The big Apple Event took place today on their campus in Cupertino, and SYFY FANGRRLS was lucky enough to get a firsthand look at all the big entertainment news from the tech giant. We learned some official news about the long-rumored streaming service, as well as the info on the many upcoming exclusive series and films, and there were a few surprises along the way. A plethora of A-List celebrities like Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams made appearances too, and we're summarizing some of the most notable announcements. If you’d like to check out the event video, you can do that right here.
In addition to announcements about Apple News+ and Apple Card, we learned a bunch of details about their exclusive entertainment output. Apple CEO Tim Cook told the crowd about what’s coming, one of those things being Apple Arcade. iOS has become the largest gaming platform in the world, and this is their first subscription service banking on that captive audience. Apple Arcade is going to bring over 100 new and exclusive games as part of the service including Fantasian, Beyond a Steel Sky, Lifelike, and old-school favorites like Sonic the Hedgehog and Frogger. One of the titles that caught our eye was Overland, a post-apocalyptic game that offers a wholly different experience every time you play it. There will be no ads, and all games will be playable offline. You can also bring them from device to device when you get a new one, something you can’t do right now. In fact, games will transfer to all of your iOS devices. One subscription will cover all of the members on your family plan.
On the TV side, they announced an all-new Apple TV app called Apple TV Channels. The entire Apple library will be included in this deal, as well as cable services like Spectrum, DirecTV, and Optimum, as well as Hulu, PlayStation Vue and more. Sorry, no Netflix. The big news here is that you're only going to have to pay for the channels you want, akin to the cable packages of old. The app is on demand and ad-free, and will be available online and off. It’s also included in your family sharing plan, so if one person gets it, you all get it. Apple TV Channels will include HBO, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access, Brit Box, and many more. The app has been redesigned and will intuitively suggest shows for you. It’s coming for Mac this fall as well, so you’ll be able to watch on a bigger screen. Apple TV Channels will keep you from bouncing from app to app on iPhone, Apple TV, and iPad in May.
Cook also announced some of the programs we’re getting with Apple TV Channels. Introducing them was a video with opening narration by none other than Steven Spielberg, which also revealed big-name Hollywood figures like J.J. Abrams, Sophia Coppola, M. Night Shyamalan, Ron Howard, Octavia Spencer, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and more. In the black and white video, they all spoke enthusiastically about creating content and what it means to them. Spielberg also took the stage and talked about resurrecting the 93-year-old brand of Amazing Stories, which will be one of many Apple TV exclusives, and he told the eager audience that the first episode will center on a WWII pilot in a plane that travels through time and space to the present day. He said that the series was formative for him as a kid, and that he was thrilled to bring incredible stories like these to the stage. He then added that the first season of Amazing Stories will have a theme that he hoped audiences would love.
Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard appeared to talk about their new show See, which takes place thousands of years after the world's population has gone blind. Woodard spoke about the “evil queens,” brave heroes and thrilling adventures in the series, which surrounds a society that deals with the world without sight. Jason Momoa is walking around and no one can see him. This is a crime.
The stage went dark for a bit, but when the lights went up, it was Big Bird in the spotlight! He was there with his new friend, a little girl monster puppet named Cody who told us about her new show that will introduce kids to coding and focus on STEM.
Outside of the genre stuff, we got to hear Kumail Nanjiani talking about his new show Little America which will focus on the experience of being an immigrant in America, and how he grew up. He told the crowd that the majority of writers and directors on the show are either immigrants or from immigrant families. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon showed up to talk about their new series The Morning Show, which will focus on male and female relationships behind-the-scenes at a morning talk show. This one has been the most discussed Apple TV project since its announcement, and there's a lot banking on its success. Co-star Steve Carell then made an appearance to joke about being the "prominent male character" in the series.
J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles came to the stage to talk about Little Voice, a music-focused drama, and Bareilles sang the song from the credits sequence. We also learned that the ad-free subscription service will have a bunch of Apple exclusives and originals and will be available in over 100 countries. It will be available this Fall.
Finally, Oprah herself took the stage to talk about how she and Apple were partnering to create more connection in the world, and she got a standing ovation as she spoke about her work to “heal our divisions.” She’s got two documentaries coming out on the streaming service. The first is called Toxic Labor and will examine sexual harassment and violation in the workplace. The second isn’t named yet, but will look at mental health with “compassion and honesty.” She is also reviving her book club, and interviews with authors will appear across platforms and will stream in Apple stores. When Cook came back, he was visibly moved and said he’d never forget the experience of sharing the stage with her. We can't say we blame him.
Stay tuned to SYFY FANGRRLS, and we’ll keep you updated as new announcements happen.