Apple will redesign its TV app in a step towards consolidating the company’s various video offerings later this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter, part of its efforts to become a bigger player in the streaming world.
The company is preparing a new version of the app for release around December as part of an upcoming tvOS software update, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan is private. The app, which first launched in 2016, aggregates content from iTunes, the Apple TV+ subscription service, live sports networks and third-party offerings like Amazon Prime Video.
As part of the overhaul, the company will discontinue its dedicated apps on the Apple TV set-top box that let users rent and buy movies and shows. It will also remove the movie and TV show sections from the iTunes Store app on iPhones and iPads. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the move.
The idea is to steer more customers towards the main TV app, which sits at the centre of Apple’s expanding video strategy. There, users are able to subscribe to TV+ as well as third-party video services like Starz and Paramount+. The app already lets customers rent and buy programmes, making a separate iTunes option unnecessary.
The Cupertino, California-based company is aiming to become consumers’ go-to hub for streaming content, as well as a bigger supplier of the programming itself. Apple is spending billions on movies and shows, including big-budget films like the just-released Killers of the Flower Moon from director Martin Scorsese. It charges R125/month/month for the TV+ streaming service ($6.99 in the US) and $12.99 monthly for access to Major League Soccer (not available in South Africa).
The revamped app on the Apple TV box will include a new side panel on the left-hand side for navigating between video categories, matching a design aesthetic used by Netflix and other streaming services. In addition to running on Apple’s set-top box, the app is available on smart TVs produced by other companies.
Apple TV upgrade
The tvOS upgrade is one of several software updates in the works at Apple. The company will soon release new iPhone software, iOS 17.1, that fixes bugs and adds features for saving favourite tracks in Apple Music. Apple also is already working on iOS 17.3 and iOS 17.4, for release in 2024. A bigger update, iOS 18, is expected to bring generative AI features to Apple devices later that year.
Apple also announced plans on Tuesday for a product launch on 30 October. That event, dubbed “Scary Fast”, is expected to focus on its Mac computer line-up. — (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP