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Report: Apple plans to launch subscription TV service worldwide in first half of 2019

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Jan 19, 2021, 12:50 PM EST (Updated)

A tech behemoth is finally getting ready to join the streaming wars.

The Information (via Deadline) reports that Apple intends to launch its long-expected subscription streaming service in the first half of 2019. The plan is to start the service in the United States and quickly roll out from there to more than 100 countries around the world, immediately putting Apple's service into direct competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Those two latter services are in more than 190 and 200 nations, respectively.

Apple has experience with global launches for products like the iPhone, and it intends to give its streaming service a leg up by offering its original content for free on all Apple devices, presumably including iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, and so on. Viewers will also be able to purchase traditional subscriptions to other TV networks through the Apple service.

Of course, the service will also be available through Apple TV. That streaming device has a smaller market share (28 percent) than Roku (37 percent), although a larger slice of the market than Amazon Fire (25 percent).

And what exactly will viewers be able to see in terms of original content? Well, the company is said to be spending a billion dollars on content, and there are supposedly around 20 projects in development. At least 20 percent of them are genre-oriented.

Ronald D. Moore (Outlander) is working on a space-based show called For All Mankind, while Jason Momoa (Aquaman) is slated to headline a show called See that is reportedly set in an epic future worldscape.

Apple has also picked up the long-developing Amazing Stories reboot from Steven Spielberg and is preparing an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's sci-fi milestone Foundation.

Even on the non-genre side, Apple is planning to make a considerable mark: It just signed The Office star Steve Carell for a new series that will also feature Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. Those aren't exactly unknown actors looking for their first big break.

If all that content is offered for free on the reported 1.3 billion active Apple devices operating around the world today (by comparison, Netflix boasts just one-tenth of that -- 137 million subscribers -- on the planet), Apple might create a footprint the size of a moon on the marketplace when it debuts next year.

Are you ready for Apple's streaming service and yet another option for more original genre content?