Apple TV+ is the only streaming service that takes your privacy seriously

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Spatial audio for Apple TV in tvOS 15
Most streaming services are watching you while you watch them.
Photo: Apple

Almost every video streaming service except Apple TV+ is selling your data to third-party companies and tracking your viewing habits for targeted ads. A new report from Common Sense Media exposes the loose privacy policies employed by most streaming providers, including Amazon and Netflix.

“Many viewers know that free streaming apps are most likely selling their personal information, but most viewers may not know that most paid sub‐ scription streaming apps are also selling users’ data,” warns the report.

Netflix gets more immersive with Spatial Audio support

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Spatial audio for Apple TV in tvOS 15
Netflix beats Apple TV to the punch.
Photo: Apple

Netflix has begun rolling out Spatial Audio support. This lets the streaming service offer a surround sound-like experience but without all the speakers. Currently, it requires AirPods Pro or AirPods Max but that’ll change soon.

And Netflix beat out Apple TV in offering the feature.

Netflix confirms it will take on Apple Arcade — and it won’t cost extra

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Netflix could get into gaming
Interested in a Netflix gaming service?
Image: Netflix/Cult of Mac

Netflix seemingly isn’t content to compete with Apple (spoiler: it’s winning) over streaming video subscription services only. The media giant has now confirmed that it is planning to launch an Apple Arcade rival — and at no extra cost to its subscribers.

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix noted that it is still “in the early stages of the initiative,” but that it views it as a major piece of the puzzle in terms of dominating the entertainment landscape.

Long and fraught: The path to success for Apple TV+

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Apple TV+ Autumn 2021: Apple TV+ has some big shows coming this year.
Apple TV+ has some big shows coming this year.
Photo: Apple TV+

A year and a half in, Apple TV+ remains something of a black box. Ever since the streaming video service’s launch in November 2019, Cupertino has refused to reveal hard data about just how well Apple TV+ is doing.

In some respects, the future looks promising. Apple TV+ continues to add high-profile projects to its production queue. Apple TV+ shows and movies continue to rack up awards. And upcoming originals like an epic sci-fi adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and the second season of surprise hit Ted Lasso are generating buzz.

Plus, with the original one-year free trials ending — and new free Apple TV+ trials slashed to just three months — the $4.99-a-month streaming service seems increasingly confident about its value proposition for viewers.

Still, the Apple TV+ library continues to be dwarfed by rivals like Netflix and Disney+.

So what does the future hold? And what does “success” look like for Apple TV+ anyway? Cult of Mac asked the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a pseudonymous entertainment executive who writes about the business, how Apple TV+ is faring and what to expect next. His responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Netflix could offer new gaming subscription like Apple Arcade

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Netflix could get into gaming
A Netflix for games? Yes, please!
Image: Netflix/Cult of Mac

Netflix is exploring an expansion into online gaming with a brand-new service much like Apple Arcade, according to new reports.

The service could see subscribers paying a monthly fee for unlimited access to a catalog of titles. However, sources familiar with the situation say that plans are “very much in flux” as things stand.

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Netflix Downloads for You puts suggested shows right onto your iPhone
Unlike Epic Games, Netflix wasn’t banned from the App Store when it did an end run around Apple’s in-app purchase system.
Photo: Netflix

Apple TV+ wins on quality, but severely lags on quantity

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Apple TV app lands on PlayStation
Apple TV+ has some impressive quality control.
Photo: Apple

Apple TV+ may be only a bit-player in the streaming wars, but on a pound-for-pound quality basis, it could actually be outperforming its competitors.

That’s according to a new study by Self Financial, which compared TV and movie data from Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu and Apple TV+ to find out which offered the best quality viewing experience.

Concept artists imagine crazy cars from Apple, Netflix and other tech giants

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An Apple Car as imaged by ‘ Vanarama.’
The iDrive is just one of the Big Tech concept cars imaged by Vanarama.
Concept image: Vanarama

The Apple Car really is on the drawing board at Cupertino, but no one outside the company knows what it’ll look like. Vanarama came up with a concept design.

And it didn’t stop there. Its designers had fun imagining vehicles designed by Netflix, Peloton, Airbnb and Zoom if these other Big Tech companies got into the market.

Apple TV 3 loses YouTube support, but there is a workaround

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Apple TV Siri Remote
Sad times for third-gen. Apple TV owners.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

YouTube is now officially dead on the third-generation Apple TV. Users who attempt to watch the app will be greeted by an error message that confirms Apple’s aging hardware is no longer supported.

That’s hardly surprising given that the third-generation Apple TV is close to a decade old now. But there is a workaround (sort of) for those who still want to watch their favorite YouTube channels on the big screen.