As Apple went through all its big software announcements at WWDC 2022 – including the release of iOS 16 and macOS 13, among others – I was eagerly awaiting the release of tvOS 16.
In more recent years, tvOS on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD felt like a forgotten cousin compared to how exciting developments were in other areas – and this year it seemed to have been totally forgotten, because it didn’t receive a mention or performance on stage. .
But the good news is that it exists – although I only know about it because I’ve been looking for evidence, as if it’s some kind of benevolent chupacabra software.
It turns out that developers can download the beta version of tvOS 16 right now, and there’s some very limited and very scattered information about what’s new. So far, the main features received are some improvements to connectivity between devices (i.e. between iPhone/Apple Watch and Apple TV), new and redesigned smart home support (including the upcoming Matter standard), support for more Bluetooth game controllers, and some limited support for the new Metal 3 graphics API (according to Apple Insider (opens in new tab)).
Specifically, Apple world (opens in new tab) highlighted the following features of tvOS 16 – but note that these are features for developers to use, so they won’t come to all apps:
“Integrate your tvOS app with your iOS, iPadOS or watchOS app to unlock new experiences on Apple TV. For example, you can offer more personalized workouts on Apple TV based on Apple Watch motion sensor data, display real-time information on iPhone while media is playing in your Apple TV app, or add more screens to play games.
“Make it easy for people to enjoy your Apple TV app with enhanced system integration for user profiles. With credentials stored on a shared keyring, users won’t have to log in and choose their profile every time they launch your app.”
Update: There also appears to be support for HDR10+ in the Apple TV app for the first time, according to FlatpanelsHD (opens in new tab).
I asked Apple to confirm the new features and improvements in tvOS 16 and will update this story with details when we get them.
It looks like a public beta of tvOS 16 will be available next month, and the full release will come in Fall/Fall – last year, September 20th to be precise, after the iPhone 13 was released, and I would expect a similar time this year. year around the launch of the iPhone 14.
Opinion: Not great for Apple TV
I love Apple TV 4K – its picture quality surpasses pretty much every other streaming box, and movie downloads from the Apple store are of a higher quality than any other streaming service. They’re as close to 4K Blu-ray as you can get without breaking the bank…
But the lack of tvOS development is really concerning, and it makes me wonder if Apple is still committed to the platform. It’s not like there aren’t any additions – Spatial Audio in iOS 15 was a fantastic new feature. But, say, in watchOS 9 or iPadOS 16, you will have five or six fantastic new features, and many legal minors.
One of the improvements mentioned above implies that there can be real-time second-screen information on your iPhone or iPad related to what you’re watching on the main screen, and that sounds great… Isn’t Apple pushing tvOS as a platform? Apple needs to lead and show people what they could have, otherwise these new tricks will be ignored.
Do we really think there’s nothing else in the world of TV interaction that would benefit from new thinking? Of course. What kind of smart picture-in-picture options could we have? What if Apple applied its machine learning skills to analyze what you’re watching and tell you all about it, like who the actors are in a scene and what else they’ve been in – like Amazon X-Ray, but in everything you watch? Could Apple use its language processing to create subtitles even for programs that don’t have them?
And you know, the Apple TV keyboard is still horizontal lines of letters on the screen, a solution that exactly zero people love.
So the question is, why isn’t Apple adding more to tvOS? And we may not like the answer.