Back in April, Roku refreshed its product line with a series of new streaming devices. Included in that refresh was a Roku Voice Remote Pro with a dedicated Apple TV+ button. Nearly three months later, Roku and Apple are apparently ready to publicize the deal they made. If you go to Roku’s website, you will now see an image of a Roku Ultra and its remote — featuring an Apple TV+ button — plastered across the homepage, reminding us how deep Apple’s pockets are.
With a hugely limited library of content at launch, the biggest selling point of Apple TV+ was its price. More specifically, the big selling point was the one-year free trial Apple customers received when they bought a new device. Apple extended the free trial multiple times, and more than 18 months after the launch of Apple TV+, some subscribers have still never paid a cent for it. The free ride is coming to an end this month, though, as the initial trials have finally expired.
Apple TV+ free trials are finally ending
As we noted back in June, Apple recently altered the terms of the Apple TV+ free trial. Going forward, eligible devices activated after July 1st can qualify for 3 months of free Apple TV+. Subscribers will pay $4.99 a month after the trial expires, and they will be charged if they do not cancel. Furthermore, the launch trial that was repeatedly extended finally ended on July 1st. Millions of Apple TV+ subscribers are going to see a charge on their bill for the first time this month.
For all of these reasons and more, it’s no surprise that Apple wants to advertise its streaming service. In January, Protocol reported that Roku smart TVs had a 38% market share in the United States. There is plenty of competition for streaming dongles and boxes, but Roku’s smart TVs are dominating.
Millions of Americans have Roku remotes in their homes, and Apple wants to reach them however it can. According to a 2019 report from Bloomberg, companies pay Roku up to $1 per customer for the right to be included on the remote. Apple is worth over $2 trillion.
What’s up next for Apple TV+?
Apple TV+ is also preparing to launch some of its biggest shows since the service arrived in 2019. On July 16th, musical comedy Schmigadoon! starring Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong debuts. Then on July 23rd, Ted Lasso returns. The Morning Show season 2 is coming on September 17th, Foundation lands on September 24th, and Jon Stewart is readying a new show of his own.