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Apple Greenlights Unscripted TV Series About App Developers

Apple has greenlit an unscripted TV series starring apps developers — a group near and dear to its heart — marking the tech giant’s first original production.

The series will be produced by Ben Silverman and Howard Owens, in partnership with musician-entrepreneur will.i.am, the company announced Thursday.

But Apple indicated that the effort doesn’t represent a full-on push into the entertainment space. “This doesn’t mean that we are going into a huge amount of movie production or TV production or anything like that,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP of Internet software and services, told the New York Times.

Indeed, the untitled project appears to be about promoting Apple’s App Store more than anything else — amounting to, essentially, branded content. The company expects to distribute the series across its array of devices, including Apple TV boxes, iPhones and iPads, but Apple isn’t releasing info on timing, number of episodes or other details of the series.

Earlier this week, Apple Music launched the first part of a six-episode music docu-series from Vice Media and also is reportedly developing a scripted series from Dr. Dre, co-founder of music company Beats, which was acquired by Apple for $3 billion. Those projects are designed to attract and retain users of the Apple Music $10 subscription service.

For the time being, the signs from Apple are that it’s taking small steps into content production, and isn’t looking to blast its way into competing with the likes of Netflix, Amazon or Hulu for original or licensed streaming content.

Apple has been rumored for months to be putting together a subscription streaming-video service that would include TV programming. But it’s not clear what form such a service might take, including whether it would be designed to compete with traditional cable and satellite bundles like Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.

One thing seems certain: Expect Apple’s treatment of tech-world habitués to be markedly different from HBO’s “Silicon Valley.”

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