How the Apple TV could be a better product

How the Apple TV could be a better product

During the last edition of the WWDC that Apple held at the Apple Park in California, we saw plenty of news related to the new versions of the operating systems that are yet to come, see iOS 16, iPadOS 16 or macOS 13 Ventura.

However, nothing or little was said during the two hours that the key note opening of the event, about tvOS and the plans that the company has for its current Apple TV devices.

Now we know that the biggest changes coming to tvOS 16 this fall are modest improvements to the user profile, exercise tracking that is displayed on the screen associated with the Fitness+ subscription and a way for iPhone apps to display related information on the TV.

For all current users of AppleTV 4K, as is my case, this seems like bad news, since for the hardware that the device has inside, it is clear that Apple is not getting the most out of the product.

Next, we wanted to tell you everything we would like to see Apple implement on its Apple TV through tvOS, once the company takes the product much more seriously.

Apps in the App TV Store

Today, the Apple TV 4K comes with two home screens. By default, clicking the home button takes you to the Apple TV app, which includes a row of movies and shows followed by suggestions on what to watch next.

Clicking the home button a second time takes you to a more traditional app grid, where you can launch apps for streaming services individually.

This somewhat bifurcated approach can be confusing, which is why Apple should also include an app launcher in the TV app. A single queue for your favorite apps would also help to clarify the interface.

I’m not saying the app grid should go away, and I’m not saying the TV app should be skipped altogether, but Apple TV should make it clear that the TV app is the best place to start using the device.

A more accurate content grid

The Apple TV app has a section for live and upcoming sporting events, but sometimes you just want to see what’s on your favorite channel (news, sports, or other) without launching the app first.

To that end, Apple should take note of the Google TV and Fire TV page when it comes to offering a live TV guide on your home screen, allowing you to preview what’s on on services like Sling. TV, Hulu + Live TV or Fubo TV.

Apple TV content grid

The Apple TV 4K is such a fast and powerful streaming digital player that it could have the best lineup of content that is about to happen, with greater responsiveness when it comes to the user being able to inform and consult each event.

Enable the ‘Picture in picture’ option

The ‘Picture-in-picture’ option is one of Apple TV’s biggest differentiators, allowing you to display videos or playbacks in a thumbnail view, while you can browse other videos or simply play games in a different app.

So why isn’t Apple building the future on this? In addition to the picture-in-picture option, Apple could offer Split View, similar to what’s available on the iPad, or it could allow users to save their favorite apps for quicker access.

Apple TV picture-in-picture

Even better, it occurs to me that Apple could allow users to start picture-in-picture modes with the commands of siri voicebuilding on what is already a powerful voice assistant for mobile and TV.

Simultaneous audio on speakers and headphones

The Apple TV audio source selector should allow us to choose between the possibility of using headphones or speakers and driving them simultaneously.

And it is that the Apple TV already has an excellent interface to route the audio from the TV to Bluetooth headphones, AirPods Y air play speakers external. You can even select multiple AirPlay-enabled speakers to play audio simultaneously.

However, if you try to play the audio from the speakers and headphones at the same time, it just won’t work. I suspect that people who are hard of hearing would love this ability to turn up the volume as needed.

Apple is in the best position to make this happen, as it has control of the Apple TV device, as well as being able to handle the capabilities of its playback devices, aided by the H1 smart chip or the like.

Netflix on ‘play next’

The absence of the video platform in streaming Netflix in the Apple TV application is still a big nuisance for most users who have an account for this service.

If you want to see what’s on Netflix or even resume a show you’re already watching, you should always go back to Apple’s grid guide to launch the actual Netflix app without its contents being able to be indexed.

Apple TV Netflix content

This is probably Netflix’s fault, as other universal guides also have limits on showing Netflix content. But yes google tv can still include Netflix content in its content lineup, Apple TV should be able to do the same.

maybe next year

The new version of tvOS 16 it is not devoid of useful features, as it has acquired a whole set of functions from previous versions. Specifically, applications will be able to take advantage of Apple TV’s support for user profiles, which will allow them to automatically log in to a specific user.

HDR10+ support is also a new addition that now comes in handy for compatible TVs, along with more interaction between iPhones and Apple TV that could lead to some interesting use cases.

Apple TV improvements in tvOS 16

However, none of these features help with the foundations we have laid out that would allow the AppleTV be a better product at the level of user experience and inclusion. We can only hope that tvOS 17 is able to do better.

If you are thinking of renewing your Apple TV take a look at our Apple TV buying guide: Which one should you buy?

Article made by Jared Newman and published in TechHiveFoundry publication.