Archive of Apple TV Rumors

tvOS, the operating system that runs on the fourth-generation Apple TV, is also set to receive some updates this fall alongside iOS, macOS, and watchOS.

tvOS isn't getting as many changes as these other operating systems, but as can be seen in the video below, there are some important new features being added that make it easier to find content and easier to watch live television.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

New in tvOS 10 is Siri's ability to search for movies by topic, bringing up content around a theme. Queries like "Show me high school comedies from the 80s" or "Find me movies about dinosaurs" now work. Siri's also gaining the ability to open live channels directly through a Live Tune-In feature that works when you say something like "Watch CBS News" or "Watch ESPN," and Siri can also manage HomeKit accessories.

At WWDC, Apple mentioned that YouTube search is on the way, allowing users to ask Siri to find cute kitten videos or videos of hamsters eating tiny burritos, but that's actually a feature that's going to be available ahead of the fall release of tvOS.

A new Single Sign-On option for pay TV apps is available in tvOS 10, allowing users to sign in once with their cable credentials to access live cable content available through their cable subscription. Apple plans to introduce a new Remote app for iOS devices that mirrors the layout of the Siri remote, and developers are getting a lot of new APIs to build into their apps.

For the first time, games will be able to require a controller, so more complicated controls will be possible, and there are also APIs for recording and live broadcasting, using HomeKit, and accessing iCloud Photo Library photos.

Other new features in tvOS include a dark mode, a Continuity option for easier text input on the iPhone, automatic app downloads, a "Memories" feature in Photos, and a redesigned Apple Music app.

Not all tvOS features are working in the developer beta now, including Single Sign-On, but Apple will likely add functionality as the beta testing process progresses.

For full details on the new features coming in tvOS 10, make sure to check out our tvOS 10 roundup. Don't miss out on our previous videos, which have covered iOS 10, watchOS 3, and macOS Sierra:

- WWDC 2016 Overview in Seven Minutes
- iOS 10's Overhauled Lockscreen
- The New iOS 10 Photos App
- The New iOS 10 Messages App
- macOS Sierra - Siri
- iOS 10 Hidden Features
- watchOS 3 Overview
- iOS 10's Redesigned Apple Music Experience
- 3D Touch in iOS 10
- The New Home App for Controlling HomeKit Devices

We've also got roundups for all of the upcoming operating systems, including watchOS 3, macOS Sierra, and iOS 10.
Apple today added nine new channels to the universal search function on the fourth-generation Apple TV, introducing support for A&E, Cooking Channel, DIY, Food Network, FYI, HGTV, History, Lifetime, and Travel Channel.

For those unfamiliar with universal search, it's a feature that allows users to conduct Siri voice searches or text-based searches to find TV and movie content across a wide range of channels. At launch, universal search only supported a few channels, but Apple has been rapidly expanding the feature to encompass additional channels.

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Apple maintains a dedicated support document providing Apple TV owners with a full list of content that can be found via Siri using universal search. Unfortunately, universal search is an option largely limited to the United States. In other countries, In most other countries, only iTunes content is currently supported, while Netflix is also supported in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
apple_tv_squareApple today provided developers with the third beta of an upcoming 9.2.2 update to tvOS, the operating system that runs on the fourth-generation Apple TV. The third tvOS 9.2.2 beta comes two weeks after the release of the second beta and more than a month after the launch of tvOS 9.2.1. tvOS 9.2.2 has been in testing since May 23.

tvOS betas are more difficult to install than beta updates for iOS and OS X. Installing the tvOS beta requires the Apple TV to be connected to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, with the software downloaded and installed via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Once a beta profile has been installed on the device through iTunes, new beta releases will be available over the air.

tvOS 9.2.2 is a minor 9.x.x update, focusing on bug fixes and performance improvements. Apple's release notes have suggested the update includes bug fixes and security improvements, and no outward-facing changes were spotted in the first two betas.

This post will be updated if we discover any new features or fixes in the third beta of tvOS 9.2.2.

Apple is also working on the next-generation version of tvOS, tvOS 10, which includes new Siri features, single sign-on cable authentication, and more. tvOS 10, currently available to developers, will be released to the public in the fall.
Apple on Tuesday hosted a WWDC 2016 session called What's New in Accessibility that provided an overview of new assisitive technologies and features added to iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3.

Physical and Motor Skills


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Switch Control can now be used to interact with the tvOS interface using a single physical button, such as a switch on a wheelchair. There is both a cursor interface that highlights elements on the screen and an alternative interface with an on-screen remote. Accessibility users that already use Switch Control with an iOS device or Mac can automatically use the function on tvOS without re-pairing a switch.

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Dwell Control is a new feature for macOS Sierra that enables users to control the cursor on Mac using assistive technologies and hardware like a headband with reflective dots or eye movements. When the cursor dwells on a certain location, a timer appears that expires and invokes a mouse click or other customizable actions.

Vision


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Apple has made display and color adjustments and introduced the option to tint the entire display on Mac, Apple TV, and iOS devices, which can significantly increase contrast and reading ability.

Taptic Time is a new VoiceOver feature on watchOS 3 that uses a series of distinct taps from the Taptic Engine to help someone tell time silently and discreetly.

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Magnifier is a new systemwide iOS 10 feature that enables users to use the camera to magnify objects in their physical environment. Various color filters, such as grayscale and inverted grayscale, are supported to increase contrast.

Hearing


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iOS 10 allows for Software TTY calls to be placed without any additional hardware. The calls work with legacy TTY technology and make it easy to dial a non-TTY number through your carrier’s relay service. There are also built-in TTY-specific QuickType keyboard predictions.

Learning


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iOS 10 has a number of enhancements designed to help people with dyslexia. There are improvements to Speak Selection and Speak Screen to help people better understand text that has already been entered, and there is new audio feedback for typing to help people immediately catch mistakes.

Learn more by watching the What's New in Accessibility video or reading the slideshow.
Apple has quietly dropped the requirement that tvOS developers make their games playable using the Siri Remote as a controller.

The policy change was discovered in an update to an existing Apple TV support document covering the use of game controllers, and highlighted by MacRumors' sister site TouchArcade as a revision that will surely be welcomed by developers and gamers alike.

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The MFi-compatible Nimbus Steelseries Controller

The updated document now recommends to developers: "When designing a tvOS game, you may require the use of an MFi game controller, but where possible you should also support the Siri Remote."

The wording reflects a subtle but significant softening of the company's previous stance on Siri Remote controller support. At the launch of the fourth-generation Apple TV last year, Apple initially encouraged game developers to support the Siri Remote included with the device, but eventually hardened its stance by stipulating the support as a necessary requirement.

That vexed some developers who complained that the Siri Remote simply doesn't function well as a controller for more complex games that involve finer grained control and subtler movements.

The reversed stance therefore paves the way for developers to bring games to Apple TV that would have previously been considered unplayable on the platform.

On the flip side of course, it's also likely to mean that some games which subsequently appear in the Apple TV App Store will be out of reach of users who do not own a compatible third-party MFi game controller.

In related news, Apple yesterday demoed an updated Remote app for the fourth-gen Apple TV and tvOS which mirrors the functionality of the Siri Remote and also allows users to play games using their iPhone.

The company also used its WWDC 2016 keynote to announce an updated version of tvOS that includes new functionality and features for Siri, single sign-on and more.
During the tvOS section of Apple's WWDC keynote today, the company confirmed that Sling TV will be getting an app for the fourth-generation Apple TV. Now, Sling TV has confirmed that the live-streaming app is available to download from the tvOS store, "delivering a live, linear and on-demand multichannel pay-TV service all within a single app."

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The Apple TV rollout will introduce a brand-new user interface that the company plans to install on other devices in the coming months. Anyone who downloads Sling TV today to join its beta multi-stream service will additionally gain access to new channels owned by Fox; across all services, new channels from Viacom will also be available.

There's a bundle discount available for users who have yet to purchase an Apple TV, and intend to join Sling TV as well. New customers will have the chance to purchase a new 32GB Apple TV for $89 (previously $150), when they also pre-pay for a three-month subscription to Sling TV ($20 per month), which would eventually equal the Apple TV's original price.

More in-depth coverage of every big piece of tvOS and Apple TV news can be found in our WWDC keynote roundup.
Today at its WWDC keynote, Apple unveiled the updated Remote app for the fourth-generation Apple TV and tvOS. The new app mirrors the functionality of the Siri Remote.

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Noting that its customers wanted an updated version of the Remote app, Apple SVP Eddy Cue said the new app allows users to use their iPhones to play games. The app also allows users to use Siri to command their Apple TV as well as input text via their iPhone's keyboard.

Like previous Remote apps, the new Remote app will also allow users to control the content on the Apple TV, fast forwarding, pausing, playing and rewinding whatever they're watching.
Today at WWDC, Apple announced an updated version of tvOS that includes new functionality and features for Siri, single sign-on and more. Apple also announced that a few new apps will be arriving on tvOS, including Sling, Fox Sports Go, Molotov TV, and a handful of game-based apps like Minecraft Story Mode and Sketch Party.

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Siri has gained a handful of new abilities, including the ability to search for movies by topic. For instance, a user can now ask Siri to find the latest superhero movies or documentaries about cars. Siri can even partner themes with other pieces of context, like searching for high school comedies from the 80s. Siri will also be able to search through YouTube later this month.

Siri can also be directed to tune-in to live channels within apps now. For example, if a user asks Siri to "Watch CBS News" or "Watch ESPN," Siri will instantly open the live feed within the app, rather than transporting the user to the app's home screen. Finally, Siri can also manage a user's HomeKit devices via Apple TV.

Fourth-generation Apple TV users will no longer need to individually sign into each of their Pay-TV apps with the new tvOS update. tvOS now supports single sign-on, so when users sign into Apple's new feature, they'll never have to go through the process again. Once a user enters their credentials in one app, tvOS will automatically authenticate every other app that requires authentication. Additionally, when a user is entering their credentials for the first time they'll be presented with a page featuring all the authenticated apps their pay-TV provider offers support for, allowing users to easily discover what other content they can watch.

Single Sign-On is available for any network-TV app, though it must be enabled by the developer. The feature will also be available for iOS 10, which the Cupertino company also announced and detailed at today's WWDC keynote. Apple also debuted a new dark mode for Apple TV, making it easier for users with darker rooms.

The new Apple TV and tvOS are compatible with the revamped Remote app, which mirrors the abilities of the Apple TV's Siri Remote on an iPhone. The app, like previous Remote apps, allows users to control their content, but it also allows users to use Siri to control the Apple TV. Users can also use the app to play games on Apple TV and enter text via the iOS keyboard.

Apple also announced a couple new tvOS APIs for developers, including support for PhotoKit and HomeKit. One of those APIs is ReplayKit, which allows developers to record live broadcasts from their apps. Apple TV apps can also badge their icons on the home screen, notifying users to potential changes within the app. The Apple TV can also support up to four game controllers as well.

Many of the new features coming to iOS and macOS have also come to tvOS. The newly redesigned Apple Music, with a simplified and more colorful design, is also available on Apple TV. The revamped Apple Music is easier-to-navigate and read, with bigger fonts and more emphasis on album art. It also includes a new "For You" tabled that has better-curated content. Finally, the new Apple Music also gained support for lyrics. Photos for Apple TV now has gained the new Memories feature debuted with iOS 10, allowing users to easily rediscover moments from their past. Universal apps will also automatically download when downloaded to an iOS device, and when a keyboard appears on the Apple TV, it'll also appear on an iOS device signed in with the same iCloud account.
Apple today added four new channels to its universal search functionality on the fourth-generation Apple TV, including support for Bravo, E!, Syfy, and USA. The feature lets users find specific media content across multiple apps using the Apple TV's text or Siri voice search.

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Users can keep up-to-date with which apps are carrying support for universal search in the company's dedicated support document. The four new apps today follow a steady stream of additions to universal search over the past few months, including NBC in May and CBS in April.

Apple's rate of adding new apps to universal search also seems to be increasing, considering that the Apple TV apps for Bravo, E!, and Syfy launched on the fourth-generation device just a few weeks ago. The current U.S. lineup for universal search encompasses the four major networks, services like iTunes, HBO, Hulu, and Netflix, and other channels including Disney, National Geographic, and FX.

Netflix and iTunes remain the sole apps supported by universal search in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, while in most other territories only iTunes content is supported.
Apple today provided developers with the second beta of an upcoming 9.2.2 update to tvOS, the operating system designed to run on the fourth-generation Apple TV. The second tvOS 9.2.2 beta comes two weeks after the release of the first beta and three weeks after the public launch of tvOS 9.2.1.

tvOS betas are more difficult to install than beta updates for iOS and OS X. Installing the tvOS beta requires the Apple TV to be connected to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, with the software downloaded and installed via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Once a beta profile has been installed on the device through iTunes, new beta releases will be available over the air.

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As a minor 9.x.x update, tvOS 9.2.2 appears to focus on bug fixes and performance improvements, much like tvOS 9.2.1, the current version of the tvOS operating system. According to Apple's release notes, the first beta included bug fixes and security improvements and no outward-facing changes were spotted.

We'll update this post if any new features are found in tvOS 9.2.2 beta 2.
At Recode's Code Conference today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was asked why the online retailer does not sell either the Apple TV or Google Chromecast. Bezos reiterated that Amazon chooses not to sell video streaming devices that do not include Prime Video capability and that the company wants "acceptable business terms" before bringing the the app to devices.

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We sell Roku, we sell Xbox, we sell PlayStation. We're happy to sell competitive products on Amazon and we do it all day. We sell Nest thermostats. When we sell those devices, we want our Prime Video player to be on the device and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms. We can always get the player on the device, the question is whether you can get it on with acceptable business terms. And if you can't, we don't want to sell it to our customers because they're going to be buying it thinking you can watch Prime Video and then they're going to be disappointed and then they're going to return it.
When pressed by The Verge's Nilay Patel on whether "acceptable business terms" meant paying Apple's 30 percent cut on in-app purchases and subscriptions, Bezos declined to answer, only stating that he wanted to keep private business discussions private.

Amazon ceased selling the Apple TV and Google Chromecast last October, saying that it was important for Prime Video to interact with streaming devices it sells to avoid customer confusion. In November, Amazon confirmed to engineer Dan Bostonweeks that a Prime Video app was in development, with the company saying that it hoped to launch the app by the end of 2015.


While the app didn't launch for Apple TV, Amazon did debut a standalone Prime Video streaming service for $8.99 a month, allowing users to subscribe to the service without signing up for the annual $99 Amazon Prime bundle, which includes free shipping from the company's retail store, unlimited streaming music and more.

Amazon Prime Video for iOS is available in the App Store for free and accessible by Amazon Prime members. The service is also available on Android, Fire OS, Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Wii U, the web and select TVs and Blu-ray players from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Vizio.
In an effort to further improve app discoverability, Apple recently implemented a change to the way Top Charts work on the Apple TV. When viewing the Top Paid, Free, and Grossing Charts in the tvOS App Store, Apple TV users no longer see entries for apps they've already downloaded and installed on their set-top box.

Individualized, custom Top Chart rankings are now available for all Apple TV users, allowing them to see a dynamic list that changes with each app they download. This behavior is exclusive to the Apple TV App Store and is not reflective of how Top Charts work for iOS devices and Macs.

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App developer Equinux noticed the change last week, after discovering one of their popular apps was no longer listed in the Top Charts. Equinux thought the app had fallen from the charts at first, before noticing it was simply hidden on Apple TV devices where it was already installed.
In turns out, Apple now hides an app in the charts once you've installed it. Give it a try: Go install TV Pro Mediathek (VOD for German TV content) from the App Store (currently #3 Top Grossing in Germany) and then go back in to the App Store: boom - it's gone from the charts and the next-placed app has moved up.

This tvOS top charts algorithm change even affects featured apps on the start page: TV Pro Mediathek no longer shows up in its featured slot on the start page of the German App Store once you've installed it.

Apple's intention with the change is presumably to make the charts appear 'fresher' and users see more apps that they haven't installed yet.
When the Apple TV first launched in October, app discovery was a major issue. Apple has since made an effort to make it easier for Apple TV users to find apps through the implementation of app categories, Top Charts, and web previews.

Since late 2015, Apple's App Stores have been under the control of Phil Schiller, who took over from Eddy Cue. Schiller now oversees the app ecosystem across iOS devices, Macs, the Apple TV, and the Apple Watch, while Cue focuses on other software and services. Under Schiller's leadership, Apple has improved search algorithms and sped up app review times.