Apple TV app and new Apple TV+ streaming service is coming to Amazon Fire TV devices later this year

Apple held an announcement event today that focused around new services the company plans to launch. The majority of the event revolved around movies and television shows and it was revealed that a new version of Apple’s TV app would be coming to Amazon Fire TV devices. This app, which is at the forefront of Apple’s entire TV offering, should give Fire TV owners access to movies and shows purchased through iTunes, as well as content from Apple Channels and Apple TV+, which are two new TV services that Apple announced today.

Apple first launched their TV app on the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad back in 2016. Much like the Fire TV interface, Apple’s TV app serves as a central hub where content from multiple streaming services is aggregated together in one place. Apple has explicitly said that they see the TV app as the future home screen for their Apple TV streaming media player, but their hesitation to actually make that change likely stems from their inability to integrate all major streaming services, most notably Netflix, into the app.

The upcoming update to Apple’s TV app expands the platform to include more content. It will feature a “Watch Now” section with your recent and recommended content, as well as a Movies, TV Shows, Sports, and Kids section. A Library section will presumably list the content you’ve purchased and own. It’s unknown how different the app coming to Fire TVs will be from the one shown off today, which was running on an Apple TV.

The new app will be coming to all of Apple’s devices, including the Mac, which has not had access to any version of the app yet. Apple will also be releasing the app onto smart TVs, starting with Samsung TVs and later expanding to Sony, LG, Vizio, and others. Most surprisingly, Apple announced that their TV app will also be coming to Amazon Fire TV devices and Roku devices. Very notably missing from the list of platforms getting the app is Android TV devices, like the NVIDIA Shield TV, Android phones, and Google’s Chromecast.

In addition to announcing the new TV app, Apple also announced new content services that can be accessed through the app. The first is Apple Channels, which appears to be a service identical to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels. Customers will be able to subscribe to individual networks, such as HBO, Showtime, Starz, and CBS, through Apple’s TV app. The biggest differentiator between Apple Channels and Prime Video Channels is that Apple’s offering does not require you to be a member of any service as a prerequisite. To subscribe to Prime Video Channels you must be a Prime member. With Roku also now offering channel subscriptions without a prerequisite, it seems unnecessary for Amazon to still require Prime membership to subscribe to channels.

The other new Apple TV service, which Apple spent the majority of their presentation on, is called Apple TV+. This is essentially their competitor to Amazon Prime Video, which will offer original content for a subscription fee. Apple is expected to spend $2 billion on the production of original content for the new service. While that’s a decent amount to spend right off the bat for a new service, it’s nowhere near what Netflix, HBO, and even Amazon are spending on original content. For comparison, Amazon spent $1.3 billion in 2015, $3 billion in 2016, and the number has been climbing each year since.

Apple TV+ already has a list of significant Hollywood talent making the original content, of whom many were present and on stage at Apple’s event. Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, Kumail Nanjiani, and Sara Bareilles are just a few of the big names that have already cut a deal to make content for the new service.

Pricing and release dates for Apple TV+ or its content were not revealed. The new Apple TV app will be released on Apple devices in May and will be coming to other platforms throughout the year. I expect that we won’t see an Apple TV app released for the Fire TV until at least the fall.

  1. Ohiomedic says:

    Introducing Apple TV Channels the same service Amazon channels introduced years ago.

  2. KraziJoe says:

    VERY underwhelming. No pricing or what else is involved with TV+
    PLus what? Pay extra for some ok shows? Doesn’t look worth it yet. The best thing is that it is coming to FireTV. Now if only Vudu and YouTube TV were allowed on…

    • OG Charlie says:

      It’s pretty clear that it isn’t an “allowed on” problem. Walmart and Google don’t want to support the Fire TV platform. Same reason why Walmart doesn’t sell Amazon hardware. They’re playing a zero sum game while Amazon keeps swallowing up entire markets.

      • Joe says:

        You might not want to assume that the fault lies within Walmart and Google. Perhaps it is Amazon that isn’t playing fairly.

        • Reflex says:

          I can’t speak to Walmart, but for those of us who used Windows Phone, Google’s behavior is nothing new. It’s not really an assumption here, it is Google intentionally attempting to cripple a competitor, as they did with the WM platform.

          • Joe says:

            Perhaps what you experienced is a function of Microsoft protecting their investment rather than “Google intentionally attempting to cripple a competitor”. With a closed mind, you’ll never know. Sometimes you need to look at life with a different perspective.

        • OG Charlie says:

          Why would Apple bring this to the Fire TV hardware if Amazon wasn’t playing fair? What beneficial treatment did Apple recieve that Amazon also wouldn’t extend to Walmart or Google?

      • B says:

        Hard to say for sure. There have been stories in the past that Amazon wouldn’t allow a Vudu app. Just like they wouldn’t allow a Flixster app at the time unless it didn’t offer movies/TV.

        They don’t allow competing book apps in the app store to be used on Fire tablets either. The one’s that make it into the store are flagged as “incompatible” for Fire’s. The only exception are apps like OverDrive’s app which is almost exclusively used for public library content.

    • Vanessa says:

      Re: YouTube not on Fire. You can get the Firefox app for Fire, which basically replaced the YouTube functionality that was lost.

  3. Flokic says:

    I do hope they don’t release it for androidtv, time to let that crap die once and for all.

  4. InIrons says:

    Apple fan boys will love it, let them waste their money on it.

    It’s probably an agreement between Amazon and Apple… each will allow competing app on their devices.

  5. Apple TV already has an Amazon Prime app.
    I updated to the latest Apple TV so I could use YouTubeTV.
    Google does not have a Fire TV app for it.

  6. William Hughes says:

    The interface is a duplicate of the interface on the Fire TV Stick 4K including watch next. It works and looks identical to Fire TV Home Page in my opinion if they don’t change it before the release.

    • NashGuy says:

      Trust me, I’ve used both, and the Apple TV UI is NOT a duplicate of the Fire TV UI. Apple’s UI is well designed while Amazon’s UI is kind of a mess, IMO.

  7. DohDohDonutzMMM says:

    Ok, Spielberg criticizes Netflix’s “home movies” getting Oscar nominations because they basically bypass the movie theater. And yet, he backs Apple TV?!?! Granted, I don’t know what type of deal he has signed. BUT, this backing screams hypocrisy!

    He should clarify his thoughts on this matter, immediately! He should want more movies, more filmmakers whatever service is being used. Be it Amazon, Netflix, Hollywood or Apple. More voices making movies for more people en masse should strengthen the medium.

    Is he afraid of newer directors and filmmakers? Does he want everyone to do the same thing he did to break into the movie business? (He took a studio tour, found an empty office, took residence in that office daily, making everyone in the studio believe he was employed by the studio, eventually being hired as a director)

    I like a majority of his movies, just so you know I have not been a lifelong “Spielberg basher”. I seriously question his motives to endorse one streaming service over another. IMO, it’s $$$$$$$$$$.

  8. OG Charlie says:

    Spielberg is probably the most overrated director of all time but, to be fair to him, he sold Apple a tv series. The majority of things they announced were TV shows.

    Most old Hollywood people are hesitant to throw out the cinema gatekeeper the way Netflix has.

  9. Lonster says:

    If Apple brings their TV app to Fire TV and Roku, where does that leave their streaming device? Seems like they have basically given up on producing their own hardware. I like my Apple TV 4.

  10. Hilario says:

    Hey apple, welcome to 2010.

  11. TechyChris says:

    Quietly the Cable TV companies are laughing at all this…so many streaming services with so many individual pricing packages that typically have been increasing in cost yearly. Once you start adding it all up the “so-called savings” with cord cutting evaporates!

    • Fjtorres says:

      That is only true if you are signed up for everything out there, all the time.

      The whole point of cord cutting is to have choice of what to watch when you want to watch.

    • mike says:

      I only have prime. I cut the cable 5 years ago. Nothing is adding up here. I save a crap ton assuming person.

    • Steve says:

      You are so right. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Eventually, all of these streaming services will cannibalize themselves and cord cutters will wonder what just happened.

  12. mrvco says:

    With a monthly fee, if Apple TV+ only has original content then I really don’t see it being much of a competitor to… well… anything. Nearly all of what I watch on Prime Video (free w/ Prime and not the reason I sub to Prime) is content that Amazon has licensed, not original content. Hopefully Apple has bigger plans for their TV service than what they’ve announced to date… for their sake.

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