Apple’s announcement today left more questions than answers which is not really all that surprising, given the services are still months away from launch.
Here are our top twenty-five.
1. Will any of the available channels be sold together as bundles for a lower price?
2. If they are sold as bundles, will the subscriptions be month-to-month or will viewers be required to lock in for a year?
3. If users can watch shows from HBO and CBS All Access directly within the Apple TV app, then who keeps the viewership data: Apple or HBO and CBS?
4. If the former, why would HBO or CBS do that? Do they assume they can just get the data from iSpot down the road?
5. What happens to HBO when Warnerflix launches, as AT&T has pledged to greatly expand the number of originals. How many of those new Warnerflix shows will actually be available via Apple TV, and if the answer is “very few” then does that diminish the value of AppleTV for HBO fans?
6. Apple TV claims it is a seamless program guide but The Verge has already busted Apple for “hinting that users will be able to ‘easily watch’ Hulu inside the app,” pointing out that “[a] Hulu spokesperson has directly confirmed to The Verge that this is not the case.” Given that, will the app even be able include Netflix, Amazon or any of the new Flixes (Warner, NBCU, Disney) in its program guide, and if not, doesn’t that greatly diminish its ultimate value?
7. To that end, why would any service let Apple collect their viewership data letting by them link out from a program guide?
8. If AppleTV+ is available on Roku and Amazon, who will collect that viewership data? If it is Roku or Amazon, will they share the data with Apple? Will they be able to use it for ad-targeting purposes on other apps?
9. Will AppleTV+ originals be released weekly or all at once?
10. How will the originals be marketed–will Apple take advantage of the fact that it owns hardware? Will it
spam email everyone with an iTunes or iCloud account?
11. How much will AppleTV+ cost?
12. Will subscriptions be month-to-month or yearly?
13. Will anything else (Apple News+? Showtime?) be bundled with it?
14. What will the value proposition be, given that it will have far fewer content choices than any of the other Flixes and no library content (e.g. syndicated reruns or movies) to speak of?
15. Who is the target market for the app?
16. Will any of Apple’s originals, which have been derided as “expensive NBC” become hits?
18. Will the subscription be month-to-month or yearly?
19. Other than the WSJ deal (if it is indeed real) what are the advantages of Apple News+ over the current free product which aggregates news from services you currently subscribe to, many of which (New York Times, Washington Post) are not on the Apple News+ roster?
20. Can readers use their Apple News+ login to read articles directly on the sites/apps of publications they are subscribed to via the app, or can they only access the stories on the Apple News+ app? [NB: This will be an issue if you are reading something in a web browser that, say, links to a WSJ article and it turns out you can’t read the WSJ article in Chrome because you can’t log in to the WSJ site with your AppleNews+ credentials.]
21. How much demand is there for access to 300 magazines, especially when many/most people have figured out how to clear their browsers/use alternate browsers to read beyond their allotted limit each month on subscription-only apps?
22. How much demand is there for the slick graphics Apple is promising while reading articles on an iPhone versus being able to read them in Reader view with big type and no graphics?
23. Does Apple hope that News+ will help revive flagging iPad sales? If so, will they adjust prices to compete with Amazon’s sub-$100 tablets which play Netflix videos just as well as iPads do?
24. Who will own the readership data on articles accessed via AppleNews+?
25. What will happen if the reader clicks on a linked article that is on an ad-supported site? Will Apple block the ads?