The much anticipated Apple TV+ app and streaming service launched on 1 November 2019 in 100 countries, of which South Africa is one. If you have an Apple device you would have noticed the new app a few updates ago, but since the beginning of November, you will have been able to stream some of the original content that launched with the platform.
Since its launch, we’ve been trying out the app and we are now ready to report back on some of the features, content and price points.
I’m an Apple person, so I was extremely excited when they announced their plans to launch the platform earlier this year. Reports from all shared insights on the millions of dollars that Apple put towards going up against Netflix (and Disney for that matter).
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, described the platform as “unlike anything that’s come before”, and it’s definitely too early to tell but it does seem as if Apple is diving head-first into the streaming and original content sector. For now, the app is only available on Apple devices and the content a bit scarce, but it definitely has the potential of becoming more.
The cost aspect
Probably one of the most attractive things about the Apple TV+ offering is the fact that at $5 (more or less R89,99) a month, they are coming in at quite a lower price than other streaming services in South Africa like Netflix.
I was even more impressed to learn that if I buy the subscription, my entire Apple family (up to six members) is able to access the content under the same subscription – that’s a bargain! For me, it is also quite convenient because it is added to the rest of my Apple subscriptions so there is no need to load a new card or fill in anything!
As with most of the other subscription streaming services, you get the option of first trying things out obligation-free for a week’s trial period. `You will also be able to cancel at any time once you’ve signed up. Also, if you are planning on buying an Apple device soon, you’ll get an entire year of Apple TV+ for free.
Currently, the Apple TV+ model works as such; the original content series is released with an initial three episodes. Thereafter, you need to check back in weekly to follow along and catch up on the rest of the series.
For the moment, it also seems like the service won’t include licensed content like Netflix and Amazon Prime does. You can still buy these series from the iTunes but they will not be covered under the subscription which will be focused on Apple original content.
The entire platform is ad-free – thank the streaming gods!
The app launched with four unique series. The first of which is For All Mankind – a new alternative history series from Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore. It is a reimagining of the 1960/1970 space race but from the Soviet’s side. The beautiful Hailee Steinfeld stars in Dickinson which is a comedic biopic of the reclusive poet, Emily Dickinson.
Everyone’s favourite Aquaman, Jason Momoa, stars in the thriller See set in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone has been struck blind for many centuries. If you are into Planet Earth, the documentary The Elephant Queen will most definitely strike your fancy. It is a beautiful cinematographic journey that follows a majestic matriarch elephant and her herd.
Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell star in The Morning Show, which at this point is definitely my favourite. The series tries to weigh in on the #metoo discussions, as the series revolves around the dismissal of a news anchor because of sexual misconduct allegations.
One of the main reasons why I love Apple so much is because their software is always as user-friendly and uncomplicated as possible. Their designs are beautiful, streamlined and work really well. The same goes for this app.
The design is clean and uncluttered. It is easy to navigate between episodes and even includes some information on the cast and crew. There is also an option to download the episode for offline viewing, which I think is a critical part of the streaming experience.
If you already have an Apple TV, the app is going to integrate seamlessly, immediately allowing you to view the content on your television. We have a ChromeCast at home, and as we are not able to cast the Apple TV+ content to the device, we eventually resort to taking the HDMI route.
The Apple TV+ content is mixed with all the regular iTunes once-off buy or rent options so it can be quite confusing at first if you haven’t used any of those features before. A movie will usually set you back around R40 to rent and R160 to own and you can view it through the same app.
Keen to explore other streaming services in South Africa? Try this article.