Maybe there are other companies that can get the world to turn up to its TV launch, but only Apple could do it and then not tell us anything. AppleInsider described the event as "less what the company would usually call a keynote and much more what television networks call the upfronts."

The New York Times said the same thing. "Despite the disruptive effect Apple promises to have on the entertainment industry, the company followed an old script," it said (behind a paywall). "While the presentation was something new for Apple, it was familiar to the audience members from Los Angeles. That's because what they were seeing was essentially an upfront presentation."

First responders

After explaining that the upfronts "are a decades-old convention in the television business," the New York Times summed up the event as "charm-and-dazzle." And, the publication noted that the Hollywood people in the audience had all recognized an issue. "It was not lost on them that... many of the stars on display were not exclusive to Apple" said the Times.

The Hollywood Reporter believes that Apple has set its sights on the existing cable providers instead of streaming rivals. "The tech giant's content push signals an intent to dethrone Comcast, not Netflix," it said, "as consumers increasingly cut the cord on traditional pay television." 

The same publication recognized that Disney is about to unveil its own offering and suggested that Apple may not have wanted to give details that would help its rival. "But the absence of concrete information gave the appearance that executives are still searching for a strategy," said The Hollywood Reporter.

Outside the US, Britain's The Guardian wasn't kind. "In true Cook style," said the paper, "the fun stuff was preceded by an hour-long infomercial for Apple's other subscription services, which the CEO introduced by reading out a dictionary definition of 'services.'"

The Guardian also raised a point of difference between Apple and previous streaming launches. "While Netflix and Amazon started out with boundary-pushing shows such as 'Orange is the New Black' and 'Transparent,' Cook has reportedly brought his dad-ish sensibilities to running a studio, putting the kibosh on sex, violence and profanity." 

As the week continued

As AppleInsider looked to the long game that Apple seems to be playing, others including influential investor Warren Buffet also thought more about the future. "I'd love to see them succeed," he said, "but that's a company that can afford a mistake or two. You wouldn't want to buy stock in the company that has to do everything right. Apple should do some things that don't work."

Buffet seems to have missed Apple's repeated failure to make a music social media platform.

Also speaking out and also apparent missing something was AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson. He talked about all the streaming media work that the AT&T-owned WarnerMedia is doing and implied that in every case, the company would be getting data about the end user, the viewer. 

When pressed about whether that included the firm's arrangement with Apple, he couldn't bring himself to simply say yes. "Just pick the [service] you want to pick, we will have access to data," he said instead. "It's critical to everything we're trying to do."

It's also seemingly opposite to what Apple is trying to do with privacy. "The Apple TV app delivers on all these principles, including our commitment that we won't share your personal information with anyone," said Apple's Peter Stern during the March 25 presentation.

Similarly, Roku's CEO Anthony Wood said that Apple TV+ had to go on smart TVs and rival platforms in order to get enough viewers to be worth doing. "Obviously, they're counting on jump-starting [the streaming service] with all of their iPhone and iPad and Mac customers, but actually smart TVs are the way that most streaming services, long-form streaming services are viewed by customers," said Wood. "That's where they spend most of their hours, and so for any kind of service like that to be successful you want to be on the leading streaming TV platforms." 

He's not wrong, but he's positioning Roku as a competitor by trying to diminish the entire iOS platform. "They're in a billion pockets, y'all," said Oprah Winfrey at the launch.

Apple is bringing the service to smart TVs but it's also bringing it to older versions of its own. This week Apple confirmed that its new TV app would be appearing on third-generation Apple TV boxes too. 

It's going to be a revamped and improved Apple TV app, and we've now seen evidence of that with the latest beta releases of iOS.