The Information has sources that claim Apple will launch their video service in mid-April. There’s a good summary of recent rumored activity in Sarah Perez’s TechCrunch piece, where she goes over several recent news items, including Apple acquiring a film at Sundance.
Peter Kafka has a piece at Recode where he carefully parses what Tim Cook said during the Q&A on the investor call today.
But here’s a shorter version of the important stuff:
- Apple is going to make it easy/possible to consume the video Apple makes and sells on other people’s hardware, like Samsung TV sets.
- Apple already lets people buy subscriptions to TV services like Hulu via its iTunes store. It’s going to do more of that, and Apple believes it will end up selling a bundle of those that will compete with traditional pay TV bundles — a goal Apple has been trying to achieve for more than a decade.
- Apple is buying a lot of TV shows, and now movies, and also deals for … stuff with people like Oprah Winfrey.
- Again. Apple has either said this some of this before, out loud, or hasn’t protested when people have reported it.
But put it all in one place, speed it up, and what you get is: “We are going to sell a bundle of other people’s TV shows and movies, and add our own, and make sure you can watch it anywhere you want.”
A spring launch has been speculated about for a bit by a few people, including myself, but this is the first rumor about a launch window. I personally think an event in March is likely, even with the news of stuff launching in mid-April, because I feel like there’s a big story to get out there before the product is available. Also, this isn’t the kind of product that launches when it’s ready to ship. It’s an entertainment content trough. It needs constant replenishing. Apple is going to host an event, say every episode is available on day one, and then disappear for 12-18 months. Having said that, be prepared for some regional restrictions, particularly on things like channels.
Here’s the start of the roll-out:
- Apple books a theatre in Los Angeles.
- Apple sends out coy invitations to both tech press and entertainment trades. Some curtains, film reels, or the Hollywood hills, etc.
- Announce the service on stage, with the channels that tie in, “same great blah blah you know and love.”
- Then announce the original content by saying something like, “starting (day) these shows will be available here’s a preview.” Lights dim, sizzle reel goes on, lights up, then, “more great shows rolling out in summer and fall all year blah blah.”
- Apple buys ads on TV, and online, like Apple does for any hardware product or Apple Music. Most spots will be for specific shows that wraps with an “Available on Apple (Horrible Name)” but some spots will just be for the service, showing how it bundles everything together.
- Vulture recaps every episode every week, and there are at least 10 podcasts recapping each episode of each show, all promoted in Podcasts dot app.
Now flash forward a couple months for Apple bloggers to freak out about the number of shows that aren’t ready at launch time or some such bologna.