Apple’s 2018 WWDC is upon us – and as ever Apple has kicked the event off with a keynote speech detailing all the key new features it’s going to be introducing to its various operating systems in the coming months. And as a continuing sign of how relatively seriously Apple seems to be taking its Apple TV ‘hobby’ these days, the brand had plenty to say about the next generation of its tvOS platform.
Here’s a list of all the new features we can expect to see from tvOS 12 when it rolls out in the Fall.
1. Support for Dolby Atmos sound. I’ve covered this in detail in this separate article, so here I’ll just say that Dolby Atmos delivers a much more immersive sound experience than any sound format Apple TV has previously supported. It will be added for free to any films you own in your iTunes library – provided an Atmos mix is available.
2. Multiple new aerial screensavers featuring footage from the International Space Station. Footage shot by NASA astronauts shows stunning views of Earth’s surface miles below. Expect screensaver addiction to suddenly become a thing.
3. As well as delivering new NASA screensavers, tvOS 12 will introduce more control over its aerial screensaver footage. For instance, you’ll be able to see location information, and swipe between the different screensaver sequences.
4. A new ‘zero sign-in’ feature will make the usually tedious process of app authentication about as easy as it can probably ever get. Essentially, Zero Sign-In enables your Apple TV to detect your broadband network and automatically sign you in to all the apps you are entitled to through your subscription package. The first service to support Zero Sign-In has been named as Charter Communications, the USA’s second biggest cable operator.
5. Also coming through the hook up with Charter Communications is a new Spectrum TV app (available for Apple TV 4K, iPhone and iPad) that will provide nearly 50 million households with access to live channels and tens of thousands of on-demand programs – all seamlessly integrated with Siri. In other words, the Apple TV can essentially replace Charter’s own receivers, with added Siri support.
6. With tvOS 12, the Apple TV Remote will be automatically added to Control Center on iPhone or iPad. This will give Apple TV owners faster access to a means of controlling their Apple TV without having to hunt down its dedicated handset.
7. Apple TV will finally start to seriously leverage Apple’s HomeKit technology, enabling it to integrate with home control systems from the likes of Crestron, Control4 and Savant. For instance, if you’re a Crestron customer, the new level of HomeKit/Siri integration will deliver IP control of Apple TV, allowing you to issue voice commands via Crestron’s TSR-310 touchscreen remote control. (Apple’s latest OS will also enable Siri on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Apple HomePod to control Crestron devices in their home; lights, blinds, thermostats and so on.)
8. People with Apple TV 4K and Apple TV 4th Generation boxes will be able to sign in to Apple TV apps more easily by securely ‘AutoFilling’ passwords via their iPhones and iPads.