Though Apple’s huge OS releases at annually’s Worldwide Builders Convention cowl your entire gamut of the corporate’s platforms, the updates are hardly ever of equal significance. In recent times, the iPhone has gotten many of the consideration, with options that trickle down from there onto the iPad and Mac.
Whereas iPadOS will get some distinctive enhancements, because of its shared iOS code base, it’s usually late to the social gathering in terms of inserting the massive tentpole options from the iPhone — and macOS can lag even farther behind. As an illustration, widgets got here to the iPhone in iOS 14 however didn’t arrive on the iPad till the next 12 months with iPadOS 15 and are solely coming to macOS Sonoma this 12 months. Ditto for the iOS 16 Lock Display enhancements which might be solely now arriving in iPadOS 17.
By comparability, watchOS and tvOS updates for the Apple Watch and Apple TV are sometimes a lot smaller. Nevertheless, this 12 months is an exception for each platforms, with watchOS 10 bringing a complete new design to Apple’s wearable and tvOS 17 sharpening up the Apple TV consumer interface and delivering one important new characteristic we’ve been ready on for years.
FaceTime for Apple TV
Hypothesis about Apple bringing FaceTime to the massive display screen goes again nearly to the very second that Steve Jobs first debuted FaceTime with the iPhone 4 unveiling at WWDC 2010. Sitting in that keynote, I heard a number of folks round me questioning when Apple would carry it to a larger-screen TV platform.
It wasn’t essentially the Apple TV that was in folks’s minds on the time. In any case, Apple hadn’t even launched the smaller second technology of its set-top field at that time. Nevertheless, in these days, the rumor mill had simply began buzzing with the notion that Apple would finally launch a full-fledged TV set. A 12 months later, Jobs’ posthumously-released biography confirmed Apple had been toying with the thought, however after all, we all know it by no means truly occurred.
Whereas a full Apple TV set would have seemingly included FaceTime assist, the largest impediment to bringing it to Apple’s set-top field was the dearth of an built-in digicam. Many advised Apple might have offered a standalone digicam accent for that goal, however that concept at all times appeared like an inelegant answer — and never one thing we might see Apple doing.
As a substitute, Apple solved the digicam drawback in a novel approach final 12 months when it launched Continuity Digital camera in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura. This characteristic permits Mac customers to seamlessly pair their iPhone and use it as a digicam for FaceTime or simply about every other video conferencing app.
Looking back, we must always have seen the following step coming. Utilizing an iPhone as a Mac FaceTime digicam has its makes use of — it provides larger high quality imaging and options like Heart Stage to older Macs — nevertheless it additionally isn’t strictly crucial since most Macs have already got built-in FaceTime cameras.
Nevertheless, Continuity Digital camera turned out to be a proving floor for bringing FaceTime to Apple TV. For probably the most half, the Apple TV is a product focused at Apple followers, so if in case you have an Apple TV in your house, at the very least one member of the family seemingly has an iPhone.
So, with that final lacking piece of the puzzle in place, Apple is popping the important thing on FaceTime for the Apple TV in iOS 17 and tvOS 17 — and it’s already working fairly effectively within the first developer betas for each.
This takes the type of a brand new FaceTime app on the Apple TV that can be utilized to both provoke a brand new FaceTime name instantly utilizing the Siri Distant or switch a call-in-progress from one other gadget.
When first opening the FaceTime app, you’ll be prompted to hyperlink up your iPhone digicam. By default, this may present the Apple ID of the lively consumer profile to make issues as seamless as potential, however you’ll be able to select Different to hyperlink up with and use another person’s iPhone by scanning the QR code that can be proven on the display screen.
In both case, you’ll see a immediate on the iPhone requesting permission to entry Continuity Digital camera.
When you permit it, you’ll be prompted to place the digicam appropriately close to the Apple TV. A preview window can be proven on the display screen to assist with placement, and it’ll proceed robotically when it detects the iPhone is in the proper place. You possibly can skip this step manually if you happen to choose to carry your iPhone some place else.
After that, the FaceTime interface will open, displaying a preview of what your iPhone digicam is seeing, with Heart Stage lively by default to zoom in on any folks detected within the body relatively than staying with a large shot of your entire room.
After that, you’ll be able to place a FaceTime name from the record of latest contacts on the aspect or spotlight the plus button to decide on one other contact. As soon as related, you’ll see the acquainted FaceTime controls on the backside for including extra folks, muting the digicam or mic, ending the decision, or beginning a SharePlay session.
The brand new gesture reactions are additionally absolutely supported right here, after all, so you’ll be able to set off thumbs-up and thumbs-down balloons, confetti, fireworks, and extra by making the suitable hand gestures. You may as well press the House button on the Siri Distant throughout a FaceTime name to return to the House Display and proceed to flick thru the Apple TV interface whereas the decision minimizes to a picture-in-picture (PiP) window.
As with different PiP video, urgent residence once more will shift the main focus to the preview window, the place you’ll be able to entry a “Structure” management to place the FaceTime name right into a split-screen view as a substitute.
The characteristic will work with Continuity Digital camera on any iPhone or iPad working iOS/iPadOS 17, however you’ll want a second-generation 2021 Apple TV 4K or later to deal with it on the set-top field aspect.
A New Management Heart and Different Design Adjustments
The Apple TV can be getting a contemporary coat of paint for some key UI parts in tvOS 17. This most notably applies to the Management Heart, however Apple has additionally decreased the dimensions of the primary menu icons, which now run six to every row relatively than 5.
Urgent and holding on an icon now presents a pop-up menu with Edit, Transfer, and Delete choices, which is a extra intuitive and discoverable approach of organizing your tvOS apps. Beforehand, this might go into edit mode instantly, and also you’d have to hit the Play/Pause button to carry up a full-screen menu to maneuver apps into folders or delete them.
Nevertheless, probably the most important change is within the Management Heart, which has adopted a extra Mac-like design. The time and avatar for the presently lively consumer profile now seem within the top-right nook once you’re on the prime of the house display screen.
You possibly can’t truly navigate up there — as a substitute, Management Heart is introduced up in the identical method as earlier than, by holding down the House button on the Siri Distant.
This presents a pop-up with the usual set of controls, together with a nice shock: Appel has added a Sleep Timer to tvOS 17, with presets for quarter-hour, half-hour, one hour, and two hours.
The opposite controls right here work as you’d count on, and Apple has added shortcuts to take you to the Accessibility and Parental Management settings as effectively. Navigating to the left will carry up House controls, and you may swap to a different household consumer profile by swiping to the proper and highlighting your profile image.
A fourth possibility additionally seems right here when your iPhone or iPad is related in Continuity Digital camera mode, permitting you to disconnect it or swap to utilizing one other gadget for Continuity Digital camera.
Apple has additionally promised to lastly carry Discover My Distant to assist of us find a misplaced Siri Distant. This doesn’t seem like lively within the first beta and certain requires a firmware replace for the Siri Distant to allow it.