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tvOS

Last week at WWDC a new version of tvOS was announced which is set to come out sometime this fall. Apple has been promoting the app experience heavily since the latest Apple TV hit the shelves last fall and many of the upgrades to tvOS make it even easier to enjoy those apps. Here are some of the updates to look forward to in the Fall.

Siri will now specifically look for content in a specific app. You have been able to search content generically using Siri and it automatically does a general search. I will say my one complaint is that it does seem to prefer pulling content from the iTunes store. I was excited to see that you can now specify, for example, Netflix or YouTube when you’re looking for content with Siri. I’ll be excited to see how well Siri will be able to search specific apps for the content that I am looking for. Overall I have found that the Siri function on the Apple TV works extremely well.

App badging is finally coming to Apple TV, but what is it? Those little red dots that appear next to your apps on your iPad or iPhone letting you know there is something is new about the app will now appear next to the app. Additionally automatic app downloads are also going to be available with the new tvOS. When you download a universal app or game on your iPhone or iPad, it will automatically send it to your Apple TV.

Single sign-on is another new feature in the upcoming tvOS. For those with supported cable or satellite providers you’ll now just need to enter your provider’s information once and you’ll have automatic access to any supported apps. Currently you have to enter your information for each individual app you wish to use, so this feature is going to save users a lot of time and allow for faster access to content. As a bonus, this feature will also be available in iOS 10 so you’ll only have to sign on once for each of your devices.

Light or dark will be a new feature to tvOS and one that I admit I think I need to see and use to gain an appreciation for it. Similar to features you can turn on in iBooks and Night Shift in iOS, you’ll be able to set your Apple TV background to light or dark depending on your viewing environment. This will allow you to optimize your view of different apps within Apple TV. This flexibility is great when using my iOS devices but I admit I can’t just yet wrap my head around the advantages when I am watching TV.

HomeKit makes its Apple TV debut in the new tvOS and continues to make it even easier to access and control HomeKit compatible devices like your lights, the temperature in your house or lock the downstairs door before heading off to bed. Other improvements were also announced in Apple Music and in Photos allowing users to access their favorite media in new ways and faster than before.

Now if only fall was here so we can all try this out! OK, I won’t rush summer; it never lasts long enough as it is.

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