 per month. Since introducing it in March, Apple has teased a number of the originals that will be exclusive to Apple TV+, including series such as For All Mankind, The Morning Show and Dickinson. And while Apple has managed to get plenty of A-list celebrities to join its push into original content (like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Jason Momoa), that may not even be the company's best weapon as it takes on Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon and, soon, Disney.

No, Apple's best weapon will be its near ubiquity. For one, there are hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs already in people's homes. And many more will be arriving later this month when the newest iPads and iPhones go on sale. Let's also not forget that earlier this year, the company made its redesigned Apple TV app compatible with TVs from Samsung, and soon it will be available on Amazon Fire TV and Roku as well as Sony and Vizio smart TVs. This is going to ensure Apple TV+ is in as many places as possible, whether you own an Apple device or not.

Plus, at launch Apple TV+ will be up and running in more than 100 countries. That's going to give it an advantage over new rivals in the video-streaming space like Disney, whose long-awaited service Disney+ will launch in just three countries -- the US, Canada and the Netherlands -- on November 12th. Australia and New Zealand will join those on November 19th, and Disney has said that its plan is for Disney+ to be in "most major global markets" within the first two years of its launch. But Apple is doing it right from the start.


To make matters even more interesting, Apple is giving anyone who buys an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac a free one-year subscription to the service. And once that free year is up, it's still only $5 per month -- which is basically going to make it impossible to ignore Apple TV+.

And while Apple TV+ and Disney+ are offering low-cost services, Netflix just keeps increasing its prices and tacking on extra fees for features like 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos support -- all of which are included in the default plans from Apple and Disney. You could make the argument that Netflix has a more robust library, but how many of the series and films on there are you actually watching?

Perhaps that's why Disney told Engadget that "quality over quantity" will give Disney+ an advantage over competitors. The challenge for Apple will be to have enough exclusive shows and movies to keep people around, particularly after their free year of service. Right now Apple TV+ is expected to launch with nine original series, including See, a futuristic drama announced today, which takes place in a world where humans have lost the sense of sight.

Nine originals isn't exactly a huge number for Apple TV+ to start with -- especially when you compare it to Disney+, which will have more than 500 feature films and 7,500 show episodes. But Apple says there will be new star-studded originals coming to Apple TV+ every month, including productions with M. Night Shyamalan, Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul and Oprah Winfrey.

For years, Apple referred to the Apple TV as a hobby, but that idea has now been transformed into a much bigger project -- one that the company is clearly ready to throw a lot of cash at. And that should cause everyone in the entertainment industry to take notice, be it Netflix, HBO or Disney.

Images: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images (Apple TV+ price); Associated Press (See)