The usual crew of TV journalists gathered today for something theyve become quite accustomed to in the era of Peak TV: the starry unveiling of an ambitious slate of new TV programming. But rather than being greeted by the sunny skies and palm trees of Los Angeles, or even the glinting skyscrapers of New York City, this Monday morning they braved the blustery, well-manicured grounds of Cupertino, California, to rub elbows with the power players of Silicon Valley and see, firsthand, what Apple plans to do with its entrée into the world of original programming. The mix of the tech world and Hollywood made for a strange cocktail as—with very little actual content to share—Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook attempted to dazzle with a roster of stars, and, most of all, the white, polished gleam of the Apple campus itself.
Everywhere you turned there was a chipper, green-shirted, black-jacketed employee hired for the day to make sure every door opened smoothly and every coffee cup was whisked out of sight. Cheery, persistent compliments—“Love your hair! Amazing jacket! Adore that scarf!”—echoed off the polished white surfaces and glass walls of the upstairs foyer of the newish Steve Jobs theater, as applause and cheers echoed up from the dress rehearsal below, a tease of the show to come. “Is this your first time at Apple?” one friendly brand ambassador after the next asked L.A. and tech types alike. “Me too! Im so excited. Isnt this exciting?” It felt, for all the world, like an aggressively peppy congregation inviting newcomers to worship at the Church of Apple.
Once the show itself kicked off—with starry, new celebrity Apple partners like Chris Evans, Ron D. Moore, Bill Lawrence, Mark Duplass, Rashida Jones, and more sitting down front, where the livestream cameras might catch their reactions, and journalists and influencers perched in the back—it was easy to spot the Apple employees who had attended the dress rehearsal and had been coached when to clap, hoot, and holler loudly at every new announcement. The chipper, Saul Bass-esque trailer that launched Cooks presentation was meticulously designed to broadcast both non-threatening approachability and cinematic bona fides. But the friendly veneer couldnt disguise that Apple came to flex its muscles.
The first two-thirds of the the presentation followed a script familiar from past Apple keynotes in which Jobs, and now Cook, led a visually impressive presentation of the new goodies and services Apple will soon have to offer. Every upbeat announcement of Apple-branded credit card, news service, and gaming platform was laced with jabs at the competition—like the repeated assurances that Apple would not be mining its customers data, barbs aimed up the peninsula at Facebooks Menlo Park campus.
But Apple reserved its biggest swings for its neighbor just 15 minutes down the road: Netflix. Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, J.J. Abrams, and—most compellingly—Oprah Winfrey took the stage one after another to evocatively describe the original programming they were cooking up for the brand-new Apple TV+. As the event stretched into the two-hour mark, it looked like Apple might not screen any footage from their much-ballyhooed, as-yet-unseen slate of shows at all. The brief sizzle reel that eventually showed didnt reveal much beyond Witherspoons hair color in her new series The Morning Show—brown!—and what looks like a truly fun vehicle for Hailee Steinfeld in the anachronistic period piece Dickinson.
Without significant footage to show, Apple made the talent itself the product on display. Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani delivered a mini stand-up routine—which drew sincere laughter—as he described his new show, Little America, an anthology inspired by real-life immigrant stories. Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles sat behind a keyboard and crooned the titular theme song of her new series, Little Voice, about the lives of musicians in New York. (Not to be confused with either the 1998 film or the 2007 Bareilles album of the same name.)
But the main event was, without question, Oprah. The Church of Apple vibe only increased as Winfrey took the stage to play her usual role of the worlds most charismatic, secular preacher. She got a riotous standing ovation after a trailer that promised to bring Winfrey back to TV after a long absence (some serious OWN erasure there). Speaking about the healing connectivity her upcoming documentaries and book-club programming at Apple will offer, “Theyre in a billion pockets, yall. A billion pockets,” Winfrey said, naming the real reason Apple has a leg up on the competition. The Apple TV+ bundling platform may not be able to offer much that Roku cant, and NeRead More – Source