Apple made a big Hollywood splash in 2019. In 2020, it needs even more
The Apple TV Plus launch this year was a multibillion-dollar bet. Next year we learn if Apple can move beyond being just the iPhone company.
Ian SherrFormer Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Watch this: Everything about Apple TV Plus you need to know (The Daily Charge, 10/28/2019)
That's part of why, this year, Apple unveiled a quartet of new services around games, finance, news and video, each focused on convincing iPhone owners to shell out even more for new, magical experiences on their devices.
Apple's been pushing hard, enticing new viewers to sign up when they launch its free
Apple TV app
on their iPhones or
, and it's offered a year of the service for free to anyone who buys a new device from the company. The hope is that the subscription dollars you pay for its entertainment will lock you more tightly into the Apple universe, while also giving the company a healthy new revenue stream to offset maturing iPhone sales.
With an ever growing list of competitors from Disney Plus to Amazon Prime to HBO Max and even CBS All Access from CNET parent ViacomCBS, Apple's looked to the likes of Oprah to help seal the deal with both viewers and creators.
After all, why choose Apple? "They're in billions of pockets y'all," Winfrey said in March.
In 2020, we'll learn whether Apple's legendary track record as a titan of industry can repeat itself.
On the negative end, there are rumors that Apple's struggled to attract subscribers to Apple News Plus after its launch in March. Some analysts also noted that Apple giving away a free year of Apple TV Plus with each new iPhone, iPad and Mac might signal the company's worries about its potential for success.
This next year will be pivotal as some shows launch their second season and potentially new ones premiere. But the free-year promotion will likely mask just how well or poorly Apple TV Plus is faring, and it may take a while before we learn if consumers are willing to actually pay for the service.
There's no question, however, that Apple made a big splash in 2019.
"Whether they can keep the momentum going is still a question," Milanesi said.
We'll be watching.
Celebrities show off their new series on Apple TV Plus