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Despite there being no stage time at WWDC, Apple TV’s tvOS 16 is still getting some new features this fall. We walk you through all the changes you can expect to see on your devices.
Gaming seemed like a renewed focus for Apple at WWDC this year. During the macOS portion of the keynote, Apple praised new games coming to the Mac, as well as the all-new Metal 3.
On Apple TV, it had at least a few worthwhile additions. The biggest of these is support for many additional Bluetooth gaming controllers. That’s a bit vague and Apple doesn’t specify all newly supported controllers, but at least it opens the door.
The only set of controllers Apple points to is from Nintendo. Both the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons and the Pro Controller are supported with tvOS 16.
Another change with tvOS 16 is the full support of Matter. Matter is a new unifying smart home standard that allows certified products to work on HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings, among others.
Apple initially supported it in beta with tvOS 15, but it wasn’t available to consumers. The release of Matter is scheduled for this fall and Apple is ready with tvOS 16.
Visually, there’s nothing new with HomeKit or Matter support, but Matter devices will be available to be controlled via the Apple TV and Apple’s Control Center interface.
Compatibility between different devices
Another feature mentioned by Apple that is still a bit vague is improved support for cross-device compatibility. This is how Apple describes it:
Integrate your tvOS app with your iOS, iPadOS, or watchOS app to unlock new experiences on Apple TV.
Apple already uses a version of this at Apple Fitness. For example, it connects to your Apple Watch at the start of a workout. During a WWDC session, Apple went into more detail and gave some examples of how this might work.
Exercise apps can provide more personalized exercise experiences and improved stats by using Apple Watch motion data. Video player apps can contain timelines or real-time companion data on an iPhone or iPad while media is playing. Or developers can create a second screen experience for iPhone while playing games on Apple TV, such as displaying maps.
Other changes and improvements
Other changes are slightly less important. In the TV app, there are new rich video samples for Apple TV+ originals to encourage discovery. Intensity levels now appear on screen during Apple Fitness+ workouts that range from easy, to moderate, to hard, to all-encompassing.
Additional family members are now suggested in the Control Center. below Settings † General there is a new switch for 24 or 12 hour time formats. Accessibility has a new one move text choice.
Finally, Apple has added new SwiftUI elements for developers. New custom button styles and effects can improve the look, feel, and use of third-party apps.
Initially, tvOS 16 boasted support for HDR10+, but in the days following WWDC, these listings were removed. This could indicate the removal of the planned feature or a delay in a future release.
Apple says tvOS 16 supports the following:
- Apple TV fourth generation
- Apple TV HD
- Apple TV 4K
- Apple TV 4K second generation
At this point, tvOS 16 is currently in developer beta. A public beta is expected to be released in July, before full release this fall. Stay informed AppleInsider as we walk through more features for Apple’s upcoming software updates.