Apple's new streaming service is called Apple TV Plus — here's why that's a bad name (AAPL)


Tim Cook Apple TV Plus +

  • Apple finally debuted its new streaming service last week, and it’s called Apple TV Plus.
  • Calling the service Apple TV Plus only describes the TV portion of the service, when in reality it’s going to be much more than that: it will also have movies and documentaries.
  • A name might not seem that important from the outset, but it can have big implications.

Apple’s new streaming service is called Apple TV Plus.

It’s a bad name.

Why is that? Well, here’s the description for Apple TV Plus, straight from Apple’s website (emphasis mine):

Introducing Apple TV+, a new streaming service where the most creative minds in TV and film tell the kinds of stories only they can. Featuring original shows and movies across every genre, exclusively on the Apple TV app.

apple tv plus description

The name Apple TV Plus simply doesn’t address that this service could also be a place for movies, or perhaps even other types of multimedia like documentaries or video podcasts.

It’s odd that Apple would choose a name that makes it sound like the service is only about TV, especially since Apple made a big deal of how you can watch these shows on any Apple device you own.

The name Apple TV Plus is also confusing in general. Apple already sells something called the Apple TV, which is a streaming set-top box sold in stores and online. People could very easily assume Apple TV Plus is simply upgraded hardware, or maybe they think they need a physical Apple TV in order to watch these new shows — a reasonable conclusion, based on the name — when that’s not the case.

Names matter: All words have a psychological effect, and people subconsciously correlate names with ideas. Apple whiffed big time with the name Apple TV Plus, and changing the name at this point would make Apple look incompetent. Apple picked the name, and it now has to live with it.

Apple should have given this service a name that actually encapsulates what it is: a place to watch original movies, shows, and other types of multimedia that are at least partially produced by Apple. It could have been called Apple Originals, or Apple Premium, or even Apple Prime if it wanted to get cheeky with its newfound media streaming rival, Amazon. But the name Apple TV Plus feels confusing, short-sighted, and singularly focused on TV shows, when it’s supposed to be more than that. 

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