Whether it says so directly or not, Apple is pushing to become the premier source for entertainment this year. In addition to its existing offerings of iTunes, the App Store, Apple Music and Apple News, the tech company is almost ready to launch its much-anticipated video-streaming service, according to reports this week.
Per The Information, Apple has been telling its entertainment partners — with whom it’s been working on a slate of expensive, much-buzzed-about original video projects for a while now — to prepare for a U.S. launch in mid-April. The as-yet-unnamed video-streaming service is expected to have original content as well as shows from companies like STARZ and HBO; a selection of the offerings will be given to Apple users for free, though most will likely be available via monthly subscription.
Apple currently has some two dozen exclusive TV shows either in the casting or filming stages, ranging from comedies to science fiction thrillers to children’s shows, and it appears to be going head-to-head with the current industry leaders, Netflix and Amazon, in snapping up new, promising projects. To boost competitiveness, Apple has struck content deals with major Hollywood figures including Reese Witherspoon, Jenifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan and Damien Chazelle.
But the imminent launch of Apple’s video-streaming service is only one thing — and the tech giant’s future plans for its various entertainment offerings as a whole, about which there is much speculation, are another. Ever since Apple first started showing an interest in Hollywood deals, rumors have swirled about its eventual plans for bundling those video offerings together with Apple Music, Apple News or both. While the notoriously secretive company has remained silent about any plans for a comprehensive subscription service, all the signs are there, and many industry analysts and onlookers believe it to be only a matter of time.