Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 Roundup – tvOS


With these posts I’d like to summarize what was announced at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 2016. The WWDC 2016 conference can be divided into four sections, each section for one of its four operating systems. Where Microsoft took the path of consolidating all operating systems into one operating system, Apple currently has four operating systems for each of the dedicated device types. You can think of it what you want, but the fact is that Apple currently has the operating systems: iOS (iPhone, iPad), tvOS (Apple TV), watchOS (Apple Watch) and OS X renamed to macOS (Mac)

This is part one of probably four about the announcements at WWDC 2016 related to tvOS.


tvOS is the operating system of Apple TV with integrated App Store and voice-based Siri searches. WWDC is positioned to be a developer conference, but I found that the conference is for a large part also about content and new UI capabilities. Of course it is up to the developer to integrate the capabilities but the WWDC show doesn’t show you how (at least in the keynotes, so you might think the keynotes are in fact end user presentations).
That said, Apple announced several new Apps to be arriving on tvOS: Sling, Fox Sports Go, Molotov TV and games such as Minecraft Story Mode and Sketch Party.

Single Sign On Authentication

At WWDC 2016 Apple announced Single Sign On for tvOS. With Single Sign On for tvOS you only need to enter your credentials once without the need to re-enter your credentials every time you access a pay-tv subscription item. So no longer you are required to repeatedly enter your name and secret password whenever you switch between ‘locked’ channels. This feature will also be available for iOS according to Apple at WWDC.

Games that require Controllers

Apple TV now also supports up to four game controllers.

Topic Based Siri Commands

Siri supposedly will now be able to do searches around topics like “Comedies from the 70’s” or “Movies about Soccer”. Also Siri can now help you to jump straight into your live channel with commands like “Watch CNN News” to go directly to channel CNN. Another thing is smart YouTube searches like “search YouTube for funny home videos”

Homekit Commands

Apple TV will also get support for Homekit. The API to control all your Homekit compatible devices independent from what manufacturer the device came.

New iPhone Remote App

This app will allow users to control their content but also to use Siri to control the Apple TV. It can also be used to play games on Apple TV or enter text using the iOS keyboard.

New tvOS APIs

Apple announced a couple of new tvOS APIs and also support for PhotoKit and Homekit. A new API is ReplayKit that enables recording of live broadcasts from your apps.

Other features

New features that arrive at iOS and macOS also will come to tvOS. Among those the new redesigned Apple Music with lyrics. You can now chant along with your fav music on Apple TV as well. Photos will get, just like iOS and macOS, the new feature called Memories that tries to bundle all the topic/location related pictures in one view. Remember that Microsoft already has a feature like that on their OneDrive online albums.

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