- Apple has launched its revamped Apple TV app that includes the ability to subscribe to individual channels, representing a significant leap for the company into digital entertainment.
- The app also brings a slight redesign with deeper personalization.
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Back in March, Apple unveiled its vision for the future of television at a star-studded event that featured everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Steven Spielberg. Now, the first culmination of the company’s revamped TV efforts are coming to light with the launch of its overhauled Apple TV app.
The new app brings a handful of changes, the biggest one being the ability to subscribe to certain channels from directly within the app. Apple’s paid original content service Apple TV Plus, which will feature programming from Winfrey and Spielberg among many other recognizable names, is not available yet but will be accessible from the app when it launches in the Fall.
The new TV app is launching on Monday for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Samsung Smart TVs (all 2019 models and certain 2018 models) through the iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 updates. It will also come to Mac in the fall.
See below for an overview of what’s new.
Apple TV channels
The headlining feature of Apple’s redesigned TV app is the ability to subscribe to individual channels from directly within the app, a move by Apple to become your entertainment hub.
Apple has said its app supports channels such as HBO, Starz, CBS All Access, the Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade, Noggin, and MTV Hits, with more coming in the future.
Apple has designed the interface for each of its channel pages, so the experience should feel consistent with the rest of the Apple TV app interface.
Downloadable content for offline viewing
Content available through Apple TV channels can be downloaded for offline viewing, which gives Apple a key advantage over some other video streaming services.
HBO’s GO and Now apps don’t offer any option to download television shows and movies, for example, which means you can watch “Game of Thrones” without an Internet connection when subscribing to HBO through Apple.
An updated design with more personalization
Apple is giving its TV app a slight redesign that brings some cosmetic upgrades as well as deeper personalization.
The Watch Now section has a new card-style interface that pulls up a page with artwork and additional details when clicking on individual shows. You can also swipe to cycle between titles in this mode without having to exit to the main interface.
Apple is also injecting more personalization into certain sections under the Watch Now tab. Titles listed in the What to Watch row, for example, will be ranked based on your tastes. Apple uses a mix of human and algorithmic curation to tailor content appropriately.
Apple is also making some changes to how it suggests content – while the old version only recommended content you already subscribe to, the new version will surface other programming available in Apple TV channels as well.
There’s also an Up Next section that displays the TV shows and movies you’re currently watching so that you can pick up from where you left off across devices. iTunes content you’ve previously purchased will be available in the Library section of the TV app as well.
A new Kids tab
Apple is also adding a dedicated “Kids” tab to the Apple TV app. This section includes handpicked programming suitable for children that’s chosen by Apple’s editors, not an algorithm. Apple also says up to six family members can share channel subscriptions through Family Sharing.