Apple took the stage today at WWDC, their annual developer conference, and discussed updates coming to their various platforms. Among the keynote was a brief section talking about changes coming to the Apple TV and tvOS. The main points of interest are that the Apple TV 4K is gaining support for Dolby Atmos surround sound and Apple is making activating TV everywhere apps even easier with something called zero sign-on.
Apple has said that support for Dolby Atmos surround sound was coming to their Apple TV 4K for some time, but has never given a specific timeline. Now it looks like it will arrive later this year with the arrival of tvOS 12. When it arrives, the Apple TV 4K will be the first and only streaming device that supports both Dolby Vision, the HDR standard, and Dolby Atmos.
Other streaming devices, such as the Fire TV 3 and Roku Ultra, already support Dolby Atmos, so Apple is playing catchup here. Apple says iTunes Movies will start to offer Dolby Atmos titles this fall and movies that you already own which gain Atmos will get updated for free.
Apple debuted single sign-on, which lets customers sign into most of their cable TV apps all at once, a couple of years ago. It’s a great feature for people with cable subscriptions so it was no surprise to see other streaming box manufacturers, like Amazon, adopt the feature themselves. Now Apple is taking it a step further with what they’re calling zero sign-on.
Zero sign-on will automatically sign the Apple TV into apps if it detects that it is connected to a broadband internet service that also provides cable television. The feature will only work with Charter Spectrum at first, but Apple says other providers will be added over time. So if you subscribe to Spectrum cable and Spectrum Internet, the Apple TV will activate TV everywhere apps automatically if its connected to Spectrum internet.
The partnership between Apple and Charter Spectrum goes a little deeper because Charter Spectrum will also be the first major US cable company to allow its customers to access live channels and on-demand content through the Apple TV. All of these new features are expected to arrive with tvOS 12 later this year.