WWDC: All the Apple TV improvements we’ve seen this year
Apple TV got a little attention at WWDC, but Apple has been working hard to improve its streaming box all year – here are some of the improvements made to tvOS this year, and the new enhancements promised at the developer event.
Apple TV Remote
The Apple TV Remote app in Control Center got a new icon and a big performance boost this year. Not only does it let you control your Apple TV or compatible system from more places on your iPhone (including the Lock Screen) but you’ll also see much faster reaction to commands. That’s because discovery and connection times have been improved by 93%.
Apple this year also introduced support for a range of televisions from third-party manufacturers, such as Samsung. You can now control these sets using your iOS device.
Use buttons, don’t swipe
New accessibility settings allow for use of directional (button) controls instead of swipe gestures, which helps people with dexterity issues make use of the system.
Siri Shortcuts for Apple TV – yay
The Apple TV team has also developed a range of Siri Shortcuts for the system. These will be made available in iOS 13, and will let you turn your TV on and off, play/pause, and launch apps on the device – all from your Siri Shortcut request device of choice. That’s significant as it will become really easy to create automations.
Apple TV in iOS 13 will also learn to distinguish between different users, enabling different family members to experience content recommendations specific to them.
Moving Home (screen)
One thing Apple did announce at WWDC 2019 was the new Home screen. This will let apps play full-screen video previews on the Home screen, which the company hopes will help users discover new shows, movies, music, apps and games.
Another neat addition coming in iOS 13 – onscreen music lyrics in music – play a song and sing along. You know this will be popular – if only the system also kept time and worked with the microphone inside people’s iPhones.
Xbox and PlayStation game controllers
Gaming on Apple TV will be a lot more console-like. Not only will we see the addition of Apple Arcade gaming, but you’ll be able to control those games using both the Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth and PlayStation DualShock 4.
Underwater screen savers
Finally, Apple is introducing astonishing new screen savers full of mesmerizing creatures and scenes filmed underneath the world’s oceans by the BBC Natural History Unit, who made “Blue Planet”.
One more thing
Meanwhile, Apple continues to ramp up the quantity of content it makes available to Apple TV in the form of channels. Most recently the UKTV Play channel introduced an app in the UK, bringing more content into the TV app. Similar introductions are emerging worldwide each week.