Having worked on the Apple TV app for a major national sports broadcaster, we’ve been really looking forward to the new Apple TV announcement, and being lucky enough to get our hands on a pre-release device these are some of the things we’re really excited about in the new Apple TV. Here are 5 things we’re playing with:
1. Top Shelf
Until now it was only Apple’s own apps that were allowed to be in the top row. However with the release of tvOS, users will have a choice of what apps they can put into the Top Shelf. What’s more exciting though is that these apps can also control the showcase on top, and allow the user to launch them with only a single tap. As app developers this is huge! It means we have an opportunity to highlight the content form our apps, the what’s new, the what’s live, and be front and center in users lounge room.
2. Native Apple TV Apps
With tvOS, we get a full UI toolkit to build and style apps. It means that every element can be controlled, styled and branded individually, giving designers and developers a brand new playground to create amazing new experiences. We’re now able to create completely new, novel and innovative experiences that will potentially transform the living room!
3. Siri & Remote Microphone
Ever tried entering text in Apple TV? Typing a username, password or performing text search in the last gen Apple TV was a pain! A mic in the remote and Siri integration will go a long way in making this process easier.
4. Remote accelerometer & gyroscope
Is anyone else thinking Wii style games with fitness tracking done by an apple watch while your iPhone records the whole thing! We know you were, and so are we.
5. XML based templates
TVML offers a lot of flexibility for building a video content apps, whereas tvOS is meant for more robust applications that use Swift or Obj-C, TVML allows you to more seamlessly integrate video streams into an Apple TV app, in short, it’ll be much faster to get up and running on the new platform.
What seems to be missing is the ability to launch and control tvOS apps directly from from iPhones, iPads, the Apple Watch or macs. Chromecast, on the other hand, does this. Imagine the types of second screen interactions that we can make if your tv could talk to your phone and vice versa!