Apple’s attempt to cut through the confusion of cable television continues, with its new TV app arriving on iPhone, Apple TV, and iPad today. Part of the iOS 10.2 release for iPhone and iPad, as well as tvOS 10.1, the TV app aims to put all of your streaming content – no matter the provider – into a single location.
Apple TV and an iPhone, though, it may very well be worth that wait. Though the TV app does embrace cord-cutters who have done away with traditional cable service, that’s not to say there’s nothing to be gained if you’re still a cable subscriber.
Single sign-on is Apple’s answer to username and password. Assuming the device you sign in on is connected to your iCloud account, any other iOS device using the same Apple ID will also log in.
Once your services are signed in, you can either browse through them or use Siri to search them. The voice assistant can summon results based on TV show name, but also through more esoteric searches. You can ask for sports games which are currently showing, for instance, or even just ask for random suggestions
iTunes TV and Movies sections on the Apple TV, there are also curated categories in the TV app. That includes “Watch Now”, which shows content from across services, and its “Up Next” sub-category, which highlights the next part or episode in whatever you’ve been watching.
Apple even changes the button mapping on the Apple TV’s Siri Remote, so that pressing the home button now takes you to the TV app (you can change it back in the settings, mind).
It’s not quite couch potato nirvana, however. While HBO and Hulu are supported, there are some conspicuous absences from Apple’s unified app, not least Netflix. Amazon Prime Video is another obvious provider which isn’t included.