Apple shows

Apple’s streaming service, poised to be an important rival against the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, was initially said to debut as early as this month. Now, a new report suggests that it may not be available for consumers until 2020.

The same report says showrunners at the company are dealing with their own share of hurdles, including a “lack of transparency,” “lack of clarity,” and “intrusive” executives who have been giving notes which attempt to guide the shows more toward the family-friendly vibe Apple wants to cultivate. Reportedly, one of the most oft-repeated notes from CEO Tim Cook to showrunners is the phrase “don’t be so mean!”

Read on for more, including the troubling claim that Apple only wants technology to be portrayed in a positive light across its shows.

According to The New York Post (via ScreenCrush), Apple head Tim Cook and other executives have been “very involved” with the productions of Apple’s original content, giving so many notes in the process that it’s resulted in delays. The company’s streaming service, which was previously targeting a launch sometime between March-Summer 2019 and just recently reported to be ready “by mid-April,” may not actually be putting content in front of its users at that time. According to The New York Post:

The streaming service is widely expected to be unveiled this month, but the final product won’t likely be available to consumers before the end of the year — and it will offer just a handful of the several dozen shows it has in the works, sources said.

We knew the service wouldn’t debut with all of the shows at once, but this potential delay seems significant. Will they unveil details of the streaming service this month but not let people have access to it until next year? Specific details are still difficult to come by.

Meanwhile, Apple has reportedly “passed on storylines because they are about potentially controversial topics, like religion or the negative consequences of technology”, with a producer explaining to the Post that “[Apple] want[s] a positive view of technology” on their shows.

That’s quite a limitation to put on storytellers. Can you imagine if executives told James Cameron not to be so mean when depicting the programmed killer in The Terminator? Yes, Apple is a technology company, but if this report is true, seeing them balk at the idea of depicting technology in a bad light is a Very Bad Look. Combine this with the claims about how they’re trying to quash sex, violence, or anything risqué so their content can be played openly in Apple Stores around the world without offending people, and it’s starting to appear as if this company is not so much interested in making great television as they are making television that falls within their extremely narrow standards.

Even if the streaming service were to launch on schedule with its entire slate available at once (which, to be clear, is not possible), the company may not make the type of splash they originally envisioned. “A lot of the product is not as good as they hoped it to be,” a producer told The Post. That observation isn’t encouraging, but there’s always the chance that this may be a bitter employee painting a more dour picture than necessary. We’ll let you know as soon as Apple makes any official announcement about the future of their content.

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