Is It Apple TV+ Worth It? Or, Should You Wait 12 Months…
Is an Apple TV+ subscription worth keeping once the free trial ends? Let’s find out by looking at the current state of play and what’s planned for the next 12 months or so…
Apple TV+ is the newest, major streaming platform on the market. Apple is plowing billions of dollars into content in a bid to compete with more established platforms like Netflix, Disney, and Amazon. As of 2022, Apple’s library of content pales in comparison to what you get with Netflix, Amazon, or Disney.
For new users, this is the #1 reason why many users have not subscribed to Apple’s new streaming platform. And those that have subscribed, the vast majority, anyway, are likely those that have free trials off the back of buying an iPhone. Given the sheer number of free trials Apple has given out, it is hard to pin down the exact number of fully subscribed, fully committed Apple TV+ users.
This post is aimed at those currently running a free Apple TV+ trial and those looking to potentially subscribe to Apple TV+. The purpose is to examine how Apple TV+ stacks up to platforms like Netflix, whether it offers enough to justify subscribing, and what Apple’s plans are for Apple TV+ in the coming years. By the end, you’ll have a fairly good idea of whether an Apple TV+ subscription is worth it or not.
But first, it is definitely worth getting the negatives of Apple TV+ out of the way. Once we’ve established some of the platform’s problems, we can then move on to what it has going for it – and there is quite a lot to like about Apple’s nascent TV and movie streaming platform, believe it or not.
Apple TV+ CONS – Why You Wouldn’t Subscribe
As of right now, these are the main reasons why someone wouldn’t subscribe to Apple TV+ or continue to subscribe once their free trial has ended. These points are based on my own experience using Apple TV+, research into the platform itself, and its current limitations versus more established platforms like Amazon, Netflix, and Disney.
Apple TV+ CONS
Netflix Has Way More TV Shows & Movies
There’s no way around the fact that Amazon, Disney, and Netflix just have way more content than Apple TV+. These other, more established streaming platforms have had a massive head start on Apple, so this is to be expected.
If you’re used to having a Netflix-sized cache of films and TV shows at your fingertips, Apple TV+ might feel a little like a ghost town right now. There is plenty of content on there, most of it very, very good, but with respect to the sheer amount of content available, Apple TV+ is a long way behind the competition.
You Can’t Download Apple TV+ on Android
Apple isn’t known for making life easy for Android users. It wants to you use iPhone, so it deliberately makes life tricky for any Android users interested in dipping their toes into the Apple ecosystem. And Apple TV+ is no different. As of right now, there is NO Apple TV+ app available for Android.
If you run an Android phone and you want to subscribe to Apple TV+, you’ll have to do it either through your TV, a console like an Xbox or PS4/PS5, or a Roku or Amazon Firestick. Sky now does a native app for Apple TV+ and so too do many TV brands like LG, Sony, and Samsung.
But you cannot download Apple TV+ onto your Android phone and stream it to your TV via Chromecast. Apple TV+ does not support Chromecast and nor does it support Android phones. For the record, I think this was a huge mistake on Apple’s part. If it had included support for Android at launch, as well as Chromecast, it could have potentially netted itself tens of millions of additional users.
It Lacks Iconic, Classic Shows
One of the cool things about Netflix, Amazon, and Disney is that they have loads of classic, iconic shows – shows like Friends, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, The Office. And these shows are great for binge-watching on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Amazon, Disney, and Netflix are all fairly evenly matched in this context.
Apple TV+ does things very differently. Apple is focused on producing its own, unique content. It isn’t interested in brokering deals to get old shows on its platform. It wants to make classic TV shows and make these the new go-to binge-watching series. It is a commendable goal, but sadly it is one that will take a while to realize.
Apple is definitely making headway, however, and it already has a few fairly iconic shows on its books in the form of Ted Lasso, Severance, and Foundation. And there are new shows being added and produced ALL the time. And the really cool thing about Apple’s content is that it spans multiple genres, covering pretty much all the bases – from comedy to sci-fi to straight-up drama.
It Doesn’t Work With Chromecast
I mentioned this point before, but it is such a glaring error that I think it needs to be made twice. Apple TV+ does not support Chromecast, so if you have a slightly older HDTV, as I do, and a Chromecast in the side of it, as well as an iPhone, you cannot stream from your iPhone to your HDTV. No, in order to do that, you’ll need to buy an Apple TV for your TV – and they cost $149.
Why Apple didn’t just swallow its pride and include Chromecast support inside Apple TV+ I have no idea. Maybe it REALLY wants you to buy an Apple TV? I mean, they are cheaper than buying a brand new 4K Smart TV that would come with a native Apple TV+ app. But even Apple couldn’t be that cynical, could it? I think it could.
The fact that Apple TV+ does not support Android, a decision that is literally costing Apple tens of millions of dollars a month, illustrates profoundly the lengths Apple will go to in order to propagate its own ends.
Apple TV+ PROS
OK, that’s the bad stuff out of the way. Now let’s take a look at all the reasons why you WOULD subscribe to Apple TV+ for the long haul.
Apple TV+ Content is Very Good
Apple’s current roster of content is fairly limited to what you get with Netflix and Amazon. But the content it does have is VERY good. The quality, both in how they’re shot and the overall writing and acting, of practically everything I’ve watched thus far on Apple TV+ has been incredible. How good? I’d say the caliber of the shows Apple has produced so far are as good as, if not better than Netflix when it is at its best.
Ted Lasso, Foundation, Tehran, Severance, Pachinko, and films like The Greyhound and CODA are all massively impressive. But Apple also has an array of really good, super engaging documentaries on Apple TV+ too. And there’s loads of stuff in the pipeline as well, including the new Martin Scorsese movie, Killers of The Flower Moon, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
There is also an as-yet-untitled Lewis Hamilton documentary, a score of book adaptations, including the brilliant Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and a whole host of additional films and TV shows with big-name stars attached like Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. Basically, Apple is spending A LOT of money on content between now and 2023, and the results should be very impressive indeed.
Apple is Investing BILLIONS in New Content
Building on the last point, Apple has plenty of cash – we all know that. The company has hundreds of billions locked away in its vaults, ready to be spent on content as well as other things like acquisitions and new product development. But Apple TV+ is one of Apple’s biggest focuses right now – it wants to beat Netflix, and it is willing to spend the money to do it.
The platform is still very much in its infancy, but Apple’s approach and control over what is produced is already paying dividends. Most of the content on the platform has been well received by critics and users alike. CODA, the first straight-to-streaming film to win an Oscar, shows that Apple not only has an eye for quality content, but it also has the expertise to ensure it is realized correctly.
There are plenty of jokes about Netflix producing any, old guff. If you have an idea, pitch it to Netflix – you might get yourself a show, or maybe a movie. Netflix is a big deal, sure, but these “jokes” about the quality of its content are, for the most part, well-founded. Sure, Netflix has some great content. But the truly great stuff is outnumbered by the mediocre and downright awful.
With Apple TV+, Apple is clearly mindful of this. It feels apparent that whatever makes it onto Apple TV+ has been heavily vetted and scrutinized. The quality of the shows and movies it has produced thus far demonstrates this profoundly. In this context, Apple appears – at least to begin with – to be going with QUALITY over QUANTITY. And I can get behind that totally.
The Platform is Constantly Growing
The thing Apple needs to be careful of is how it manages to maintain this level of quality as it levels up its platform and begins adding in more and more TV shows and movies. Netflix started off great with its original content, you had House of Cards, Narcos, Better Call Saul, but then things started going downhill pretty quickly. Netflix still definitely has its moments. But the bulk of its original stuff is only just passable.
If Apple is to beat Netflix at its own game, it needs to carry on the momentum it has created during its first 18 months on market, keep its eye for detail and quality firmly focused, and expand its reach with more intelligent, engaging shows and movies. I really love that Apple is adapting iconic novels left, right, and center.
As someone that spends a good deal of time reading, I’ve often wondered why companies like Netflix and Amazon aren’t just adapting books, rather than trying to develop their own shows from scratch? I think Apple noticed this too and is now setting about buying up the rights to books old and new. And this is a smart move on Apple’s part. I just hope it continues and, finger’s crossed, FINALLY makes the adaptation of The Stand that we all deserve.
Apple TV+ is Cheaper Than Netflix
Apple is smaller, it knows this, and, in a typically un-Apple move, it has factored this into its pricing for Apple TV+. Once your free trial of Apple TV+ is up, you’ll only be charged $4.99/£4.99 a month for your monthly subscription – or, around, half the price of Netflix and/or Amazon.
If you don’t want too much TV, and you’re sick of Netflix and Amazon, ditching them both for Apple TV+ could be just what the doctor ordered. You’ll have less choice, of course, but what you will have to watch will be more focused and, generally speaking, of a much higher quality than what you get with Netflix and Amazon.
Is Apple TV+ Worth It?
Apple TV+ has quite a lot going for it. I’d argue the main thing that separates it from Netflix and Amazon is its overall quality – there isn’t any fluff on the platform or filler. The content that is on there feels like it earned its place on the platform like it was properly vetted, developed, and produced. Not just churned out for the sake of bulking up the numbers.
There is more than enough content on Apple TV+ to make it a worthwhile subscription right now. I’d happily pay $4.99 a month just to watch Foundation and Severance, for instance, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. I also really liked Ted Lasso, it has classic series written all over it, and Tehran was outstanding. Apple’s films, while few in number, are very impressive also – CODA won an Oscar for Pete’s sake!
For me, as someone that doesn’t watch too much TV, Apple TV+ is the perfect platform and well worth the asking fee of $4.99. It has enough content to keep me engaged but it never feels like there’s too much to choose from. I actually don’t mind having access to less content, so long as the quality is present, which it is in spades on Apple TV+. Plus, the platform’s lack of content isn’t going to be that much of a big deal for much longer anyway – Apple is spending billions bulking out Apple TV+.
My only hope is that it can maintain its current quality. If Apple can do that, and grow its content to a place near the level of Netflix several years ago, I think it will be the best streaming platform on the market, a place where you stream quality TV shows, movies, and documentaries – and nothing else. And who knows? We might even see Apple buying up the rights to more popular series in the future too.
As of right now, Apple TV+ is extremely promising, it has some truly outstanding content, and the future, providing Apple can maintain its current level of quality, looks very, very promising indeed. As of 2022, I’d argue, unequivocally, that Apple TV+ is well worth the price of admission. I will definitely be continuing with my subscription once my three-month trial ends.
And check out What Is Apple TV?