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tvOS 17’s additional column of icons is its most helpful new characteristic in years Categorical Instances

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Take into account this a mini-review: Apple is releasing tvOS 17 at this time, and the replace might be probably the most helpful one which Apple has launched for the reason that very early days of tvOS in 2015.

(Ars Technica might earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this submit via affiliate packages.)

Why? Not due to some stunningly modern new characteristic or an incredible app that tames the tangle of competing streaming companies. It is as a result of Apple added an additional column of app icons. There are actually six icons in a row as a substitute of 5. Revolutionary.

That most likely comes throughout as extra sarcastic or reducing than poor tvOS deserves. It is genuinely good to have that additional column of icons, significantly within the high row the place apps can use the carousel that consumes the highest half of the Apple TV’s residence display screen.

I additionally like tvOS! It is extra visually interesting and fewer ad-prone than the Roku interface, and the TV app continues to be most likely the perfect try anybody has made to collect exhibits from a number of TV apps into one place (even when it is spoiled by some content material suppliers’ refusal to play ball). Apple would not make one other fashionable working system that also runs on issues made in 2015, however the 1080p 4th-generation Apple TV continues to be trundling together with its iPhone 6-era Apple A8 processor. I am nonetheless utilizing the first-generation Apple TV 4K from 2017, and other than changing the dangerous previous distant with the considerably superior new one, I’ve felt zero want or need to interchange it.

However the truth that I’ve seen a 20 p.c improve in icon density, greater than some other characteristic Apple has launched within the final 5 – 6 years, says one thing about how far Apple has lowered its ambitions for this third leg of the Apple TV’s journey.

Even the opposite noteworthy, non-icon-based enhancements in tvOS 17 emphasize its existence as an appendage inside Apple’s ecosystem. The 4K fashions now help FaceTime, however solely with a suitable iPhone or iPad paired (the Apple TV would not have the port you’d want for a USB webcam, even in case you needed so as to add one). And your telephone can now residence in on a misplaced distant along with your telephone, quite than digging frantically via the sofa cushions. Apple’s plans for the Apple TV was once greater than this.

“The way forward for TV is apps”

Enlarge / The Apple TV has a ton of apps—they’re simply all for streaming video and audio, as a result of that is all that most individuals do with their Apple TVs.

Andrew Cunningham

“The way forward for TV is apps,” enthused Apple CEO Tim Cook dinner in 2015 when the corporate introduced that it could be relaunching the Apple TV as a full-fledged platform full with App Retailer. The previous-generation Apple TV had already used the identical chips Apple was delivery in iPhones and iPads, however the brand new Apple TV and tvOS would leverage the facility of an A8 chip plus the iPhone’s robust third-party app ecosystem to transcend mere video streaming.

Cook dinner and Apple companies chief Eddy Cue went via a litany of various kinds of apps throughout that unveiling: there could be console high quality 3D video games, together with a brand new Guitar Hero title; health apps, comedian guide apps, actual property apps like Airbnb and Zillow, and buying apps like Gilt all joined a well-known litany of TV and sports activities apps.

Most of those apps and app classes nonetheless exist on Apple TV at this time (aside from Gilt, Gilt is gone). And the well being of the video games ecosystem and the apps on the App Retailer’s high charts counsel I am not alone in that.

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