Apple debuted new tvOS features for the fourth-generation Apple TV at WWDC 2016 on Monday. The new features, which will arrive on Apple TVs in the fall, include more powerful Siri search, single sign-on for pay TV apps, new apps, and new developer APIs and tools.
What’s New With Siri
- Topic search for movies*: With the ability to ask Siri for a movie by topic or theme, you have even more ways to find the films you really feel like watching, such as “Show movies about baseball,” “Find documentaries about cars,” or “Find high school comedies from the ‘80s.”
- YouTube search: Later this month, users can ask Siri to search YouTube, so you can say “Search YouTube for cute pug videos.”
- 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 so you can ask Siri to “Turn on the lights” or “Set the temperature to 70 degrees.” Apple TV 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
Instead of needing to sign in to every pay TV app, such as HBO Now, Showtime, Hulu, and others individually, starting this fall, users will only need to sign in once to their Apple TV, and can then enjoy immediate access to their Pay TV subscriptions.
- 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.
- During the single sign-on process, customers can view a page of all the authenticated apps that a pay-TV provider offers to more easily discover, download and enjoy all of their favorite video channels.
- Any network-TV app can take advantage of this technology to enable single sign-on and simplify the process for their viewers.
- Single sign-on will be available on both Apple TV and iOS.
Apple TV already offers over 6,000 apps, and more are on the way. Apple today announced that new apps from Sling TV, Fox Sports Go, Molotov TV, and game-based apps like Minecraft Story Mode and Sketch Party were on the way.
New Developer APIs and Tools
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 Apple TV 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, bringing greater clarity and simplicity to every aspect of the experience.
- Photos for Apple TV now supports the new Memories feature.
- Users can now improve viewing Apple TV in a dark room by selecting 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 even more convenient.
The tvOS developer preview is available immediately for Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. The new tvOS will be available this fall as a free software update.