Tim Cook 'doesn't want sex and violence on Apple TV'

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Tim Cook is reportedly concerned about the inclusion of adult content in Apple’s burgeoning offering of original programming, and objected to scenes of sex and drug use in a commissioned biopic of rapper and producer Dr Dre.

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required, but Business Insider also has the story) reports that the Apple CEO saw footage from the six-part series Vital Signs back in 2017 and thought it too gratuitous for Apple's platforms – the series appears to have been put on ice amid reports of reshoots, and there's no word about a release date.

The content Cook reportedly took issue with – depictions of sex, violence, and drug use – are pretty common fare in today’s television landscape, particularly in a music industry biopic, so we’re not sure what Cook expected. But Apple seems to be aiming for clean, family fare, and is still figuring out what its own programming is going to look like going forward.

The technology giant began shipping Apple TVs under Steve Jobs back in 2006, and has been looking to expand into its own original television programming in the vein of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO.

That’s a difficult task from the get-go, given the glut of streaming services competing for viewers’ attention. Apple will also face particular competition from Disney, which is set to launch its own family-friendly streaming service, Disney Play, some time in 2019.

Apple has already released its first original reality show, Planet of the Apps, which sees app developers compete for funding from a Dragons' Den-style panel, and the James Corden-hosted Carpool Karaoke.

Something old, something new

Apple’s great strength is its brand image, which keeps consumers coming back to it year after year for each new generation of iPhones, Macbooks, and Apple Watches with the promise of trend-setting technological innovation. 

Apple-made programming that plays it too safe might not capture its fans’ imaginations in the same way, while sending the message that the once-visionary brand isn’t as forward-thinking as it seems.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.