Apple has been pushing apps on the Apple TV of late, with the company claiming that the future of television is in apps, a claim that will likely prove to be true.
One of the latest of these apps is a long-awaited release of Pandora Radio to tvOS. The app for the streaming service bypasses the normal Pandora interface in favor of a grid-based layout that is a little more consistent with tvOS. The interface includes a menu bar that enables users to easily switch between Now Playing, My Stations, Create Station, and Account.
Because of the larger screen, album art is also a lot more prominent for the Pandora tvOS, especially in that grid view. As far as the Now Playing screen goes, users will have access to options like voting on a song or skipping it, as well as things like track information.
Pandora itself has established itself as one of the most popular streaming services globally, and is the most popular in the U.S. It also recently acquired Rdio, which will likely help the service launch on-demand music streaming on top of the radio service that it currently offers.
Pandora itself can now be found on all of Apple’s platforms, recently being released to CarPlay and also developing an Apple Watch watchOS app.
The Apple TV has had a pretty big week this week. Apart from new apps, the device got an update to its operating system, bringing tvOS to version 9.1. This update was a pretty major one, including support for Siri on the Apple TV. Basically, users are now able to use Siri to do things like search for content and ask for information about that content.
The new update also includes a number of bug fixes, as well as improves features for networking and scrolling in the operating system.
While these new features are great, however, unfortunately the new operating system on the fourth generation of the Apple TV still doesn’t offer support for Bluetooth keyboards, a feature that was present on the third generation of the device, and something that many prefer to use over having to use voice control or point and click on a keyboard.
Typing has been one of the more frequent complaints when it comes to the fourth-gen Apple TV. This is because of the fact that the tvOS onscreen keyboard is shown in two rows, meaning that users have to scroll back and forth repeatedly if they’re using the Siri remote to point and click. This is especially frustrating considering the fact that voice commands don’t always work on the device, especially when entering things like a password.
Thankfully, users can use the iOS Remote app, enabling them to type commands on their iPhone. One feature that Apple is planning on adding to the app is the ability to use Siri on the iPhone to play things on the TV.
In other Apple TV-related news, it seems as though talks between Apple and TV content creators have fallen through, and Apple will not, at least for the moment, be offering a TV subscription service. The reason for the falling through of these talks is the fact that Apple reportedly wanted to offer a “skinny” service that offers only core TV channels and was under $30 per month, and while it seems as though TV networks didn’t have a problem with the idea in theory, networks all wanted their channels to be a part of the service.
A subscription service from Apple could be key to Apple revolutionizing the TV industry the same way that it did the music industry. TV companies, however, are resistant to this, especially considering the changes that the music industry has gone through over the past decade or so, with many now suggesting that the music industry is in serious trouble.
Still, it’s disappointing news for Apple TV users that might be looking for a new way to watch and experience TV, and who might want a more comprehensive and personalized TV streaming service. Currently, when it comes to Apple TV, it looks like users will have to keep subscribing to separate TV services through their respective apps. Hopefully 2016 will bring about some change in that.