Apple today announced a major update to its tvOS operating system for Apple TV 4. New features include expanded Siri capabilities, single sign-on for Apple TV, dark mode, HomeKit suport, redesigned Apple Music, app badging and many more.
New Siri features and functionality
- Topic search for movies: the ability to ask Siri for a movie by topic or theme (e.g. “Show movies about baseball”)
- YouTube search: users can ask Siri to search YouTube (coming later this month)
- Live tune-in: ask Siri to go directly to a live channel inside a supported app, such as “Watch CBS News” or “Watch ESPN.”
- Manage HomeKit accessories: Apple TV gives users control of HomeKit-enabled accessories. It also allows users to control HomeKit accessories when they are away from home or use it for home automation with the Home app on their iOS device.
Single sign-on for pay-TV apps
Customers in the US will have a simplified way of enjoying pay-TV video channels by using single sign-on. Starting this fall, users only have to sign in once on Apple TV to get immediate access to their favorite video channels that are included as part of their pay-TV subscription.
Once a user is signed into one network app, any other app on Apple TV from participating pay-TV providers will automatically log the user into all other supported apps requiring authentication.
Single sign-on will be available on both Apple TV and iOS.
New tvOS APIs and tools available for developers include:
- ReplayKit to enable developers to record and live broadcast from their apps;
- PhotoKit to allow third-party app access to photos and videos in iCloud Photo Library and iCloud Shared Stream;
- HomeKit to create apps to control HomeKit devices from Apple TV;
- App badging on the Home screen, to make it easier for users to know something new for them is available inside an app; and,
- Game Center enhancements and support for up to four game controllers at a time.
Additional features and updates
- iOS users can download the new Apple TV Remote app with touch navigation, Siri and game play support.
- Apple Music has an all-new design. The Library, For You, Browse and Radio tabs have been completely redesigned, and a Search tab has been added “to make finding music even easier.”
- Photos for Apple TV now supports the new Memories feature.
- Users can now select a dark background for Apple TV.
- Universal apps will now automatically download on Apple TV and show up on the Home screen when an app has been added to a user’s iOS device.
- When a keyboard appears on Apple TV, one will also appear on nearby iOS devices that are logged into the same iCloud account, making entering text more convenient.
The new tvOS will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple TV.