Apple’s upcoming video streaming service might not launch in April, after all. A new report claims that it “will be targeted for a launch in summer or [autumn] rather than the April timing that has been the subject of media speculation”. At the reported late March event, Apple might show off clips from original series that are currently in the works, including the untitled morning news drama starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell. Both Aniston and Witherspoon have been invited to the March event, per another report, alongside the likes of J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Garner, Jane Krakowski, and Hailee Steinfeld.
Variety cites people familiar with the matter to claim that the first of Apple’s original series won’t be ready until summer or autumn 2019, contrasting the earlier report from The Information, which said that Apple had asked studios it’s working “to be ready for launch by mid-April”. Bloomberg said Wednesday that Apple had invited the aforementioned talent to its March event, where the iPhone maker is rumoured to launch a subscription-based news service apart from talking about its streaming plans. Variety adds that Apple will spend heavily on marketing the shows “in addition to the service itself”.
It’s still unclear if Apple will only launch its new service in the US and select countries first or opt for a global unveiling. While the first of its originals, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke: The Series, were initially released only for subscribers of Apple Music, all episodes of Carpool Karaoke are now also available for free via Apple’s TV app, which is currently only available in 10 countries including the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada. A report in October said that Apple’s original content would be free for owners of Apple devices, and the TV app seems like one possible route.
Apple has nearly two dozen original series in the works. In addition to Abrams and Witherspoon, Damien Chazelle, Kumail Nanjiani, M. Night Shyamalan, Simon Kinberg, David S. Goyer, Ronald D. Moore, Steven Knight, Jennifer Garner, Adam Horowitz, and Edward Kitsis are involved as creators. The likes of Aniston, Carell (The Office), Steinfeld (Bumblebee), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Josh Gad (Frozen), Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), and Richard Gere are attached as cast members to the various shows.
Some of these shows are in advanced stages. The Spencer-starrer drama Are You Sleeping has reportedly finished production, while the Witherspoon, Aniston and Carell-starrer, Horowitz and Kitsis’ fantasy anthology Amazing Stories, Moore’s sci-fi series For All Mankind, Knight’s Momoa-starrer drama See, Steinfeld-starrer comedy Dickinson, and Prince-starrer mystery drama Magic Hour are currently filming. Others are still in development, such as its first international original, Shantaram.
Apple also ordered a film from Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray earlier in January, which was its first original movie, and then acquired a teenage drama called Hala at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival this week.