Apple helped to launch the personal computer revolution in the 1980s with its Mac PCs, and revolutionized the music industry in the 2000s with the iPod and iTunes. It jumpstarted the smartphone business with the iPhone in the late 2000s, and has led the tablet and smartwatch markets with the iPadand Apple Watch. Now, CEO Tim Cook and the team at Cupertino want to go after one of the biggest tech success stories of all time, Netflix, with the upcoming launch of Apple TV Plus (labeled officially as "Apple TV+").

Now, you may be asking yourself, "Isn't there already an Apple TV?". Yes, indeed; there is both an Apple TV app and an Apple TV hardware set-top device for big-screen TVs. However, Apple TV Plus is designed to offer consumers a way to subscribe to other online TV services inside just one app. In addition, it will also offer a ton of original TV and movie programming that will be exclusive to Apple TV Plus, putting it (semi-directly) in competition against Netflix, along with Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and others.

While it was officially announced at Apple's services press event on March 25, Apple has been working on Apple TV Plus behind the scenes for years. Over the past several years there have been rumors that Apple wanted to launch its own smart televisions, but these reports never came to fruition. A few years ago, Apple was close to launching an Internet-based TV service similar to Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and others. However, those plans ultimately fell apart.

The Apple TV Plus app will also still provide a way to rent or buy movies and TV shows available on iTunes, including any previous purchases you may have made. The app will also show you personalized recommendations for TV shows and movies you might be interested in watching, based on your previous viewing patterns. 

In the end, Apple decided to offer a service similar to what Amazon Prime Video offers its subscribers. On the one hand, Apple TV Plus will give users a way to sign up and watch premium TV streaming services inside just one app, without having to switch from app to app on your device. or without having to remember multiple accounts and passwords.

The other part of Apple TV Plus is the company's ambitious plan to offer customers a range of original TV shows and movies. The series and films that have been announced so far range from serious dramas and comedies to kids shows and documentaries.

Apple TV Plus will launch in two phases. The first phase begins in May when the company rolls out its updated Apple TV app, and that's when you will be able to sign up for third-party premium services inside the app. The second part of the service, when Apple TV Plus introduces its original and exclusive programming, will be available sometime this fall.