“It’s show time”, declares Apple’s invite to a select group of content creators and Hollywood stars for an exclusive gathering next week in the tech giant’s home town of Cupertino, California.

The event will be avidly watched by industry observers far beyond the confines of the plush 1,000-seat Steve Jobs theater, because it marks a major departure for the tech behemoth, which has witnessed a tailing off in enthusiasm for ever more iterations of its iconic iPhone.

Apple is putting up over a billion dollars to show it’s ready to take on the likes of Netflix, Amazon and HBO, and become a major-league content provider, generating original content at scale.

And the launch date for Apple is fast-approaching, The New York Times noted – the first of around 12 shows is likely to begin streaming later this year.

The company's shift represents a massive cultural departure for the company, the Times noted. Two decades ago Apple was almost going under, then came the iMac, the iPod, iPhone and iPad, all steps along the way to creating the world’s most valuable public company.

Now the plan is to build devices and populate them with content. The strategy will emphasize all of Apple’s services, from Apple Music and Apple Pay, to expanding Apple News, plus the new streaming service, which will reportedly include material from HBO, Starz and Showtime, along with original content.

But there are some concerns about the radical difference in the way business will have to be done – and the potential clash between a tech company that is evangelistic about guarding its proprietorial secrets, and the much looser, informal world of content and entertainment with an emphasis on partnership.

Apple’s entertainment team has provided feedback to individuals involved in shows, the Times said, but it has been unforthcoming about the marketing and rollout plans.

Many people working with Apple report having heard little or no information on how and when shows will be released, other than vague indications; nor do they know much about Apple’s marketing plans.

Next week’s event may well unveil to Hollywood much of what Apple has planned, but some observers have interpreted Apple’s general lack of detailed communication as a potential indicator there may be no clear game plan.

Sourced from The News York Times; additional content by WARC staff