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Apple tvOS 13: New home screen, support for Xbox & PlayStation controllers

03 Jun 2019 | Rasmus Larsen |

The tvOS operating system for Apple TV will gain support for Xbox and PlayStation controllers to coincide with the launch of the company's game service Apple Arcade. tvOS will also get a revamped home screen, multi-user support, 4K HDR underwater screensavers, and more.

New features for Apple TV

At WWDC 2019, Apple kicked off the show by debuting a trailer for a new show called For All Mankind. The upcoming TV show will be available on the Apple TV+ streaming service.

Apple TV+ will launch this fall together with the game service Apple Arcade, and it would appear that everything is timed to coincide with the release of iOS and tvOS 13. The integration of hardware, software and services was one of the main themes at this year's WWDC.

- "tvOS powers the Apple TV 4K experience and continues to set the standard for home entertainment," said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. "With more personalized features to enjoy your favorite TV shows, movies, photos and music, expanded gaming support and stunning new screen savers, tvOS 13 delivers the most complete entertainment experience to everyone in the home."

The Apple TV 4K hardware was not refreshed at WWDC but the company did show off a number of new software features. Apple Arcade users will, besides MFI game controllers, be able to pair a PlayStation DualShock or Xbox Wireless Controller wirelessly to Apple TV. Apple Arcade will work on Apple TV, iOS and Mac and include over 100 new games at launch.

AWWDC 2019

The most noticeable change, however, will probably be the revamped home screen that puts content front and center. Apple briefly demonstrated how trailers seemingly auto-play when users hover over them.

AWWDC 2019

A more personal TV experience

Another new major feature in tvOS is multi-user functionality that allows family members to change user from a revamped control center that appears to slide in from the side of the screen.

By changing user, you can get personalized recommendations for new content. At WWDC, Apple demonstrated how it ties in with the Apple Music and TV apps. All users will get their own personal 'Up Next' queue.

AWWDC 2019

The company also highlighted a new scrolling lyric feature for Apple Music on Apple TV.

Lastly, Apple said that it has partnered with BBC Natural History to bring underwater screensavers to Apple TV in 4K HDR quality.

AWWDC 2019

Apple will release tvOS 13 this fall as a free software update. It will be available for Apple TV HD (née Apple TV) and Apple TV 4K.

Apple tvOS 13 - highlighted features

New Home screen. Apple TV 4K is even more engaging with a new Home screen designed for discovery. Apps can now play full-screen video previews on the Home screen, so users can quickly enjoy great new TV shows, movies, music and games.

Multi-user support. The new Apple TV Control Center makes it easy to switch between family members so everyone gets their own personalized entertainment experience. Users see their unique Up Next list and receive TV and movie recommendations based on their tastes. The new Control Center also provides users with quick access to key Apple TV features, including system sleep and audio routing.

Apple Music. Apple Music on tvOS 13 takes advantage of multi-user support, so everyone at home can easily play their personalized playlists and recommendations. In the new Control Center, users can quickly access the song that is currently playing. In addition, users can now follow along to onscreen lyrics timed in sync with their favorite songs.

Apple Arcade. This fall, Apple Arcade comes to Apple TV 4K. With a single subscription, a family of six will have unlimited access to over 100 new and exclusive games, all with no ads or additional purchases, and many will offer support for game controllers. Customers will be able to play Apple Arcade games across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV.

Xbox and PlayStation game controllers. tvOS 13 adds support for the best and most popular game controllers in the world, Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4, making it even easier for gamers to take advantage of Apple Arcade and other great games on the App Store.

New screen savers. Apple is expanding the stunning collection of 4K HDR screen savers available on Apple TV 4K by taking viewers under the sea. Filmed in collaboration with the BBC Natural History Unit, the team behind “Blue Planet,” these immersive videos captured from the depths of oceans around the world showcase mesmerizing creatures and scenes.

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