Apple Unveils ‘TV’ App

Apple will soon launch a new “TV” app for the Apple TV, iPhone and iPad that aims to provide “unified” access to the TV shows and movies that are offered via the various individual video apps that a user has installed on those devices.

The TV app, Apple CEO Tim Cook promised, will change how consumers watch TV across those devices because they won’t need to toggle between those individual apps.

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The TV app’s “Watch Now” component takes viewers straight into the app tied to a show or movie (or acquired via iTunes) and automatically starts the video stream, and, when a viewer pauses, a program, enables them to pick up where they left off on another compatible Apple device.

The TV app’s “Up Next” feature presents shows and movies they are most likely to watch first. When a viewer finishes an episode, for example, the next one in a series will automatically appear in the up Next queue. The new app also includes recommendations, including programs picked by Apple’s own curators, and “Library” view that shows the movies and TV shows rented or bought on iTunes.

While Hulu, Showtime, HBO, and Starz are among the apps that appear to be supported by Apple’s TV app, per today’s demo, content from Netflix is not supported, at least not yet, Recode reported on Wednesday.

This apparent lack of support for all video apps was not lost on those who were streaming the Apple event: 

"There's really no reason for anyone to watch TV anywhere else" unless you're outside the US, or watch Netflix or Amazon Prime #appleevent

— Joe Cox (@JosephCox) October 27, 2016

Apple is also adding a click-to-install component that will automatically download a specific app to all the user’s Apple devices, and supports a new single sign-on feature that aims to reduce the friction of toggling between pay TV/TV Everywhere apps. Starting in December, this capability will be extended to DirecTV and Dish Network subscribers, Apple said.

RELATED; Adobe, Synacor Back Apple’s Single Sign-On Effort

Cook said the TV app will be offered for free with a software update for tvOS and iOS starting in the U.S. by the end of the year.  Cook noted that Apple TV currently supports more than 8,000 apps, including 1,600 video apps.

Earlier, Twitter demonstrated a new version of its app that more tightly integrates the social networking platform with the Apple TV. By way of example, Twitter showed its app streaming a Thursday Night Football game alongside Twitter conversation that is tied to the live matchup. Tweets on the platform also include video replays and Periscope feeds from different vantage-points from the game.

More to come…