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Apple TV Plus: Release Date, Price, Reviews, Shows and Movies

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in "The Morning Show."
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's streaming service is here, just in time to start a new streaming war with Disney Plus. Meet Apple TV Plus (which the company stylizes as Apple TV+), which is built on on original shows with high-profile names attached. Everyone from Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon to Oprah and J.J. Abrams are on board. Here's everything we know about Apple TV Plus.

Of course, now that Apple TV Plus is live, you're probably wondering where to start. Our The Morning Show review reveals that the biggest doubter in our office was entertained when he saw the show for himself, though a couple of aspects kept him skeptical. Check out our Apple TV Plus review to see what we love — and what devices 

Apple TV Plus cheat sheet

  • What's Apple TV Plus? Apple's made its own streaming service (not a new streaming device) because every company now seemingly needs original content.
  • Release Date: Apple TV Plus launched on Nov. 1.
  • Supported Devices: iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TV HD & 4K, Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick
  • Free Year Deal: If you recently bought an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac, you might be eligible for a free year of Apple TV Plus.
  • Top Shows: See (starring Jason Momoa) and The Morning Show (starring Jennifer Aniston) are the big titles that Apple is heavily promoting.
  • Price: Apple TV Plus costs $4.99 per month in the US. The monthly rate is £4.99 and AU $7.99, in the U.K. and Australia, respectively.

Apple TV Plus release date and devices

Apple TV Plus launched on Friday (Nov. 1) in more than 100 countries. Additional episodes of Apple TV Plus original shows are debuting on the following Fridays.

You'll be able to experience all of these shows via the Apple TV app, which is available on more platforms than you might expect. Not only is it on the Apple TV, Macs, iPhones and iPads, it's also on Roku and Amazon Fire TV (which just added the Fire TV Cube to finally complement the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K). It will also be on Smart TVs, from Samsung and others.

I hit a wall trying to sign in to Apple TV Plus on my Fire TV Stick 4K, but I figured out the solution.

Apple TV Plus price

Apple TV+ will cost $4.99 ($2 cheaper than Disney Plus — which just launched today, Nov. 12) and that's for a family subscription.

Apple TV Plus free year deal, bundles: How to save

According to Apple, those who bought a new "iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD or Mac," after Sept. 1, 2019, qualify for a free year of Apple TV Plus. Check out our guide on how to cash that in to get a free year of Apple TV Plus.

To get your free access, open the TV app on Nov. 1 (or later), and you should gain your offer for a free year, with a button that reads "Enjoy 1 Year Free." If you don't see it, make sure the device is updated to the latest version of its operating system (iOS, iPadOS, tvOS or macOS).

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's also offering free Apple TV Plus for students subscribing to its $4.99 per month version of Apple Music.

Apple TV Plus show reviews are in

The big four shows at the center of the Apple TV Plus launch are Dickinson, For All Mankind, The Morning Show and See. Early reviews point to the first two being solid potential hits and the latter two failing to hit the mark.

The Morning Show brings Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell together to explore issues of sex and power in the workplace, set behind the scenes at a Today-style morning news program. (Apple has released a couple of teaser trailers to promote this show.)

Dickinson will star Hailee Steinfeld as the famous 19th century author Emily Dickinson, and present her life in a funny coming-of-age format with attitude.

Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodward discussed See, a new show in which the Earth has been hit by a virus and the survivors are blind. The post-apocalyptic vibe definitely looks compelling.

For a comprehensive analysis of the service, check our our full Apple TV Plus review.

While we've learned about a ton of Apple TV Plus shows and movies so far, the company chose to highlight a select few at its March 25 event. Steven Spielberg is bringing Amazing Stories back to TV. The rebooted anthology series from the 1980s combines sci-fi, fantasy and horror. Spielberg is serving as executive producer.

This just in: Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds and Apple TV Plus are teaming up for a "musical reimagining" of A Christmas Carol. Those words might not sound like they go together, but this Variety report sounds pretty legit. 

Little America is inspired by immigrant stories in the U.S. and it's being headed by actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani. The writers and directors are either immigrants or children of immigrants. His hope is that we won't view immigrants as "the other."

Another big highlight featured director J.J. Abrams and singer Sara Bareilles promoting Little Voice, which is about a young woman who wants to "find her voice as an artist and a person," according to Bareilles. She gave us a taste by performing the theme song.

Oprah Winfrey will be involved with Apple TV+, too, creating documentaries for the service. The first two will look at sexual harassment in the workplace and mental health. Winfrey says hat Apple's new service will enable her to do something she hasn't done before and "connect with people around the world to create positive change."

One of the shows that you won't see on Apple TV+, as it was just cancelled, is Bastards. The Richard Gere-led drama focused on a pair of elderly Vietnam veterans who are shocked to learn that a woman they were close to, 50 years ago, was killed by a car. The pair go on to complain about millennials and commit a shooting spree. Lovely programming, right? To get a sense of why Bastards died, read below to learn about the positive vibe Apple wants to give its shows. 

Every Apple TV Plus show and movie that arrived at launch

  • See (Episodes 1 - 3)
  • The Morning Show (Episodes 1 - 3)
  • For All Mankind (Episodes 1 - 3)
  • Dickinson (Episodes 1 - 10)
  • Oprah's Book Club (Episode 1)
  • Helpsters (Sesame Street) (Episodes 1 - 6)
  • Ghostwriter (Episodes 1 - 7)
  • Snoopy in Space shorts (Episodes 1 - 12)
  • The Elephant Queen (documentary)

Apple TV Plus shows coming soon or later

What are the Apple TV Plus Channels?

Apple TV Channels are Apple's ala carte subscriptions, where it will sell you individual channels of programming. If you're anti-bundle, it's a huge deal. Amazon has had its own version for a while, check out our guide to Apple TV Channels vs Amazon Prime Video Channels to learn more.

How do Apple Plus and Netflix compare?

Well, there is a streaming media war going on right now (Disney Plus is the biggest warship on the horizon), but Apple Plus is lacking one thing that helps Netflix convince people to keep their membership. Non-original content, aka licensed movies and TV shows. Will Apple buy older programming to bolster its offering, or feel free to continue as is? We're as curious as you are. 

Check out my Apple TV Plus vs Netflix face-off to see if I think Netflix should fear Apple.

Apple TV Plus' editorial vision: A focus on 'enlightenment'

If you're looking for Black Mirror-style content and stuff that's super dark, it doesn't look like Apple TV+ is for you. The service is geared toward telling uplifting and enlightening stories, but there will certainly be conflict and drama based on the trailers shown.

MORE: Apple TV Plus: All the Shows and Movies Announced So Far

We'll have more information on Apple TV+ as it becomes available.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.