Apple recently sent out an invitation for an event on March 25th in Cupertino, California. Although the invitation does not lay out the agenda for the event, many believe that Apple will reveal more information about the upcoming streaming service. The company has attempted to keep a tight lid on the project. Twelve people have reportedly been arrested for leaking information.
What do we so far know about the project? Apple has supposedly commissioned two dozen television series and has gained the rights to a number of Sundance films. They are also working alongside Hollywood superstars such as Oprah Winfrey, Chris Evans, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Brie Larson, Jason Momoa, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, and Steven Spielberg. Some shows may be free to Apple device owners, while the remaining shows will only be available to subscribers.
Apple is well known for keeping their projects under wraps until the last second, but their tight lips in this scenario might be a sign of trouble. Hollywood studios have complained that Apple is difficult to work with. The company badgers producers with questions about how its products like the MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad are featured and insist that they are only portrayed in a positive light. While we can understand the trepidation that Apple might feel giving that this is "its" streaming service, producers likely aren't used to such incessant micromanaging on projects.
While Apple would want its products to shine on the silver screen, the company seems to be less concerned about other aspects of the service. Producers lament that Apple is not as communicative about important details like release dates as they are about their products. One producer noted, “They are making big changes, firing and hiring new writers. There’s a lack of clarity on what they want.”
The company has also been accused of being too “conservative”. Rumor has it that Apple is trying to only produce “family-friendly” content. Director M. Night Shyamalan reportedly fought to keep a crucifix in the scene of one of his upcoming thrillers.
Apple’s streaming service will likely launch at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020. They are also expected to announce their new subscription service “Apple News” at the March 25th event. Customers will pay $9.99 USD a month to access publications like The New York Times or Washington Post. It is unclear whether Apple will reveal any other new products or services at the event. For now, it seems we will need to wait until next week to learn anything more about this potential Netflix competitor.