At its WWDC developer conference in San Francisco today, Apple talked about the next version of tvOS, the operating system for the Apple TV.
Apple first launched the iOS-based tvOS just nine months ago, even though the company has sold Apple TVs since 2007. Since the launch Apple has regularly rolled out beta updates of the operating system.
Now the Apple TV remote app is getting enhanced. There will be the Siri virtual assistant, you’ll be able to play games by moving around the iOS device, and you can tap the virtual version of the glass on the real remote, said Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services at Apple.
Siri will be able to search movies by topics.
For U.S. users, there will be a single sign-on feature, which will be coming to iOS too. And there will be a dark mode (at least for today, that’s something that isn’t coming to iOS, unfortunately).
Users will be able to search YouTube for videos. And there will be new apps, like NBA 2K, Minecraft: Story Mode, Sketchparty, Sling, Fox Sports Go, and Molotov.tv. And an enhanced HomeKit integration will let users control connected-home devices from the TV.
And when you’re ready to type something into a search box, the keyboard will pop up onscreen, but one will also appear on nearby iOS devices that are paired to the same iCloud account, according to a statement.
Apple added to the set-top box’s capabilities last year, tacking on Siri and a dedicated app store. But the company stopped short of integrating the system with Internet-connected devices like the Nest thermostat.
With today’s release of tvOS, Siri is becoming much more capable on the Apple TV, lining up with VentureBeat’s report last month about how Apple would be fleshing out the set-top box in order to make it more directly compete with the Echo speaker from Amazon, which packages up the Alexa voice assistant and can work without being attached to a display.
Today Apple said there were more than 6,000 apps available for the Apple TV — up from “more than 5,000” in March.
The developer preview of the next version of tvOS is available today, and it will be rolling out this fall, Cue said.