Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Releases OS Updates, New TV App

Ryan Christoffel reviewed the TV app for MacStories, and it sounds really terrific:

In its October keynote that announced the TV app, Apple highlighted one new Siri feature for iOS. In a demo, Apple’s presenter used Siri to play a video on an iPad, saying, “Play Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Siri knew exactly which episode was located in TV’s Up Next queue and played it immediately. When you know exactly what you want to watch, Siri can be very useful in bypassing the TV app interface altogether.

A Siri feature the company didn’t demo in October was the digital assistant’s ability to perform complex video searches on iOS. Now any type of search you could make with Siri on the Apple TV can also be done on the iPhone and iPad. So you can say things like, “Show me some great comedies,” or, “Let’s see some Jennifer Lawrence films,” and Siri will get the job done. And just like on the Apple TV, Siri on iOS can also handle follow-up commands to refine searches, such as, “Only the best ones,” “Only the new ones,” or, “Only the ones from the last two years.”

The TV app is debuting only in the U.S.,1 but Siri’s complex video knowledge is available on the Apple TV in plenty more countries. I find it a little odd that this information couldn’t be provided more widely through an update on Apple’s end.

Apple has made the interesting decision to remap the Home button on the Apple TV’s Siri Remote. In previous versions of tvOS, the button with the picture of a television would take you back to the Home screen. That has changed. Now the same button instead takes you directly to Watch Now in the TV app.

The way Christoffel has described the home screen and remote interactions half-answers my questions from when the app was announced: due to its default mapping on the remote, TV effectively becomes the new home screen. Because of that, though, it might be confusing to anyone who watches Netflix, as they’re not yet participating in the TV app.

The TV app and single sign-on capabilities are included with today’s iOS 10.2 update, which also contains a host of additional changes to emoji, new wallpaper for iPhone 7 users — still no new Dynamic wallpapers or Live Photos, though — and lots of bug fixes.

  1. Countries where the TV app isn’t available will continue to see the lowly Videos app on iOS. ↩︎