The service will likely not include Netflix or Hulu but is expected to provide free original content for owners of Apple devices and a subscription platform for existing digital services, according to a CNBC report, which says Apple is aiming to launch the service as early as April. Other reports, however, have said the service may not be ready for launch until summer or fall.
The service is expected to cost $15/month at launch, according to AppleInsider, which has reported that original content will include a drama series starring Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston; a science fiction series co-written by Simon Kinberg, whose credits include The Martian and Logan, a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, and a psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, to name just a few.
Through the as-yet-unnamed video service, Apple customers will be able to sign up for existing streaming services and watch them in the iOS TV app instead of having to launch separate apps, according to the CNBC report.
Lions Gate (owner of Starz), CBS (owner of Showtime), and Viacom are expected to offer subscription services through the Apple platform but HBO had not yet signed on, the CNBC report said.
In a recent earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that Apple is producing original content and said the company has signed a multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey. “We’ve hired some great people that we have a super amount of confidence in, and we’ll have something to say more on that later,” he said on the call.
Apple is expected to release full details of the video service at a March 25th press event.