At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week, Apple unveiled several software updates across its entire ecosystem, including tvOS, the operating system for its Apple TV streaming device.
What seemed to be the biggest news around the Apple TV, however, was the addition of Sling TV, the popular streaming service that lets subscribers stream several top cable networks, including ESPN, from a number of devices. Sling has been available on most of the other streaming boxes up until Monday when it finally came to Apple.
But it’s not just Sling TV (review) that’s making the Apple TV a top device for cord cutters and big-time streamers.
Apple announced powerful new Siri capabilities and a single sign-on feature that’s going to make watching content on the device much easier.
Siri can now do a number of tasks, including:
- Topic search for movies: With the ability to ask Siri for a movie by topic or theme, you have even more ways to find the films you really feel like watching, such as “Show movies about baseball,” “Find documentaries about cars,” or “Find high school comedies from the ’80s.”
- YouTube search: Later this month, users can ask Siri to search YouTube, so you can say “Search YouTube for cute pug videos.”
- Live tune-in: Ask Siri to go directly to a live channel inside a supported app, such as “Watch CBS News” or “Watch ESPN.”
While single sign-on isn’t exactly geared toward cable cutters because it’s designed for pay-TV apps, it’s still helpful for those who may use the device on a TV set that cable or satellite isn’t hooked up to. The new feature allows users to input their pay TV information into the device’s settings. Any Pay TV apps that your cable or satellite provider has a deal with would automatically be available for viewing instead of inputting account information for each individual app.
Apple also announced a slew of other features for Apple TV:
- iOS users can download the new Apple TV Remote app with touch navigation, Siri and game play support.
- Apple Music has an all-new design, bringing greater clarity and simplicity to every aspect of the experience. The Library, For You, Browse and Radio tabs have been completely redesigned to provide an even greater sense of place, and a Search tab has been added to make finding music even easier.
- Photos for Apple TV now supports the new Memories feature, making it easy to rediscover meaningful moments in a user’s photo library and share them on the big screen.
- While users love the bright and fresh Apple TV interface, some may prefer a darker background to fit a home theater environment or darker rooms, so now users can select a dark background for Apple TV.
- Universal apps will now automatically download on Apple TV and show up on the Home screen when an app has been added to a user’s iOS device.
- When a keyboard appears on Apple TV, one will also appear on nearby iOS devices that are logged into the same iCloud account, making entering text even more convenient.