On Saturday the 14th of April this year, the new Apple TV+ streaming service premiered its first show at the Tribeca TV Festival.
By all accounts, that show (a lavish period drama depicting the life of poet Emily Dickinson) is a fine production. But that’s not really the point.
As the launch of Apple TV+ on 1 November approaches, the question on everybody’s lips is simple.
What difference will it make to a generation now firmly in love with Netflix?
Free for the fans
Let’s start with the good news: anyone who buys or has bought an Apple device since the 10th of September this year will get Apple TV+ free of charge for a year.
For them, it’s a risk-free investment. For the rest of the world, it’s £4.99 a month after the seven-day free trial comes to an end.
If you don’t have Apple hardware, you’ll be able to watch online via Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
However, the situation is more complex for smart TV owners.
If you have a Samsung smart TV that’s less than a couple of years old, you can probably watch through the Apple TV+ app from November.
Those with AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV sets will need to update their software, and some may have to mirror or cast the stream from another device.
If you have an LG, Roku, Sony, Vizio or Amazon Fire TV then rest assured, Apple say they will be providing you with Apple TV+ ‘in the future’.
In the meantime, everybody can nip over to tv.apple.com and watch the trailers right away.
Does Apple TV+ beat the competition?
A brief look at the Apple TV+ show line-up suggests it’s going to be decent quality stuff, but not necessarily ground-breaking.
There will be the usual combination of weekly shows and box sets, and Apple reps have been quoted as saying they want to make around six ‘small budget’ films each year.
But some have claimed that while Apple has around 30 original shows currently in production, relatively few will be available on launch day.
You could argue that puts Apple at a huge disadvantage compared with the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix, which both offer huge back catalogues as well as a constant supply of tempting original shows.
At £4.99 a month, Apple TV+ is competitively priced, but if a decent choice of streamed TV is what you’re after, it may not be your first port of call.
Arguably, you could get a much wider choice for only slightly more outlay.
Stars in their HDMIs
In terms of content, Apple TV+ doesn’t look set to change much in the world of streamed TV at all.
That is, apart from casting very high-profile names in a relatively small collection of programmes.
Stars appearing in early Apple shows include Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Jason Momoa.
What Apple TV+ might change is the sales profile of Apple technology and devices, especially since it’s being launched at around the same time as Apple Arcade.
Apple Arcade is a library of online games, available for the same monthly fee as Apple TV+ and available from the 19th of September 2019.
Both these services will doubtlessly influence perceptions of the Apple brand, and give some people good reason to buy the tech titan’s devices.
But while Apple Arcade has won wide acclaim, the response to Apple’s early TV offerings has been lukewarm.
Of course, with the launch still more than a month away, it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions.
Perhaps in a year we’ll all be watching Apple TV+, but at the moment, it seems unlikely that Netflix and Amazon Prime execs are losing too much sleep.