Launching the brand new Apple TV+ streaming service, was Step 1 for Apple to get into the online video streaming game where companies like Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime are dominating. However, Apple is doing things a little differently here. We know Apple for their super-premium pricing on almost all of their products. However, Apple TV+ costs way less at just ₹99/month here in India & $4.99/month in the US. To put that in perspective, Apple Music costs $9.99 in the US (Individual) & ₹99/month in India (Individual). So, Apple TV+ actually costs the same in India and less in the US compared to Apple Music. Something I need to mention here is that, when you start your subscription, you get a 7-day free trial where you get access to limited episodes of the show. If you decide to keep your subscription even aft
Not just that, if you buy a new Apple product like an iPhone, iPad, Macbook etc., you actually get an year of Apple TV+ for free. But, how does this make sense at all? Isn't Apple the company that generally never runs around with cheap services? And is this new Streaming service even worth then? Well, let's brake down everything in this Apple TV+ review & settle this once and for all.
The Apple TV+ Platform & Ecosystem
Apple has integrated their Apple TV+ service directly into the Apple TV app. You can find the app on all Apple devices including their Apple TV (device/box), iPhones, iPads & Macs. It is also available on selected models of Smart & AirPlay enabled TVs from Samsung, LG & Vizio alongside Amazon Fire Sticks and select Roku devices.
Although, Apple did make sure that PC users who don't have any of the eligible devices, get access to the service by visiting the Apple TV+ website ( tv.apple.com ) on their desktop browser. For Android users, it's not that easy. There is no Apple TV app for Android yet and you can open the website on Chrome but, the videos won't play. So, it seems Apple wants you to have an iPhone if you want to watch Apple TV+ on your phone. This is weird considering they have an Apple Music app on Android. Lucky for you, you don't have to buy an iPhone just to watch Apple TV+. I've figured out a super-easy way to watch those shows on your Android smartphone & I've an entire tutorial to guide you step-by-step through the process. Just click on the link below.
Read The Tutorial: How To Watch Apple TV+ On Android
Before talking about the shows, let's talk about the streaming capabilities that Apple has available on launch. So, as you'd expect from Apple the streaming options here are top-notch. You get 4K support on all of the content available right now. Alongside that, there is support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Dolby 5.1 & more. Although, all shows may not support all of these but, Apple did make sure of a great content experience regardless of what device you're watching on.
Apple TV+ only has Original Shows and although, there is only a handful of shows available right now, Apple will keep adding shows & seasons. However, I don't exactly know how often. Right now, their main highlights include The Morning Show, See, Dickinson & For All Mankind in the more matured adult department and Ghostwriter, Snoopy In Space & Helpsters in the kids department. There is also an original movie called The Elephant Queen rated UA (6 years+) and the super hyped Oprah's Book Club talk show which is rated UA as well.
Apple already has two upcoming shows & one movie lined-up with release dates ranging from this month to early next month. So, it's safe to say that Apple doesn't really have a lot of content right now but, they do have a steady line-up for content & a rich feature set to go along. They have already renewed The Morning Show, Dickinson, See & For All Mankind for a second season. The casting includes top rated Hollywood actors including Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Hailee Steinfeld & more. So, Apple is trying really hard to grab your attention.
I'm using Apple TV+ since launch & I kinda have mixed feelings about it. So, I'm happy with a lot of things Apple has done here but, I don't feel the same way about some other decisions they've made.
I like the fact that they've included a lot of premium features like support for 4K, Dolby Vision/Atmos and unlike Netflix, we don't have to pay extra to get access to these features. Just for example, if you want 4K on Netflix, you need to pay ₹799/month in India. Even Full HD costs ₹649/month. Netflix has a huge content library, I get that. But, their pricing is literally too much. Apple in the other hand has a very small content library but, at ₹99/month, with all these features & a steady content plan, that pricing seems to be pretty reasonable. The production quality is Hollywood level so, no complains there either.
I also liked the shows quite a bit. The critic reviews may have been on the down-side but, from a consumer's perspective, the shows are actually pretty good. I've seen streaming services producing way worse original shows when they started off. Compared to that, Apple's shows look way more promising. The matured adult section is pretty great & the kids section is good too. Apple can use improvements on the stories of the shows. The stories are good but, they simply don't match up against Netflix or even Amazon Prime Video.
Speaking of not liking things, I've a few concerns. I don't like the fact that there is no native app for Android. I mean sure I can use my trick that I've mentioned earlier & watch the shows on my Android smartphone but, if there was a native app, I could have taken the advantage of the full screen mode & even Dolby Vision or/and Atmos. Of course you need a device that supports these formats but, in this case you still cannot use them. I don't know if Apple is planning for an Apple TV or Apple TV+ app for Android but, it is needed badly and it's not worth it to buy a new iPhone just to watch Apple TV+. They should have included Android support at launch.
There are some other annoying issues too. You cannot choose a streaming resolution yourself. Sometimes, especially when your internet is running slow, this can be a real bummer as the the footage will often get stuck or downgraded to an annoyingly low resolution. When you open the site on your PC browser, it often doesn't load the home page even when you're logged in. You have to refresh the page again to get it working which isn't the worst thing in the world but, it still shouldn't be happening.
Also, resuming an episode or movie doesn't work most of the time as the player will start playing the video from the beginning (of that particular episode or movie). Apple needs to add the missing features and resolve the issues as soon as possible. Otherwise, this is gonna be a little disappointing & quite a heck annoying.
The Overall Verdict
As, I've mentioned earlier in the review, Apple TV+ is kind of a mixed bag at this point. There are a lot of things that it does very well & there are also a few things that it messes up badly. But, considering the fact that this service isn't even a month old right now, there is a huge room for improvement. Here's the Pros and the Cons for Apple TV+,
Hollywood level production quality
Excellent cast & crew
Support for 4K, Dolby Vision/Atmos
Affordable all-inclusive pricing
Direct integration into the Apple TV app
Buggy website & web player
User cannot select the video streaming resolution manually
No native app for Android
If you're thinking how it'll stack up against other streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video etc., it's safe to say that right now Apple TV+ is in no shape to compete in terms of the number of available shows or movies. However, because of the original content only policy & affordable pricing, Apple TV+ is still a great value when it comes to a video streaming service in general.
So, I do recommend Apple TV+ and I didn't expected the service to be this good at launch. This was Apple's first footstep in the video streaming industry & I'm glad they got it right in the first try.