Rumors of a streaming TV service from Apple have been bubbling for years, including a planned live TV streaming service that would compete with the likes of Sling TV, but that was reportedly shelved in 2015. That doesn’t mean that Apple has given up, as the service is reported to be planning a streaming TV service that is more similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
It appears that the company is attacking this project with the same gusto with which it approaches its hardware and software offerings, as three sources speaking to The Information said that while the service will launch first in the U.S., it will expand to more than 100 countries just a few months after launch. This sort of global rollout is normally reserved for Apple’s tentpole products like the iPhone, which could speak to how seriously the company is taking this service. If the sources are to be believed, we don’t have long to wait either, as they say that the service will launch in the first half of 2019.
Apple has already been taking steps in this direction with its original programming, which it currently releases via Apple Music, like Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps. For future programming, it has signed a multi-year deal with Oprah Winfrey, ordered a space drama from Battlestar Galactica reboot creator Ron Moore, and is reportedly planning an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s novel Foundation, among other projects. The company reportedly has strict rules about what it shows, restricting sex, violence, and drug use, among other things.
Those aren’t the only restrictions that Apple may impose on its new service. This streaming TV service will reportedly only be available on Apple’s own devices like iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV. This would be quite a severe handicap, given the wide variety of platforms on which its competitors are available, but this could also be a temporary measure to help the service withstand the growing pains that are often part of the launch of these types of services.
For its part, Apple has yet to issue any official statement, but that is par for the course when it comes to the company, which always remains tight-lipped about any unannounced product. There is an outside chance this new service could be a “one more thing” announcement at its event on October 30, but for now, this service remains a rumor, albeit an interesting one.