tvOS 12 for Apple TV 4 and 4K was announced at WWDC 2018. The new software update will ship with a number of new features like Dolby Atmos, Zero sign-on, new aerial screensavers, third-party control support and password autofill. tvOS 12 is currently available as a developer and public beta, while the final release will be available this fall.
New features in tvOS 12
Apple has introduced single sign-on for Apple TV and iOS users with tvOS 11 and iOS 11 respectively. This feature let users sign-in once in Settings, using their TV provider account, and get instant access to all supported video apps in their subscription. This is a really convenient feature, specially on Apple TV. With tvOS 12, Apple is going a step further and adding zero sign-on to the mix. This feature will automatically detect the user’s broadband network and sign them in to all compatible video apps in their subscriptions, without the need of entering any credentials. This feature will be introduced this year with Charter, the second largest cable service in US.
Interactive Aerial Screensavers
Apple has partnered with International Space Station National Lab and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to bring new space screensavers to Apple TV, in 4K resolution. Aerial screensavers will now be interactive and allow users to access location information and swipe between different scenes.
Apple TV already had support for 4K HDR and Dolby Vision, along with a strong library in iTunes to back it up. With tvOS 12, Dolby Atmos audio will also be supported. Users who have already purchased movies from iTunes will get free upgrades to Dolby Atmos in their libraries, this fall.
Users can now utilize Keychain on their iPhone and iPad to autofill passwords on Apple TV. Finally!
Apple TV Remote in iOS 12 Control Center
For Apple TV users, the Remote app icon will automatically appear in iOS 12 Control Center for easy access.
Home Control Systems
While Apple TV already had support for third party remotes (you can already control Apple TV with your TV remote), with tvOS 12, home control systems will be supported. Users with Control4, Crestron and Savant and others will be able to use Siri from their control systems.
While Apple TV is not the most popular media device around, as it has to compete with the likes of Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku, it definitely is the most versatile and functional option out of all. For people hooked into the Apple ecosystem, there is no better alternative to Apple TV and with tvOS 12, Apple is further improving the experience. Unfortunately, Apple did not announce expansion of Siri or other region locked features, which is a let-down. Siri is one of the best selling points of Apple TV 4/4k but it’s only available in 13 countries. The TV app, which is also really good, is only available in 10 countries. Hopefully, Apple will roll-out these features to more countries soon.