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How does Apple plan to take on Netflix and Amazon Prime with a fledgling entertainment service? By launching it worldwide, in more than 100 countries.

That’s the word of a new report from the information website, which says the service will launch in the first half of 2019 and will be free to users of Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple. TV.

It’s a drastically different business strategy than its competitors, who charge an average of $ 9.99 per month to access programming. This includes Netflix and Amazon (included in the Prime membership for expedited shipping and entertainment) and CBS, Hulu, HBO and others.

Still, there is little reason to doubt the report, which “The Information” attributed to three anonymous sources who are said to be familiar with the company’s plans. Apple declined a request for comment from USA TODAY.

You don’t really have to look far for proof that such a long-awaited service is in the works. Following the Netflix-Amazon playbook, Apple is already spending a lot of money on some of the biggest names in entertainment – including some former executives of Sony Pictures TV – and would spend $ 1 billion for its various projects.

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In June, the company signed Oprah Winfrey into a multi-year partnership, with the goal of having her create original series.

Apple has quietly acquired programming for the service, which will include a remake of Steven Spielberg’s anthology series “Amazing Stories”, last seen on NBC in the 1980s, a new backstage in a television soap opera starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell, and an Oprah Winfrey series. To complement its alleged ambitions for family pricing, Apple also signed an agreement with Sesame Workshop.

But Apple’s new streaming service is expected to give you access to third-party programs as well. Consumers have long been able to buy and rent movies and TV shows in iTunes for watching on various Apple devices.

Apple’s original streams would be offered free to owners of Apple hardware – certainly iPhones and iPads and of course those of you with an Apple TV set-top box, which competes with rivals Roku and Amazon Fire. TV. Those of you who own a Mac can also have access to it.

“The Information” indicates that owners of Apple devices could sign up through the service for content from other TV network providers, in the same way that Amazon Prime Video subscribers can cut the cord for HBO or Showtime via Amazon channels. Bloomberg first described this strategy in May.

Apple’s streaming TV service could be available as a standalone offering or integrated with the existing Apple TV app.

It seems unlikely, however, that Apple will try to expand its reach to customers who haven’t bought into its ecosystem, even charging them a fee for content from Apple. In other words, don’t plan to watch some Apple series from Android phone.

But while Apple’s TV service might not be a game to win, say, a lot of eyeballs, Apple would certainly be happy to get an Android client to upgrade to an iPhone, if that meant the no one could watch a compelling show that was an Apple exclusive.

Still, Apple will play catch-up. According to eMarketer, Netflix will have 147.5 million individual users this year, representing a market share of around 74%.

Netflix, which charges $ 7.99 per month for a basic subscription, is not a hardware maker, but the Netflix app can be accessed on smart TVs, computers, phones, tablets, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and game consoles.

Amazon Prime Video ($ 119 per year, which includes a variety of other perks like free two-day shipping on select items) is also available on many streaming devices, not just the Fire TV’s own line of products. from Amazon.

And cable cutters have other places to turn these days, including YouTube, Hulu, HBO, and SlingTV.

By sticking to its own devices, which is hardly a first for Apple, the new streaming service will be more limited.

Streaming subscriptions aren’t new to Apple. Look no further than Apple Music, which has gained market share over Spotify, although Apple still lags behind. Apple’s first two original TV shows, in fact, “Carpool Karaoke” and “Planet of the Apps” debuted on Apple Music.

TV fans, let us know what Apple should do to get you to buy such a streaming service, if you are not already in Apple’s fold.

Email: [email protected]; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter. You can follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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