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Apple’s original TV shows and films could be free-to-watch for iOS device owners

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Apple has been looking to develop original video content for its new digital media strategy for quite some time now, and a new report from CNBC (opens in new tab) claims the tech giant plans to give away some of its TV shows and movies for free to anyone who owns an iOS or Apple TV device.

According to the report, “Owners of Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV will find the still-in-the-works service in the pre-installed 'TV' application.” 

The new streaming platform will also offer “subscription services from legacy media companies” that users may already be paying for, so customers won’t need to log into multiple apps to access films and TV from other networks like HBO and Starz.

The big push

Apple has been pumping a lot of money into creating original TV programming. An investment of $1 billion dollars has resulted in partnerships with some big Hollywood names, including Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, M. Night Shyamalan, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

The CNBC reports suggests that Apple is looking for its own 'tent pole' franchise to bolster the new streaming platform – something people will be willing to pay for, like what Game of Thrones does for HBO.

Wholesome family fun?

While Apple may be doing everything it can to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, CEO Tim Cook is reportedly only keen funding PG-rated shows and films for the in-development service. 

Last month, the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) reported that he had personally shelved Vital Signs, a show based on the life of rapper and Beats Electronics co-founder Dr Dre, because a preview episode had drug use and sex scenes.

Apple wants to keep its streaming service open to a wide audience, and plans to do so by curating shows that the entire family can watch together. Whether audiences consider that a move they're willing to support is yet to be seen.

Apple also has a spotty history when it comes to freebies. It practically broke the internet when the company decided to forcefully ‘gift’ U2’s Songs of Innocence album to iOS device owners in 2014. Nobody seemed to like it, and nobody seemed to want it – that’s obviously not stopping the Cupertino firm from trying again.

It’s currently speculated that the new TV service and accompanying app could debut around March next year.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Sharmishta Sarkar

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.