Apple is trying to make watching television less of a hassle by introducing a one-stop destination app, simply called TV. It will be available to download for free as part of a software update this December.
The company announced the new addition to Apple TV during an event at its Cupertino campus on Thursday, with CEO Tim Cook boasting that it would completely “change how we watch television.” The new guide app brings all of the shows and films from other services available on Apple TV into one browsable location, so that users don’t have to leave the app to go and find another program.
Apple TV designer Jen Folse demonstrated the simplicity of the app on stage. TV viewers can just hit the play button on the Apple TV remote to begin watching something on HBO or Hulu without having to go through a series of menus to find the specific network. The idea is to bring most of the 1,600 video, television and film apps available on the box directly into the new TV app to make browsing less finicky than it’s been in the past.
One of the most popular apps on Apple TV, however, will not be participating. Netflix — which has worked closely before with Apple before, including partnering with the company to enable Siri voice search — will not make its content browsable through the app. Instead, those using Apple TV will have to exit the main TV app and use Netflix’s directly.
Other networks like HBO, Starz and Showtime will all be available through the app and will allow for Siri voice-enabled searching. Once a program or film is selected, the app will automatically redirect viewers to the main app — like HBO Now, for example — and they’ll continue watching the program there.
Siri voice-enabled search was one of the biggest aspects of the app that the company demonstrated during the event. Instead of using the Apple TV remote to search, viewers can just ask Siri to find a specific program or network and the assistant will load it up.
Cook said that Apple had been working hard to bring a unified TV interface to Apple TV users and the new app is the first time that the company has accomplished that.