Apple TV Plus Australia review

We've updated our review but not a lot has changed.

Apple TV+
Apple TV+
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Check
    Good price
  • Check
    4K/HDR streaming
  • X
    Narrow selection of originals
Georgia Tan
Associate Editor
Read More
November 02, 2020
10 min read
Fast facts about Apple TV+
Apple TV+
Apple TV+
Apple TV+ is Apple’s venture into the subscription streaming service space with its slew of Apple Original TV shows and movies, but is it really as good as it sounds and does it live up to the competition?
Price
$7.99
/mo
Free trial

7 days

4K viewing
Yes
Library
Original TV shows and movies
Ads
Occasional preroll ads
HDR
Yes
# of streams
6
Accessibility
Subtitles, Closed Captioning, Descriptive Audio, Language Selection
Free trial

All pricing and deal information on this page is accurate at the date of publish (01/11/2020)

Almost a year has passed since we first took a look at the then-fledgling Apple TV+ service, which beat the Disney+ Australia launch by a couple of weeks. Despite being categorised as a streaming site/service, Apple TV+ still doesn’t have enough content to justify the ongoing price of admission.

While Netflix led to the death of video rental stores, in its current form, Apple TV+ is best viewed as a digital return to the video stores of old: as a rental service only. While a one-week trial likely won’t be enough to get through everything, if you’re a dedicated binger, you won’t have a reason to stay subscribed beyond a month or two.

Apple TV+ price

$7.99 per month with some generous free trial offers

Apple TV+ costs $7.99 per month with each subscription available for up to 6 family members via Family Sharing. That's a little cheaper than Disney Plus and more expensive than Prime Video's $6.99 price point. It's a cheap monthly cost as far as streaming subscriptions go but with the lightweight content offering, it's hard to imagine Apple charging anything more.

That said, this service really should be cheaper. Unless you’re treating it as a monthly rental, it’s tough to justify the ongoing cost, especially in comparison to other streaming services.

Apple TV+ free trial

7-day free trial to all with longer trials for Apple users

There’s currently a 7-day free trial available, followed by the $7.99 monthly subscription cost. Alternatively, you can get a free year of subscription when you buy a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or Apple TV from Apple or an Apple authorised seller. Tertiary students will be able to get free access to Apple TV+ when they subscribe to the Apple Music Student Plan.

And how does the Apple TV+ launch price, free trial and features weigh up against the competition? Let's take a look.

Service
More info
Rating
Monthly price
Max. Video Resolution
# of streams
Available deal
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$10.99 - $19.99 4K 4
4 out of 5 stars
4
$7.994K6
4 out of 5 stars
4
$11.99 4K 4
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
$6.99 HD 1
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
$6.99HD1
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
$8.99HD3
3 out of 5 stars
3
$8.99 HD5

What's new on Apple TV+?

At launch, we bemoaned the slim pickings of just eight shows which, admittedly, included some of our top picks. Fast-forward to today, and things are only marginally improved. By our maths, there are 28 TV series, limited series and docuseries. If you want to be generous, you can add on another three to include the shorts – Snoopy in Space, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, and Helpsters – which still isn’t an impressive number at 31.

In terms of movies, Apple TV+ still can’t yet crack double digits, with nine on offer, spread across four movies and five documentaries. There are a couple of handful of shows coming soon, though, with around 58 more movies, TV series, and documentaries in the works.

Apple TV+ content in Australia

What content is available in Australia?

While you’ll be able to access the full collection of Apple TV+ TV shows, series and movies in Australia, you may find its library very underwhelming compared to the number of options available on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or even Disney Plus Australia.

Apple TV+ TV shows

Not much on show but it's a case of quality over quantity

So, is it really worth subscribing to get a hold of these original Apple TV+ shows and series?

There are several series currently available at launch, including The Morning Show, See, Dickinson and For All Mankind, as well as Oprah’s Book Club. For the kids, Apple TV+ has on offer the full series of Ghostwriter, Helpsters and Snoopy in Space. Other dramas, such as Servant and Truth Be Told, are also there to watch.

There are some exciting titles in the works, such as Asimov’s Foundation if you’re a sci-fi fan and the Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks-produced Masters of the Air, which is a sequel of sorts to Band of Brothers and The Pacific. However, it will disappoint some that most TV episodes will be released weekly (apart from Dickinson and some kids shows which have dropped the entire series), so if you were hoping to take the opportunity to binge-watch as many new series as you could on your 7-day free trial, you’re out of luck.

Play Video

There are now 28 series on Apple TV+. Fraggle Rock is currently the only non-original bit of content on Apple TV+. Check out the full list of Apple TV+ TV shows below:

  • Amazing Stories
  • Central Park
  • Dear…
  • Defending Jacob
  • Dickinson
  • For All Mankind
  • Fraggle Rock
  • Fraggle Rock: Rock On!
  • Ghostwriter
  • Greatness Code
  • Home
  • Home Before Dark
  • Little America
  • Little Voice
  • Long Way Up
  • The Morning Show
  • Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
  • The Oprah Conversation
  • Oprah Talks COVID-19
  • Oprah’s Book Club
  • See
  • Servant
  • Ted Lasso
  • Tehran
  • Tiny World
  • Truth Be Told
  • Trying
  • Visible: Out on Television
  • Apple TV+ movies

    Even lighter than the TV series collection

    At the moment, documentary The Elephant Queen which is part of Sundance 2019 is leading the helm for the Apple TV+ film lineup. The Banker, set to be one of the first Apple TV+ films to be released, has been pushed back due to sexual abuse allegations of its real-life protagonist.

    Launch documentary The Elephant Queen is still one of the leaders of the Apple TV+ movie line-up, joined by World War II flick Greyhound, The Banker, which is based on a true story, and the re-joining of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola for On the Rocks.

    There are a lot of upcoming movies (and shows for that matter) that don’t have release dates which, coupled with a coronavirus-impacted year, means they may still be a long way off. This is one of the reasons why it makes the most sense to treat Apple TV+ as a service you subscribe to for a month to watch content, then cancel after you’ve caught on whatever you want to watch.

    Play Video

    Here’s the full list of the nine movies available on Apple TV+ right now:

    • The Banker
    • Beastie Boys Story
    • Boys State
    • Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You
    • Dads
  • The Elephant Queen
  • Greyhound
  • Hala
  • On the Rocks
  • Apple TV+ app and user interface

    User experience

    Apple TV+ app

    It’s unsurprising that the Apple TV+ homepage has been designed to feel seamlessly integrated with Apple’s full range of products and services, featuring Apple’s signature minimalist aesthetic. At first glance, the homepage isn’t dissimilar to a page you’d find up on the Apple Store or the App Store. There’s a whole lot of white space and the clean design is certainly appealing to the eye.

    That’s where the pleasantries end. Back in 2019, attempting to stream any show via web browser during peak WiFi usage times (say post-dinner around 8pm) is nearly impossible. And you won't be able to watch anything for more than 10 seconds before your video crashes.

    In 2020, this isn’t an issue, though browser viewing feels buggy. It worked in Chrome on my laptop but not in Chrome on my desktop, and Edge viewing on my desktop had moments where clicks were delayed, didn’t register, or it would sometimes open a new browser window just to access content.

    To add to that fire, when I tried accessing the Apple TV+ web browser on my Mac, it asked me to verify my credit card details again to authorise my web viewing. And no, it didn’t let me use my debit card and I don’t own a credit card, so that’s kind of game over. But what Apple user wouldn’t be using the Apple TV App right?

    While we’ve all heard about the high streaming quality Apple TV+ is boasting, there’s a caveat to that: although Apple TV+ offers 4K HDR on all compatible platforms, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision are only supported on its own devices. Those streaming via AirPlay won’t be able to watch anything in video quality greater than 1080p anyway.

    While it’s much easier to quickly browse through the entire range of Apple Originals on Apple TV+ in one swipe via the app, it’s hard not to notice the extensive range of TV shows and movies that you could rent or purchase for only around $2.99-$5.99 (and who knows, you might feel like splurging on such an accessible collection of all 30 seasons of The Simpsons for $34.99 per season, but you could just sign up for the Disney Plus free subscription trial that Apple links from the store).

    To be frank, while the TV shows that you stream through Apple TV+ may be entirely ad-free, the Apple TV+ platform blatantly entices you to hire, buy or go watch the latest and greatest movies and TV shows via other streaming services with open arms. The $7.99 per month price tag for Apple TV+ seems like a hard sell when you compare that with Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, which have over 3000 titles across movies and TV in each library at any one time and a much wider range of original TV shows and films already cocked and loaded in their arsenal. Find out more with our guide to the best paid and free streaming services for TV and movies in 2020.

    While there are definitely some exciting series to look forward to in Apple’s large line-up (see our content section below for more details), you're not getting bang for your buck with Apple TV+ .

    Navigation

    The layout is less clustered compared to the row-by-row, square tile format that Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Stan have all adopted, which is less overwhelming but also frustrating if you want to browse across multiple categories of TV shows and films in one glance.

    If you’re impatient like me, Apple’s habit of creating ‘endless scrolling’ pages of content gets tiring pretty fast. That said, “endless” isn’t applicable here because you’ll reach the bottom of the content page surprisingly fast. It makes it hard to find the show you’re looking for without having to go through the entire Apple Originals range available, in the order that Apple has decided to showcase them. While aesthetically pleasing, practical, easy navigation trumps in this case and this is where the Apple TV site, via web browser at least, is sorely lacking.

    Missing features

    As mentioned, without any search bar tool available via the Apple TV+ web browser, it’s impossible to find the video you’re exactly looking for without scrolling through or running your search through Google first. This is likely going to become more of a problem as the movie and TV catalogue gets built out over the coming years.

    It also doesn’t seem to have a convenient way to continue watching where you left off; sure, there’s a resume function, but you have to scroll to your content to continue. You also can’t add content to a personalised list, which feels like an oversight, but may be indicative of the lack of stuff to watch.

    Navigation isn’t as much of a problem on the app, the issue is more so getting distracted and overloaded by all the other content being pushed on Apple TV (which, spoiler alert, is mostly not coming to your screen for free).

    Another big omission is the lack of any rating/review system being displayed on each TV show/ movie page. Netflix champions their own user rating system while other streaming services have opted to display the IMDB score, which do vary in usefulness and objectivity but at least there’s something up there. If you’re a consumer usually curious to see how a new TV show or movie has fared with critics and fans, this feature might massively irk you as it did me. And having to go and search up the reviews for your next binge-watchable film on Google yourself is not very comprehensive of Apple TV+ and simply wasting your time.

    Apple TV+ accessibility features

    If you’re watching Apple TV+ on an Apple device, you’ll already get access to in-built accessibility features that you can play around with in your settings, including for audio descriptions, subtitles and closed captioning. On both the Apple TV+ app and via web browser, you’ll see which TV shows and movies have descriptive audio and closed captions available. Currently, most original titles have these features available.

    Audio descriptions

    Apple TV+ has a pretty standard audio description function on offer. There’s nothing major to complain about here, although there’s no in-built option for voice customisation. Using Apple’s VoiceOver function available on all Apple devices, you’ll be able to choose from a selection of voices, modify the speech rate, verbosity and pronunciation and opt to activate braille support if needed (using the iPhone's haptic feedback).

    Subtitles and closed captions

    With Apple’s closed captions feature, there are several caption styles to pick from and in several languages. In your Apple device settings, there’s more room to create your own caption style and customise font, background and text elements.

    Accessibility shortcuts

    For Apple users utilising Accessibility Shortcut, you can easily control VoiceOver, colour filters, zoom, voice control and other accessibility tools by triple-clicking your iPhone’s side button, or the menu button if you have an Apple TV. This is a handy addition for Apple users and makes it simpler to turn on and off the accessibility features that are important to you. Again, this is a standard hardware feature, not a service feature.

    Apple TV+ device compatibility

    What devices can you watch Apple TV+ on?

    While Apple has added more supported devices since launch, it still feels limited. For instance, a three-year old LG OLED TV C7 isn’t supported, and neither is Nvidia Shield TV. These are currently the supported ways to watch Apple TV+ natively (you can find a full list here):

    • Apple TV (4K, HD, 3rd gen)
    • Selected Samsung TVs (2018, 2019, 2020)
    • Selected LG TVs (2018, 2019, 2020)
    • Selected Vizio TVs (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
    • Selected Sony 2020 TVs
    • Roku
    • Amazon Fire TV
    • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
    • Windows PC, Chrome OS, Android devices (via browser)

    Streaming from devices that aren’t natively supported will likely result in a drop in video quality. Apple’s answer to this is to incentivise you to buy an Apple TV 4K device, which includes a free year of Apple TV Plus.

    Apple TV+ Family Sharing

    Apple TV+ is offering up to 6 simultaneous streams per subscription, meaning you could either share your Apple ID (which you might not want to do with friends and family) or opt for setting up Family Sharing.

    With Family Sharing, you’ll be able to access your group members’ App Store purchases and Apple subscriptions without giving out your Apple ID information. So it's a little more complicated than just sharing your Netflix login with a friend.

    Getting this sorted might take an extra step but the upside is that anyone with a supported Apple device running iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite or later can join your family, or you can accept an invite to join a family. You can only be part of one family group at a time though.

    Apple TV+ FAQs

    Here are the questions people are asking about Apple TV+ in Australia.

    The library of movies and TV shows you can access on Apple TV Plus is the same whether you’re in Australia, US or in any of the 100+ countries where Apple TV Plus is available in.

    If you didn’t already have one, you’ll need an Apple ID to login and purchase Apple TV Plus. You can sign up here or via the Apple TV App which comes installed on your Apple device with the latest iOS/macOS.

    Yes, everything is available for offline viewing. Otherwise, you can stream your shows and movies via the Apple TV app on supported Apple devices or via the web browser.

    Yes, Apple TV+ supports 4K HDR on all platforms. Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision are only supported on Apple devices.

    Most titles on Apple TV+ offer audio descriptions, subtitles and closed captions. With an Apple device, you can also access a wider range of customisable accessibility options such as VoiceOver, subtitle modification and braille support.

    Georgia Tan
    Written by
    Georgia Tan
    Georgia Tan was an Associate Editor at Reviews.org Australia. She is constantly on the lookout for the best deals around, often seen with an almond cap in hand. Georgia has previously had her by-line published on Finder, AdNews and Honi Soit and was a past Editor of Hermes and ARNA.

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