Apple TV gets an update, more channels, but more anticipated
It would be hard to imagine that the update Apple gave to its Apple TV today is the last we will see in a while. The “hobby” device added two channels for Disney, as well as channels for Vevo, the Weather Channel and Smithsonian. Just in June Apple added HBO Go, WatchESPN and other channels to the Apple TV as more and more the device is getting crowded with apps.
But the Apple TV is still not open to just any third party apps, and it probably won’t be all that soon (though Dan Frommer thinks we are getting closer). First the Apple TV will have to adopt the look of iOS 7 – right now the screen is getting to be a bit of a mess.
The two new icons from Disney are, well, butt ugly. “Elegant” is not the word that comes to mind when looking at the Apple TV now.
The addition of the new channels also brings with it a stationary top set of icons. Now, when the viewer scrolls to the channels on the bottom of their screen five icons remain in place at the top: Movies, TV Shows, Music, Computer and Settings. The protocol doesn’t currently make any sense because one still has to scroll all the way to the top to get to them, but maybe this will change again soon and will signal a different navigation scheme (or maybe Apple just wants to keep their own stores visible).
It has always made sense that the Apple TV would eventually begin to accept third party apps. But now I’m not so sure. The current apps stores are a disorganized mess and developers are complaining more and more that discoverability has all but disappeared. It would behoove Apple to fix that problem before allowing third party apps to crowd up the Apple TV.
On the other hand, the Apple TV could get a major overhaul and the current scheme could become obsolete. That is the thinking, anyways, of Jason Snell at Macworld.
Dominating the family room has always been the dream of the tech giants and the Apple TV remains the leader in the space, though others are still in the game.
Update: Finer Things in Tech has run a timely post on the Apple TV that reminds us that there are ways to hide or rearrange apps on the Apple TV. For instance, one can use parental controls to hide apps.