We’re getting a lot of new features, but it’s really all about the content.
Apple today unveiled a ridiculous amount of new stuff at WWDC, its annual developer’s conference. We’ll refer you to iMore for the comprehensive list of what’s new and important.
But we also want to break down what’s coming in the latest version Apple TV software — tvOS 13, as its what most of us here will be interested in.
What is it, and when will I get it?
First things first: tvOS is the software that runs on Apple TV. We’re currently on tvOS 12 — today Apple gave us a preview of tvOS 13. The full release will come later in the fall of 2019.
(Yes, there are developer versions available now. And public betas are coming. But most folks will want to wait.)
Here’s how Apple put it:
The operating system that makes Apple TV 4K the easiest and most personalized entertainment device for enjoying TV shows, movies, music, photos, games and apps on the biggest screen in the home.
So what’s new?
The first thing Apple touts is a new home screen. And it is, sort of. The way you use it really won’t change all that much. You’ve got the grid of app icons. Select one, and you’ll be watching or playing or controlling — pretty much the same as it’s always been.
Things will look a little different, and that’s fine. But they’ll work mostly the same.
Multi-user support is new, and it’s a big deal
OK. Here’s the thing about this. Apple is really trying to push folks into the new Apple TV app, whether it’s on their iPhone or iPad, or on an Apple TV box. And that’s a big deal for reasons of discovery. You’ll get personalized recommendations, be able to pick up on one device where you left off in another — very cool stuff.
But on a device like Apple TV — which will have, say, Mom watching at one time, and the kids watching at another — you don’t necessarily want everyone to get the same recommendations. What I watch will be (and often is) inappropriate for my 8-year-old. That’s where multi-user support comes in.
There’s a new Control Center in Apple TV that’ll let you switch between family members. So kids get their own recommendations, and parents have theirs.
Think about how Netflix has been doing things for a while, really. It’s a good, important feature to have.
All this multi-user stuff really is about getting you the content you want. Not the content someone else wants. And getting you the content you want most certainly will include the exclusive stuff Apple has coming with Apple TV+.
That, folks, is the ballgame. It’s all about getting you closer to paying Apple for those exclusive shows.
Apple Music gets smarter
If you use Apple Music, you’ll have quicker access to what’s playing, and you’ll get on-screen lyrics while the music is blasting. (Amazon has been doing that for a while already, for what it’s worth.)
If you’re not using Apple Music? Well, Apple wants you to.
Apple Arcade cometh
This is another big deal — if you’re into video games. Apple Arcade will be a subscription service (with a single fee for up to six family members) with access to more than 100 games. You’ll be able to play on all of Apple’s devices — including Apple TV.
Makes sense, right? But the cool new thing is that if you have an Apple TV 4K box you’ll be able to use Xbox and PlayStation game controllers with Apple Arcade on Apple TV 4K.
If you don’t have an Apple TV 4K box, you should get one. It’s the best box for streaming video. Period.
Apple TV 4K
Simply the best.
Even if you’re not all-in on the Apple ecosystem, this remains the best streaming box you can buy because of the breadth of features and ease of use.
This is maybe a small thing, but Apple’s screensavers remain remarkable. And we’re getting new ones in tvOS 13.
tvOS 13 features the all-new Apple TV app, which brings together different ways to find and watch TV shows and movies into one powerful app. The Apple TV app offers Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows, including the largest collection of 4K HDR titles to browse, buy or rent. This fall, Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will be available in the Apple TV app. The Apple TV app is also available on other Apple devices and select third-party platforms.