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Apple Extends Apple TV+ Free Trials to February 2021

Many of us received a free year of Apple TV+ last year, thanks to Apple giving it away with the purchase of an Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. Apple told TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino that it has decided to extend those free trials to February 2021 for everyone who signed up before 31 January 2020. Your new expiration date will be the current expiration date, only shifted to February, so if your free trial is currently set to expire on November 4th, it will now be extended through February 4th.

The change may not yet be reflected on your account, but Apple says it will send email letting Apple TV+ viewers know about the extension. You can check when your Apple TV+ subscription expires on an iPhone by going to Settings > Your Name > Subscriptions.

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Comments About Apple Extends Apple TV+ Free Trials to February 2021

Notable Replies

  1. Are they still doing the free trials? If you get a new iPhone 12 in Nov, will you still be able to sign up for a free year? I got my new MBP in May, but didn’t sign up. Didn’t see a whole lot I’d want to watch.

  2. This sounds awfully desperate to me…people who got the free trial aren’t signing up for paid subscriptions. But it’s no surprise given how dismally TV+ ranks in recent surveys among streaming video on demand services in quality, variety and quantity of content, as well as ease of use. They come up dead last in every case.

    TV+ needs more and better content. And I don’t understand why a company that is so focused on ease of use and elegance has done such a bad job with the TV+ interface. Why Apple doesn’t buy an existing studio, or at least license stuff, is beyond me.

    But there have been some very interesting rumors of TV+ AR content debuting along with the long rumored AR glasses. This could pump up sales for Apple hardware along with TV+ and Arcade:

  3. Yes, you still get a free year when you buy an eligible device. It’s at the top of the banner for the TV+ web site at

    I’ve watched three shows during my free trial - The Morning Show, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso - and the first and last were great IMO, the second was pretty good. The movie On The Rocks coming later this month looks good as well.

  4. I’d love to watch Apple TV+ with the free subscription we just got having purchased a new iMac for my wife but it doesn’t work. Here’s the problem (see my post – 12th post down):

  5. I have free Apple TV+ and plan on subscribing when the free sub expires. Loved both For All Mankind and Ted Lasso. Also some of the other shows (wasn’t thrilled with Central Park). They need to grow a much larger catalog but the shows have been much better than I expected.

    But production is behind schedule. Apple was originally planning on 2nd seasons of successful shows around now. Thanks to COVID they are not there. So no reason for people to start paying until 2nd seasons are available.

  6. Agree on The Morning Show and Ted Lasso. I’m liking Tehran so far. It’s not Homeland, by any stretch, but I’m a sucker for this type of thriller. Nothing else I’ve seen was worth time spent.

  7. I saw For All Mankind when it went free at the beginning of SIP. It started off interesting but then IMHO became silly when it went all space GI Joe. The trailer for the second season shows they’re committed to space Rambo so no thanks.

    The Morning Show, despite interesting actors, judging from the trailers and reviews appears to be one of these over-the-top series where everybody is perpetually embroiled in staggering levels of drama, a lot of shouting and screaming and crying and some tears too, yet we are still expected to believe this is a depiction of actual life in an American newsroom. Yeah, thanks but no thanks.

    I was intrigued by On the Rocks until I realized this is essentially a remake of Lost in Translation with Rashida Jones stepping in for Scarlett Johansson and no more Japan. Gracias, but I’ll stick to the original.

    Ted Lasso has I believe to do with soccer in Britain so whatever.

    Greyhound was touted as this big epic WWII movie, but then the trailer showed lots of cheap looking CGI and Hanks being as about as unconvincing as I didn’t think he could be.

    So, I’m left really starting to wonder what it is with all the TV+ hype. Honestly, is there something with actual gravitas in there?

  8. I’ve been a little surprised and annoyed that there isn’t more Apple TV+ content I can watch with my family. Outside of a handful of kid shows, most of the content is extremely racy. It’s like Apple wanted to push back hard against its goody-two-shoes image. The Elephant Queen was quite good, I wish they’d release more nature documentaries like that.

  9. Something with gravitas?

    How about the mini-series no one has mentioned: Defending Jacob
    It was an intriguing idea for a book which I enjoyed, and the show was very very well-done. Serious and faithful to the novel.

    I too dislike silly ribald comedies, so I haven’t even glanced at Ted Lasso or The Morning Show.

    Tiny World looks good, for those who liked The Elephant Queen.

    Tehran is quite good. It’s from the writer of Faouda; perhaps not quite up to that level, but very enjoyable and well-made.

  10. This is something that really confounds me. One of the biggest reasons Netflix streaming was such a big instant hit was they had made sure to license content for every age, and just about every interest group, including inking a deal with Disney. This was even before they started producing originals. Once House Of Cards became a tremendous success, they jumped into developing content for every market segment and totally blindsided HBO, Showtime, etc.

    A few years ago I read in quite a few sources that Apple was negotiating with a bunch of studios to develop exclusives for kids. They had signed the Peanuts gang, who developed a few shows, and a new one was recently released. They signed a deal with Sesame Workshop, but it will not include any of the original PBS or movie characters. They do have new stuff coming up, but it’s focused on little kids:

    There’s even less for tweens or teens, which I also don’t understand. And I have read rumors a few years ago that Apple was poking around to buy an animation studio, but nothing recently. IMHO, their “all originals” strategy is not a good one.

  11. Not sure I’d classify Ted Lasso as ribald, but maybe it’s a matter of taste and The Morning Show is Drama, not even close to being comedic.

    And I had forgotten Defending Jacob, which I very much enjoyed.

    Greyhound could have been much better.

  12. I guess you never worked in or around a newsroom. Crying and tears are mostly reserved for tragedies like the mass shootings and major disasters; veteran US newscaster Walter Cronkite choked back tears after announcing from the newsroom that the President JFK had just died. Even US President Obama choked up and then shed tears on the podium when speaking about the massacre of children in the Sandy Hook school shooting.

    This past March, Hoda Kotb of the US Today TV show cried on camera when discussing how Covid 19 was decimating her beloved city of New Orleans. CNN’s Erin Burnett and Don Lemon did when reporting on suffering and hardship of Covid 19 victims and their families. Though it is still unusual to see a newscaster cry on screen, but what goes on in the newsroom is multiplied in print and broadcast to the nth degree. In All The President’s Men, which is very factual, you see the reporter played by Lindsay Crouse was practically crying when Woodward and Bernstein put the squeeze on her to cozy up to her ex-fiancé who worked in Nixon’s White House to surreptitiously gather some facts about the Watergate break in. After she first refuses and then considers the importance of the story, gets the info from the ex, then you see her wordlessly walk over to Woodward’s desk choking back tears, turns around, and hurries away crying. In Shattered Glass, also based on fact, the serial fabulist Stephen Glass breaks into tears in front of his employers and colleagues more than once while he is outed for making up just about every story he wrote for The New Republic and respected publications.

    Whether in print or broadcast, working in a newsroom is an extremely high pressure, competitive, stressful, heavily deadline focused, and often physically and mentally dangerous job, both off and on screen. An excellent article was recently published in Harvard’s Nieman School Of Journalism:

  13. I guess I’m just too simple-minded at 77? What I see when I click the Apple TV+ page (after buying a new iPad) says:

    • All Apple Originals.
    • Apple TV+ is here. Try it for free.
    • Start Your Free Trial >
    • 7 days free, then $4.99/month.

    After following four additional links, I did, finally, get to one that mentioned in some more 8px sized text the “1 year…free”.

    With that kind of “sales pitch”, I’m not surprised that few might be tempted to click the other, much more obvious, “Start Now” links, trusting that there will be a chance to claim some kind of ‘discount’ code! Apple already knows I’m eligible! Surely they still have an old version of (Forethought) FileMaker Pro running! :crazy_face:

  14. My guess is that I’ll get to watch the first 2 episodes of Foundation (Asimov sci-fi due for release early 2021 last time I checked) for free and have to subscribe for the rest! If so I will be looking at a month to month subscription.

  15. OK, I must admit, Ted Lasso is very good. It’s refreshing to have a show where the main characters aren’t absolute jerks to one another and those who behave badly both get their comeuppance and come around. Guess I just don’t like my entertainment to be full of edgy, unpleasant people who I wouldn’t spend time with in real life. :slight_smile:

    That said, I wouldn’t subscribe to Apple TV+ just for Ted Lasso, though I might consider an occasional month here and there to catch up, much as we did briefly with CBS All Access to watch Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.

  16. We’ve simply waited for these shows to come out on disc. The Blu-Ray discs for a season costs about as much as 4 months of the service, and you can play them years later without paying more.

    I’m hoping that Apple does something similar with their original series.

  17. Is AppleTV+ really doing that bad? I realize competition is stiff, but these perpetually extended free ‘trials’ don’t bode well for the service. I guess at least for those of you who like the shows it’s great. :slight_smile:

  18. I wonder if part of it is related to not being able to produce as many shows as they wanted due to the pandemic.

  19. TV+ is clearly not doing well, and people are clearly not switching from free to paid subscriptions. Netflix just released its 4th quarter results, and its growth in revenue and subscriptions are through the roof. The profits are so strong that the company is now well into the black with cash reserves that they no longer need to borrow money:

    I think that Apple jumped the gun by launching TV+ before it has a big enough catalog of content. And personally speaking, I got a new iPad recently and didn’t even sign up for the free TV+ trial. There are about a million things I want to watch on Netflix, and nothing on TV+ that I’m really interested in. If I wanted to add another streaming video service, there are others that have more stuff I want to watch.

    IMHO, Tim Cook should have bought Fox, including National Geographic and Rupert Murdoch’s % of Hulu rather than let Disney have it. Disney already had an incredible, unequaled back catalog before they bought the Fox stuff. And there are already other streamers out there, including Amazon Prime, HBO, with better libraries and content in development. TV+ just doesn’t currently have the scale or the amount of content in development; I hope this will improve in the not too distant future.

    One more thing…Apple got into the entertainment services business with iMusic because Steve Jobs knew they needed content to sell iPods. Services have grown from there, but they all exist because they are critical to selling Apple hardware. They could sell more Apple TVs with better TV+ content.

  20. There are only so many services people are willing to pay for.

    Right now my household subscribes to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime (primarily for the free shipping, not for the video catalog). We really don’t want to pay for yet another.

    So if Apple wants my business, they are going to have to produce something good enough to convince me to cancel one of the others and switch to them. That’s a really hard challenge, and one I don’t think they can achieve, unless one of their competitors fails catastrophically.

  21. They don’t have that much content in production to begin with. Netflix started out with thousands of shows before they began producing their own. And I think an equally big problem is that the exclusive content Apple has been delivering isn’t interesting or varied enough to attract hoards of paid subscribers. The demand for streaming content is there and vastly bigger than ever. Apple should have started with a bigger, broader and better catalog. There are so many streamers out there with better libraries.

  22. What could they get, though? Disney has Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney content. HBO has DC and Game of Thrones and Harry Potter and a bunch of other stuff. Amazon is getting Lord of the Rings. What’s left? I watched “Morning Show” and thought it was OK, but it’s really not the type of thing I usually want to watch. “Greyhound” was an OK war movie. Right now I’m in the middle of “WandaVision” (Disney), “The Expanse” (Amazon), and “Lethal White” (HBOMax), the BBC’s television adaptation of J. K. Rowling’s fourth detective novel (all five of which I really like). I just finished “Disenchantment” (Netflix), “The Mandalorian” (Disney), and “His Dark Materials” (HBOMax). TV+ doesn’t really have anything similar at all. I just looked up on Wikipedia what Apple TV+ has produced (most of them I didn’t even remember), and nothing there interests me that much. I subscribed to HBOMax for the Snyder cut, the DC shows, and it has a bunch of other things I’m happy to watch. It’s been a while since I last looked at anything on TV+, even though it’s in my face every time I turn on the Apple TV.

  23. They most certainly have the bucks sitting in the bank to do this. They could easily have acquired already produced content by bidding for some indy stuff at the film festivals. They need movies and shows of the caliber of The Mandolorian, The Crown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Manchester By The Sea, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things. Netflix has concerts and shows from Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton, and stand up comedy from Dave Chappel, Richard Prior, etc. Music and over one billion devices already gives Apple traction in the stand up space.

    Apple TV+ has only 3% of the US Market share, and I’m sure the vast majority of the 3% is free subscriptions that an Apple hardware purchaser is given:

  24. But Apple isn’t trying to complete with Netflix. I don’t know why everyone thinks that’s their goal. They are much more along the lines of Amazon Prime Video – who would pay for that on it’s own without the free shipping and other Prime benefits?

    If you see it through that lens – a convenient, in-expensive add-on or part of a bundle – it’s doing just fine. Probably a bit behind schedule because of the pandemic, but Apple doesn’t need (or want) 50,000 shows. A hundred shows with several hits is plenty – and they’re pretty close to that goal. (Shows like Ted Lasso, Defending Jacob, Mythic Quest, etc. are great and are already hits.)

    I’m actually thinking the Netflix approach is starting to backfire. I’ve been a continuous Netflix subscriber since they first launched in the 1990s (yup). I love the streaming idea initially, especially when it was a heavy back catalog of old TV shows. But then they lost the rights to those TV shows and now it’s mostly original content and there’s so much of it, I never watch anything! Partly that’s because my internet is weak so streaming of any kind isn’t great and I don’t do it much, but most it’s just there’s too much content. I’ve subscribed to Disney+ since it launched and pretty much just watched Mandalorian. On HBO Max I watched The Flight Attendant. I can’t remember the last thing I watched on Prime, though I have been wanting to catch up on The Expanse.

    Now as long as the streaming services are all cheap – $5/month – I don’t mind subscribing to a bunch of them and just watching a show or two on each. But Netflix keeps raising their prices and are soon going cause me to drop it as I’m not going to pay $21/month for a couple DVDs a month and 4-5 movies/shows a year. Whenever I check it I’m overwhelmed with stuff and everything is a huge series with 50 episodes to catch up on and I don’t want that. At least with ATV+ there are only a few episodes and a few shows. To me, that’s starting to become a positive!

  25. HBO literally developed the streaming market by pulling The Sopranos, Sex And The City, The Wire, etc, out of thin air. Amazon is renown for picking up a rather unknown director’s Manchester By The Sea at a Sundance for peanuts, giving it limited theater distribution so it could qualify for Oscars and other rewards. And because A Handmaid’s Tale had been sitting on the shelf for over a decade, Amazon got it a good price to develop the exclusive series. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga did quite well at the Oscars and the box office with the fourth iteration of A Star Is Born. And how many versions of Richard III, Great Expectations, Les Miserables, The Producers, etc.?

    There’s plenty of new stuff waiting to be discovered out there, and old gold waiting to be polished. Apple can afford to be picky; they just need to do better than they have been.

  26. I would bet that very few folks are paying for a subscription to Apple TV+ on a stand-alone basis; they are either getting free as a premium for purchasing a product from Apple or have subscribed to Apple One to get other services in addition to TV+.

    Although I can afford to subscribe to multiple services, I don’t have the time to watch enough to make each subscription valuable. I’m thinking of moving to a model where I will subscribe to one or two services because I see something attractive there and unsubscribe when I see nothing that I want to see. I can see also just running a rotation of subscriptions to simply watch the various services on a catch-up basis.

    For services going forward, I think they either need to bundle themselves with other non-streaming attractions (Amazon Prime, Apple One), provide discounts for long-term subscriptions, or (equivalently) penalties for short-term subscriptions.

  27. You are right about the J.D, Power report, it is a better study than the Just Watch one that I quoted. But TV+ is competing with Netflix, etc., just as much as Music competes with Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, and YouTube Music. And neither report breaks out the % of free vs. paid TV+ subscriptions. I still think that Apple wouldn’t be extending the free period by six months if a decent % of people were paying to renew their subscriptions. A few days ago Variety ran very interesting article:

    Though it was developed to help sell Apple hardware, iTunes and Music subscriptions have always sold well on Android and Windows devices since the day the service became available on them. People pay $9.99 a month for individual Music subscriptions, or $14.99 for six people. There is a three month free trial. Even though Music profits are probably minuscule, they are are a big contributing factor for the gross margins from Apple makes from its hardware. But most people don’t want to renew their free TV+ subscription for only $4.99 per month. Apple clearly needs better TV+ content if it wants to build their paid subscriptions and boost Apple TV sales.

  28. That’s roughly what we’re thinking as well. We subscribed to CBS All Access for a month or two to watch Star Trek Discovery and Picard, and then dropped it. We might go back when more seasons of those are available. It’s slightly fussier, but much cheaper than buying or renting via iTunes, when that’s even an option.

  29. To me it’s a bit frustrating to recognize that essentially the streaming services have managed to return us to the old days of cable bundles.

    I was really happy in the interim period where I would pay to watch exactly the one show or movie I was interested in. No bundles, no subscriptions, no getting lured to watch a whole lot more than what you reasonably have time to spend on. :wink:

  30. So you haven’t actually watched any of it? You’re judging it based on trailers and reviews?

    I thought The Morning Show was very good. Ted Lasso is very good also.

  31. Well of course. That is usually how I decide if I want to pay for something. I’ll watch a trailer and read reviews about it. If I’m not thrilled with that, I don’t pay and hence I don’t watch the whole thing. I think I was quite forthcoming about what I based my judgement on. Rest assured I’m aware these things are personal preferences. I’ll take note you appear to have liked it very much. That’s great.

  32. The Morning Show, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso, Defending Jacob and Greyhound have all gotten Good scores (from both critics and non-critics). Considerably more people enjoyed them than not.

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