Apple Unveils Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ Prices and Dates

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Apple relieved some media-heightened suspense at its September event by unveiling the debut dates and prices for its Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ services.

Apple TV+ will cost $7.99 a month in Australia, which seems a bit high for a service with limited content. The Apple promo page does mention you can also buy/rent other TV shows and movies (i.e. iTunes purchases are integrated) which seems to be a key part of their business model so the subscription cost here is disappointing.
Then again we have just about run out of things to watch on Netflix so a few iTunes 99c rentals a month plus Apple TV+ might be our future preference.
For us it is also important that the (device) AppleTV continues to support Homesharing so we can watch local content stored on a Mac.

At today’s exchange rate, $7.99AUD is 10% more than the U.S. fee of $4.99USD. Since it apparently doesn’t include access to any licensed content, the value is all a question of how much content Apple produces and if you’re interested in it. It can be shared by up to six family members so that’s another part of the value. If you run out of stuff worth watching, stop paying for a while then sign up again when there’s enough new stuff.

Device-wise, I’m glad it won’t require an Apple one, I’ll see if I want to sign up after it’s available on the Roku.

My guess is that Apple is charging more in markets that have the strongest established base of Apple devices and services. I’ll bet they are also benchmarking against other streaming services in each country and also considering how much, or little, of their current very limited list of programming, will be a draw.

I did some snooping around about this and found that pricing among markets varies considerably. India, which is a particularly challenging market for Apple, will only cost $1.38 per month. Since Disney is releasing its streaming service on a market by market basis, Apple will be getting a big jump on them. And since India is a very strong market for Netflix, the pricing and trial plans could work very well:

Apple’s announcement was well received by the stock market, and Disney and Netflix took a hit:

But there’s a big, big difference between Disney+ (or Netflix) and Apple TV: Disney has actual content (boy, do they have actual content), Apple doesn’t. I signed up for Disney+ using the D23 discount, while I wouldn’t even bother with Apple TV+ if I wasn’t getting it for free with tomorrow’s iPhone purchases (not sure whether ordering a AW5 counts or not). I’m looking forward to The Mandalorian, and that’s just the beginning. I’m not sure I’ll even check out Apple TV+.

I don’t think TV+ and Disney are head to head rivals, and they are both aggressively priced to be likely add-ons for Netflix and Hulu. Personally, I’m not that interested in Apple’s current line up. I’m also a lot more tempted by Disney’s back catalog and I’m also planning subscribe to it depending on how much of it they offer. I think one of the big reasons both Apple and Disney have developed streaming TV services to boost sales of their other products. And Disney wouldn’t have walked away from it’s $150 million per year deal with Netflix if they weren’t positive their new service would pay off big time in the short term.

Disney will be selling its new service on Apple’s App Store, so Apple will be getting a 30% cut from every subscription plus in-app purchases, and add on some more if Disney Plus subscriber uses Apple Pay or Apple Credit Card. Disney is the big majority shareholder in Hulu, pretty much makes them the defacto owner, which is distributed on the Apple Store as well. And there been no hint that Disney is planning an end run around the App Store, a la Netflix. Disney Plus stands to generate significant revenue for Apple, and Disney stands to earn significant revenue from Apple.

At least for now, the content the services are offering is very different. Apple has all original stuff and severely limited inventory at the moment. Disney is heavy on its wonderful back catalog, which will probably include stuff from its recent Fox acquisition that’s not on Hulu now.

For what it’s worth, I’ll be buying an iPhone 11, so I gather I’ll get a year’s free Apple TV+. That means they get a year to win me over. We’ll see…!

Classification: PROTECTED

Will Arcade require Catalina? I’d be tempted to try it out on my MBP, but that’s Mojave only for the time being.

I’m not at all interested in Apple TV+ at this point. Mostly because I have yet to see a single trailer that gets me interested in one of their shows. Morning Show had some decent actors, but the story is way to hysterical and neurotic for my taste. There’s already too much drama in my real work life, I don’t need to watch over-the-top fiction of that.

That said, if they ever do anything that I’m actually interested in, I’ll watch it for free when I get my next Mac or iPhone. And if I can’t wait that long, I’ll just rent/buy it when it comes out on iTunes. I don’t need a subscription when I can pick and choose, and then pay only for what I’m actually interested in.

Haven’t even seen rumors about that. Don’t believe any beta test group has even seen the app yet. Probably only Apple employees know, for certain (maybe game developers). The rest of us will have to wait a week.

The Apple Newsroom article says:

  • Apple Arcade will be available on September 19 with iOS 13, on September 30 on iPadOS and tvOS 13, and in October on macOS Catalina.

So it looks like it will require Catalina for macOS.

Interesting early look at Disney+. “Empty but elegant” compared to Netflix but obviously a lot more content than Apple TV+.

I’m considering a Disney subscription, mainly because I like to keep up with the “Grands”. :wink::rofl: Mostly it will depend on whether I can stream on my smart tv and not just my computer.

There have been discussions about MoviePass and other cinema services here before, and I think the recent announcements about Apple TV+, Disney+ and Hulu, CBS All Access hastened the demise of a service that was doomed from the start:

I’m thinking of buying a new TV just to get the 1 free year of TV+ then cancel just before the year is up.