tvOS 12, which Apple announced at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), finally brings Dolby Atmos to Apple TV. Unfortunately, the update doesn’t change one of the most annoying things about the software, namely Apple’s decision to have both a TV app and Home screen on the platform.
After nearly two years of coexisting, it’s time for the Apple TV Home screen and TV app to merge and become one great app.
TV app versus Home screen
First introduced in 2016, Apple’s TV app for iOS devices and Apple TV is where you can browse content from over 60 video services, depending on your location. It’s also where you can find movies and TV shows, handpicked recommendations, live sports, news, and more.
The future …
As we have already explained, Apple is likely to introduce some sort of over the top (OTT) video subscription service as early as next year. Because of this, the importance of the TV app is likely to grow in the coming years as more content is added.
And then there’s the Apple TV Home screen.
Almost certainly designed to look just like the one found on iOS, the Home screen is where you’ll see links to all the apps and games installed on your Apple TV, including a link to the TV app.
… The past
Before 2016, the Home screen was front and center on the video streaming device. Once the TV app arrived, however, things changed. By default, the Home/TV button on the Siri remote for Apple TV goes to the TV app, although this setting can be adjusted to the Home screen.
When the TV app first launched, it didn’t support many video streaming apps. At least in the United States, it now does, although Netflix remains a critical holdout.
This increased integration should be reason enough to make this the Apple’s TV default app. Unfortunately, because the app doesn’t offer links to games and other apps, it’s usefulness remains limited.
A Home screen with rows of apps might still work on iPhone and iPad, but something needs to change on Apple TV. On a future tvOS version, I hope Apple merges the TV app with the Home screen.
In its present form, the TV app on Apple TV includes sections on television shows, plus movies, sports, and news. There’s also an iTunes Store and areas where you can find other content from supported channels and networks.
Wouldn’t it make sense for the TV app to also include a gaming section? How about a section dedicated to news and weather? With the steady rise of Smart Home apps for Apple TV, shouldn’t they be added here too?
And what about those services like Netflix that don’t support TV app integration? Apple could still include icons for those services on the TV app and finally ditch the Home screen altogether.
What do you think? Should Apple merge the TV app and Home screen on Apple TV or keep them separate? Leave your comments below.