Top 3 New Features from Apple's Big tvOS 9.2 Update for the Apple TV

Top 3 New Features from Apple's Big tvOS 9.2 Update for the Apple TV

Apple released a big update to the Apple TV tvOS operating system Monday, introducing long-awaited features such as Siri dictation for password entry, the ability to create app folders, Bluetooth enhancements and more. Here are the top three features I believe Apple TV users will appreciate most.

1. Siri Dictation

By far the number one complaint of the tvOS platform since it’s introduction last fall has been the laborious experience associated with using the remote control's trackpad for password entry on the Apple TV. As of tvOS version 9.2 however, users can finally take advantage of the Siri Remote to enter passwords via voice command. It works like this: Whenever your Apple TV is at a password prompt screen, you can opt to hold the Siri button on the remote and dictate your log-in information, generally one character at a time. Although Siri currently won’t attempt to spell names, she will accept and input generic email-centric words such as “at” (the @ sign in an email address), “dot com”, “dot net” etc..

tvOS password screen
Password entry dictation screen for tvOS 9.2


2. Additional App Categories, Searchable via Siri

Another shortcoming for the new Apple TV has been the lack of categories on the tvOS App Store. Whereas iOS users can freely explore specific categories of interest such as Music, Utilities, Travel, etc., tvOS has been limited to much broader categories, making it difficult for users to explore for new apps beyond whichever ones Apple chooses to feature in-store. With 9.2, Apple has not only enabled App Store search using the Siri Remote, but has also enabled additional app categories so that users can perform more refined searches when looking for new and interesting apps to download. For example, to search for apps available under the “Utilities” category, you simply hold the Siri button down on the remote and say “Show me utility apps.” And while it would of course be optimal for Apple to also enable these additional categories directly on the tvOS Category page itself, the improved Siri search is an important step forward in the right direction for app discovery on the tvOS App Store.

tvOS App Store dictation
Use the Siri Remote to search for apps in a specific category.
tvOS App Store search results example
Results for App Store search appear in a scrollable panel at the bottom of the screen.


3. App Folders

tvOS 9.2 also enables users to organize their apps with app folders. Folders are created by dragging apps on top of one another, very similar to how you would create app folders on an iPhone or iPad. The procedure goes like this: scroll over an app icon you wish to place in a folder, click on the icon and hold the button down until the app icon begins to jiggle. Once the app begins to jiggle, let go and use the trackpad to position the now-jiggling icon directly on top of another app you wish to group it with. Keep the icon there a moment until a folder is created and then release the trackpad button. tvOS will intuitively name the folder in accordance with the selected app’s category; i.e. a folder containing primarily gaming apps will appropriately be labeled “games.” Note, however, you can change the name of the folder manually at any time; When in a folder, simply swipe towards the top of the screen and an on-screen keyboard will appear from which you can rename the folder. Neat!

tvOS app folders
tvOS now promotes tidy home screens with app folders!


tvOS 9.2 brings additional enhancements to Apple TV, including improved video scrubbing, an updated app switcher, and Bluetooth keyboard support. Users can update to 9.2 by going to Settings/System/Software Updates and clicking “Update Software”.


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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

Reviews Roll In As The New Apple TV Begins Hitting Store Shelves

Reviews Roll In As The New Apple TV Begins Hitting Store Shelves

The new Apple TV is finally here! And as with any new Apple product release, the media diligently prepared a smorgasbord of reviews all prepped and ready for launch day. A summary of some of this week's major reviews, with links:


Nilay Patel from The Verge writes:

“The potential here is massive: this thing is basically a computer under your TV.”



In his lengthy review for The New York Times, Brian X. Chen says:

“It’s that plethora of innovations and apps that leads me to conclude that the upgraded $149 box is now the best TV streaming device you can get for your money.”



And from Jim Dalrymple, writing for The Loop:

“This Apple TV is nothing like you’ve ever seen from Apple in the past. This is the start of something new for Apple, and for us as consumers.”

While this is only a small sampling of the reviews released last week, they all seem to have a common theme; that Apple is on the edge of delivering another paradigm-changing device. However, any 1.0 version product is bound to have minor issues upon first release, and reviewers pull no punches in pointing out potential cons such as content being a little on the thin side (there are currently no categories to search in the Apple TV App Store), or Siri not always being as helpful as she could be (at the moment, you can’t use Siri to search for music or apps, for example). Nevertheless, the general perception is that these shortcomings are almost to be expected in the initial launch of such a radical undertaking that is the new tvOS platform, and the lack of such obvious features is sure to be only temporary.

In summary, most reviews seem to agree that the Apple TV clearly lays the groundwork for a series of moves towards Apple reinventing how we use and interact with the biggest screen in the house!


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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

New Apple TV 'Soft Launch' Underway

New Apple TV 'Soft Launch' Underway

Apple today began taking online orders for the new Apple TV. Curiously, the company is employing a 'soft launch' approach to the initial product rollout, withholding the usual fanfare of official press release, front page announcement or television commercials. The Apple TV webpage remains essentially unchanged from the product announcement well over a month ago, the only difference being a substitution of "coming soon" monikers with the small blue "Buy" button on the top right corner of the product webpage.

With orders scheduled to arrive to customer "later this week", it's anybody's guess as to when or if Apple will hold an official launch party for the new Apple TV. Personally, I suspect the lack of noticeable P.R. is merely the calm before the storm; a coming hurricane of marketing effort, if-you-will, strategically designed to make the new Apple TV THE hot product to buy during the upcoming holiday season. We'll see...

Nevertheless, those in the know can place an order for the new Apple TV right now, with a choice of two configurations; a 32GB model for $149, and a 64GB version for $199.


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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

Apple TV Orders Start Monday, October 26

Apple TV Orders Start Monday, October 26

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed Monday that Apple will begin taking orders for the new Apple TV on Monday, October 26, with units shipping out to buyers by the end of the week. During his on-stage interview at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live conference, Cook says the current TV experience is a "terrible, broken process" that requires uses to find content by "scanning through an age-old guide developed in the 80's".

Apple CEO Tim Cook:

This is the foundation of the future of TV.

As previously reported, the new Apple TV aims to redefine the TV watching experience by introducing a dedicated app store for games and apps, a newly-designed remote control, support for Siri voice commands and more. Pricing for the new Apple TV starts at $149.


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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

CBS Executive Says Network Will Likely Sign Content Deal for Apple TV

CBS Executive Says Network Will Likely Sign Content Deal for Apple TV

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, CBS executive Les Moonves signaled that ongoing talks with Apple regarding content distribution will likely lead to an agreement. Moonves, however, declined to reveal any sort of timetable for an agreement.

Apple is having conversations with everyone about doing their own streaming services,” Moonves said in an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg TV. “We have had those conversations, as have the other networks. Do I think something will happen? Probably, but I do not know when.

Personally, I believe Apple should continue with it’s “build it and they will come” attitude with the new Apple TV and launch their (rumored) streaming service, CBS-be-damned. The tentpole features of games and apps caters towards a younger generation who are unlikely to care whether the old-school TV networks are available or not. And even then, will older Apple TV users really miss the umpteenth variation of the C.S.I. crime series? the mind-numbing reality TV shows? the endless parade of pharmaceutical commercials?!? Maybe, just maybe, the delayed entry of CBS to Apple’s streaming lineup would present a much-needed opportunity for habitual network viewers to “break the cycle,” if-you-will, and discover some of the many alternative channels and forms of entertainment that are (and will soon be) available on the new Apple TV.


speaker check icon
Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!