Apple today unveiled tvOS 15 for Apple TV. The next major update will feature Spatial Audio with AirPods, HomePod mini integration, lossless audio support, new screen savers, SharePlay, and more.
tvOS 15 audio improvements
After adding support for 'Spatial Audio' on iOS, Apple will bring it to Apple TV with tvOS 15. The company said that it will work with "dynamic head tracking" on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. It also requires that the streaming app supports it.
- "Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings theater-like sound that surrounds you from the movie or video you're watching, so that it seems as if the sound is coming from all around you. The sound field stays mapped to the device, and the voice stays with the actor or action on screen," the company said at launch.
With tvOS 15 users will get an automatic onscreen notification to connect AirPods when near Apple TV.
Spatial Audio coming to Apple TV with tvOS 15
Apple confirmed that Dolby Atmos music will launch today. It will be supported on Apple TV 4K (1st and 2nd gen) when connected to headphones. It will also work on HomePod as well as Apple TV 4K connected to a compatible Dolby Atmos speaker system. It requires tvOS 14.6.
Also read: First listen: Spatial Audio for movies & Dolby Atmos music on Apple TV 4K
Lossless audio support is supported now on Apple TVs running tvOS 14.6. It will come later this year to HomePod.
It is already possible to select HomePod as the default speakers for Apple TV and later this year it will be possible to pair HomePod mini to Apple TV. HomePod mini will launch in Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, and Italy.
Apple's new features for the home including Apple TV
Other new features
The Apple TV app will get a new 'Share with you' row where you will see recommendations and suggestions from friends as well as a new 'For all of you' row with movie and serie suggestions that take into account all of the users' preferences.
The company highlighted that will also be able to ask Siri on HomePod mini to play something on Apple TV without any remote interaction. The feature is coming "later this year".
In addition, the update will bring new screen savers to Apple TV although the company did not details which type of screen savers users can look forward to.
It will be possible to "let people use Face ID or Touch ID on their iPhone or iPad to authorize purchases and sign in" to tvOS apps. You will also be able to enable or disable notifications on an app-by-app basis.
There are HomeKit enhancements to let users view multiple cameras around the house at the same time on Apple TV.
A new SharePlay feature in iOS / tvOS 15 will let you watch a movie together with friends or family via a FaceTime group call, and video can be displayed on Apple TV. It will work with Apple TV+ as well as third-party services like Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+ and Twitch. Disney+ already offers 'GroupWatch' so it is unclear how the two will interconnect.
tvOS 15 will be made available this fall on Apple TV HD, Apple TV 4K (2017) and Apple TV 4K (2021).
SharePlay is Apple's version of group watching, powered by FaceTime