It’s more evident than ever that Apple has given up on releasing their own streaming TV service. Yesterday they announced a new app, simply called TV, coming to Apple TVs and iOS devices that will list content from multiple streaming services you’re subscribed to in one place. This is identical to the strategy that Amazon has had with the Fire TV interface and Google has had with the Chromecast app. Instead of trying to pull content under Apple’s umbrella, the new app helps you discover content you already have access to from other streaming services.
Nilay Patel said it best, in his first look video of Apple’s TV app, when he said “what it really is is kind of a new home screen.” This new app is what the latest Apple TV home screen should have looked like a year ago when it was first released. At the top of the app is an “Up Next” section which just lists the most recent content you’ve watched. Then below that are different ways of organising the various shows and movies available to you.
Selecting to play anything will jump you into the provider’s app where that content is available, since Apple themselves are not streaming any of the video. Apple has even re-mapped the Home button on the Apple TV remote to take you back to the TV app when pressed, instead of the Apple TV’s actual home screen. It’s surprising the TV app hasn’t just replaced the Apple TV’s home screen, since it even has your library and the video store within it. All it needs is a way to get to your other apps and it would be the prefered home screen for Apple TV.
The most likely reason why the new TV app has not replaced the Apple TV home screen is that Netflix is not onboard. None of Netflix’s content is available within the TV app. It took a while, but Netflix content was finally fully integrated into the Fire TV’s interface last month. I’m sure the same will eventually happen when Apple and Netflix can come to an agreement on terms.