Apple has been a huge player in the tech market for decades, yet there are some niches that it has failed to corner as resoundingly as it would hope. Video streaming, dominated by the likes of Netflix and Amazon, is just one area into which the iPhone manufacturer is eager to extend its influence, so it is no surprise that it has announced a new platform to support these ambitions going forwards.
Chief executive, Tim Cook, was fairly vague in providing details about Apple TV Plus, but there are a few facts that are out in the public domain which could point to its potential as an alternative to established streaming solutions in this increasingly competitive space.
The most important aspect of any streaming service is the features that it delivers to end users since these need to be sufficiently compelling to get them on board and must evolve to ensure that they are happy to continually pay a monthly subscription fee.
The promise of exclusive content produced solely for broadcast via Apple TV Plus will put it in the same arena as Netflix and Prime Video, although this might continue to fragment the audience as people are either forced to pay for yet another subscription or stay loyal to just one solution for all their streaming needs, thereby missing out on certain shows and movies.
Another selling point that has been confirmed for Apple TV Plus is that it will not include any kind of advertisements, which is a major draw for anyone who is tired of sitting through promotional material on standard TV channels and streaming services such as YouTube.
In terms of being able to access Apple TV Plus, support for the service should be fairly comprehensive rather than being limited to Apple-branded devices such as the iPhone and iPad. You should be able to stream it on Android smartphones whilst out and about. And if you happen to walk into a lamppost and drop your expensive device because you are so engrossed in your favourite series, you may be glad you protected it with one of the best gadget insurance policies!
Apple is also planning to partner with manufacturers to build the Apple TV Plus service into smart TVs, allowing for native support. Whether it will crop up on dongles such as the Amazon Fire TV stick remains to be seen, given the obvious conflict with Amazon Prime.
At the moment Apple still sells its own set-top box. Whether it will continue to try to fight for a slice of the TV hardware market in the future is unclear, but there is obviously a great deal of consumer interest in this type of device at the moment which it would be unwise to ignore.
For consumers, the question will become which subscription services they value the most, primarily driven by the content available, pricing and contract conditions. Amazon arguably has the edge thanks to the bundling of Prime delivery with its subscription, but some believe that Netflix is winning the war for quality content. It seems that there is everything to play for.