Apple TV+ Review
Pros and Cons
Low price point. By pricing this streaming service at only $4.99 a month, people will barely notice this sum leaving their bank accounts. It’s a good way to retain subscribers, as people will sign up and then not need to worry about affording it each month.
Big names. The Morning Show stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, while Oprah stars in the revival of Oprah’s Book Club. The tech giant has invested heavily in bringing celebrities to the streamer.
Offline viewing. Apple has recognised the importance of giving subscribers the ability to download titles to watch on the go. This way, the new streamer is keeping up with competitors in the industry such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Small selection of titles. Apple launched with a small number of shows - eight series and a documentary, to be exact. While they are building out the platform with more titles and are reportedly in talks to acquire licensing deals, there are definitely competitors with more to offer.
Not available for all devices. When Apple TV+ launched, viewers found the app wasn’t compatible with PS4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. Similarly, there wasn’t an option for Android devices, which is a major handicap when you consider that most competitors have a wider compatibility.
Interface can be confusing. Those who have browsed the new interface using the Apple TV remote have found that it takes some getting used to. For example, it has proven easy to accidentally fast forward a show.
Genres and channels
Apple TV+ launched with a small number of titles – Dickinson, The Elephant Queen, For All Mankind, Ghostwriter, Snoopy in Space, Helpsters, Oprah’s Book Club, See and The Morning Show.
Beyond these titles, you can view Apple TV Channels. When you click through to this option on the homepage, you’ll see options for viewing Moonbug Kids, BFI Player, Start Play, Arrow TV, Arrow Video Channel, Mubi and Smithsonian Channel Plus. Highlights include Paris, Texas, Pennyworth, Betty Blue and The Housemaid.
In the movies tab, you will be able to watch top titles such as Out of Sight, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Rocketman, Long Shot and Good Boys. You will need to pay for these titles as individual purchases in the Apple iTunes Store. The same applies for the TV Shows tab – there are top titles such as Mr Robot, The Mallorca Files, Watchmen and Gold Digger, which are available for purchase in the Store.
There is a dedicated Kids section, where you can watch shows such as Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, Butterbean’s Cafe and Andy’s Safari Adventure. Finally, in the Library section you will see all of your previously purchased titles available to watch.
Top Apple TV Plus shows and movies
The Morning Show – Alex Levy is co-anchor on The Morning Show. When her on-air partner, Mitch Kessler, is fired due to a sexual misconduct scandal, Alex has a struggle to keep her job while also facing rivalry from Bradley Jackson.
For All Mankind – A science fiction drama which looks at an alternative timeline whereby Russia was the first nation to land on the moon. America is catalysed into an effort to catch up in the space race.
Dickinson – A period drama which takes place during Emily Dickinson’s era. It takes on a modern tone and lets viewers see how women were constrained by society, gender and family.
See – A drama set in a future where humankind has been robbed of the ability to see. When two twins are born with sight, this sparks a war between the tribes which roam the earth.
Helpsters – A team of monsters called Cody and the Helpsters take on problems to solve, such as planning a party or learning a magic trick.
Ghostwriter – Four kids team up to solve a mystery when a ghost haunts the neighbourhood bookstore and begins releasing fictional characters into the world.
Truth Be Told – A murder case which made a true-crime podcaster famous comes back into the public eye when new evidence comes to light. It soon becomes apparent that the original suspect may have been wrongfully convicted.
Servant – Following the death of their infant, a couple hires a young nanny to take care of a reborn doll. The bereaved mother believes the doll is her real child. Meanwhile, the father becomes deeply suspicious of the nanny.
Hala – A Pakistani American teenager called Hala struggles with the obligations her culture, religion and family bring her. She also has a secret which could unravel her family.
The Elephant Queen – Athena is an elephant mother who fiercely protects her family when the herd is forced to leave their waterhole. The journey takes viewers across the African savannah.
Oprah’s Book Club – Originally a segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the concept has been revived for Apple TV+. Oprah selects a book for viewers to read and has a discussion with the author in front of an audience.
Little America – This anthology series looks at the experiences of immigrants whose stories aren’t featured in mainstream media. A 12 year old must learn to manage a Utah hotel when his parents are deported to India, and Marisol is an undocumented Mexican teenager who enters the world of competitive squash.
The Banker – Based on a true story, Bernard Garr and Joe Morris are two entrepreneurs who plan to build an empire in finance and real estate. They help other African Americans live the American dream as they do so.
The Apple TV+ interface categorises available content into subsections. For example, you will be able to distinguish between shows where the entire season is available and those which have new episodes coming out every Friday. There is a section for feature films and another with family focused content. Due to the limited range of content, the sub categories are not as extensive as you would find with competitors such as Netflix and Disney Plus, but this is bound to change with time.
When you click onto a TV show, you will have a number of options. You can watch or resume a particular episode, download it for offline viewing or add it to your Up Next menu. There will be a still of the show to give you an idea of what it looks like, along with a brief overview of the episode you would be watching. When you scroll down, you will see a list of the episodes and small summaries of what happens in each. There may also be extras such as trailers, related titles and cast & crew information, so you can get a full picture of what the title is all about.
A nice touch Apple TV+ offers is the ability to click on the names of stars and crew involved with the show to see a small biography, along with a catalog of titles they have worked on.
Apple TV has 4K available, and Apple Original shows and movies from Apple TV+ are available for streaming in this quality.
Titles can be watched with 4K HDR for more pixels, brighter colours and a higher level of detail.
This setup can be combined with a sound system that works with Dolby Atmos for three dimensional audio.
The Apple site recommends that you have a minimum broadband connection speed of 25Mbps to stream content in 4K effectively.
The support page for Apple TV Plus features a database full of pre-loaded questions and answers. The topics are categorised by product – including iPhone, Mac, Watch Music, TV and Apple ID.
Alternatively, you can scroll down and press ‘Get Support’. Then, by selecting which category your query falls under, you can speak to a customer support representative on online chat.
There is a seven day free trial in place with Apple TV+, so you can try out the service before you make a commitment to purchase a subscription. Those who are students and subscribe to Apple Music for $5 a month will be eligible to get Apple TV+ for free. There is also said to be a bundle combining Apple TV+ and Apple Music being developed.
Plans and pricing
The plans available with Apple TV+ are simple. For the basic, standard subscription, you can expect to part with $5 a month or $50 a year. Those who purchase an iPhone, Mac, iPad or Apple TV will get a year’s subscription free of charge. This price point is competitive as it is significantly lower than the cheapest Netflix plan, which will set customers back $9 a month. It is also a little cheaper than Disney+, which has been released at a cost of $7 or $70 per year.
There are also set to be optional add-on subscriptions, so HBO, Showtime and similar services can be managed from your Apple account. While these subscriptions are already available via iOS and the individual Apple TV apps, using the new TV app method will result in benefits such as being able to share access to these channels with up to six family members. Furthermore, convenience is a factor, as all of the channels will be available from one app instead of being spread across several. Also, shows will be available for download so they can be watched on the go.
Apple TV+ will be frequently compared with competitors such as Netflix and Disney+ to assess whether it’s worth purchasing a subscription for. In terms of pricing, Apple TV+ appears to offer the best deal at just $5 a month or $50 per year. In comparison, Disney+ is slightly more expensive at $7 per month or $70 per year, but it offers a lot more options – the entire Disney catalog, multiple simultaneous streams and a number of different user profiles, to name but a few. Similarly, Netflix may be more expensive, but it offers many more options. Notably, the pricing is a little more complex, but this is because customers can choose the option which suits them – whether it’s the basic tier for $9 a month going up to the premium tier at $16 a month.
In terms of content, Apple TV+ is clearly lacking compared to Netflix and Disney+. The platform launched with just nine titles, and new ones are being added every few weeks or months. Meanwhile, Netflix and Disney+ have literally thousands of options, with both streamers providing a mixture of original and acquired content. Netflix has developed a number of popular original shows, such as Orange Is The New Black and Stranger Things, while Disney has an enviable back catalog spanning decades. Furthermore, Netflix has a huge library of rotating content to browse, and Disney+ boasts titles from Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic and more.
Is Apple TV Plus worth it?
Those who have gained a year-long subscription due to buying an eligible Apple product should definitely make the most of their access to this service, as should students who can purchase discounted subscriptions. However, this service will most likely be a slow burner, increasing in popularity and value as more titles are added to the service. For now, most people will probably only sign up to the service for a month or two to check out some of the shows which have piqued their interest. It’s likely that Apple will make a lot of its money from this service due to people who sign up out of interest and then forget they have a subscription, letting it auto renew every month and either not noticing or repeatedly forgetting to hit the cancel button.
- Navigate to the App Store.
- Click on your Apple ID.
- Select the option to View Information.
- Sign in to your account if necessary.
- Scroll down to the option Manage.
- Find Apple TV+ and click on Edit.
- Click on Cancel Subscription.
Alternatively, on Apple TV or iPhone/iPad, you will need to go into the Settings app and navigate to your subscriptions to find the Apple TV+ one to cancel.
- Ensure you are using a compatible device which supports both the Apple TV app and Apple TV+.
- Open the Apple TV app or navigate to the website.
- Click on Watch Now, and choose a movie or TV show from the available options.
- Select the option to start a trial or log in to your account.
- Use your Apple ID to sign in.
- Confirm your billing information if necessary.
- Start watching!
- Open the TV app.
- Click on TV, then Preferences.
- Click on Advanced.
- Click on the Clear Play History option.
- Confirm your selection.
- Click OK.
On iPhone or iPad:
- Open the TV app.
- Tap on your photo, located in the top right.
- Tap on Clear Play History.
- Confirm your selection.
- Tap OK.
You can sign up for Apple TV Plus again at any time using your Apple ID if you opt to cancel your subscription. The longer you leave it, the more likely it is you will lose access to your previous settings.
- Navigate to reportaproblem.apple.com.
- Sign in to your Apple ID.
- Click on the Report or Report a Problem button next to the item you want to request a refund for.
- Select the reason why you want a refund.
- Submit your request.
For more original programming, some top players in the industry include Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu. Disney Plus has its vault of classic content, plus new original titles.
Apple TV Plus launched globally, so it will most likely be available in the country you travel to. Original titles which are also available in the country you are located in can be streamed on your device.
- Go to tv.apple.com
- Sign in with your Apple ID. Make sure that your device is running the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, or macOS.
- Click “Start Your Free Trial”. You will not be charged until your free trial has finished, then it will start charging per month.
- Enter your billing info (if required – if your account already has payment information, this can be used).
- Confirm the subscription.
- Start watching!