Tag Archive for ‘tvOS’

The New Apple TV 4K ➝

It now comes with the A12 Bionic and is capable of playing back HDR content at 60 frames per second. There’s a nifty new video calibration feature that uses your iPhone’s front-facing sensors. But the biggest change is the new remote.

From a design perspective, it looks like a merger of the Siri Remote and their previous aluminum Apple remote. They’ve added a mute button and power button, moved the Siri button to the side, and introduced new directional controls.

The directional control section is touch enabled to allow for quickly scrolling through lists, has clickable direction buttons for precise movement, and the outer edge can be used like a scroll-wheel for scrubbing.

I’m going to reserve judgement on the remote for now — I need to use one to really have a good idea. But at first glance it seems ugly, yet functional.

It’s worth noting, the new remote will be available for $59 and is compatible with all tvOS-based Apple TVs.

➝ Source: apple.com

tvOS 13.3 Adds Option to Display Up Next Queue in TV App’s Top Shelf Extension ➝

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple redesigned the Apple TV home screen with tvOS 13 allowing for full screen panoramic previews in the Top Shelf area. However, at the same time, it also changed the content of the Top Shelf for the TV app from the user’s personal Up Next queue to ‘What to Watch’, a selection of top television shows and movies chosen by Apple (essentially, a form of advertising).

This naturally caused a lot of complaints from users. Apple appears to have listened. In tvOS 13.3 beta, there is now an option in Settings to change it back.

It’s amazing to me that tvOS 13 shipped without the option to revert the TV app’s top shelf extension behavior. I went the trouble of transitioning away from the TV app because of this — to WatchAid. If I was annoyed enough to move away from the app entirely, I couldn’t have been the only one irritated.

➝ Source: 9to5mac.com

tvOS 13 Beta 2 Brings Picture-in-Picture to Apple TV ➝

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Although strangely not mentioned in Apple’s WWDC keynote, tvOS 13 beta 2 has a nice surprise: support for Picture-in-Picture video playback.

You can now watch shows from the Apple TV app whilst multitasking around the rest of the operating system. Just like the iPad, Apple TV users can leave the video playing in a thumbnail window whilst they navigate the rest of the operating system.

This seems like the sort of feature that Apple should have demoed on stage. It probably would have received a greater response than PlayStation 4 controller support did.

December Home Screens Update

First, on a sort-of programming note, I failed to publish a home screens update in November and am quite a bit late for this month. The future of this series is a bit in flux at the moment. I’d certainly like to continue doing them, but my time has been at a premium lately.

Between my new job — where I’m having a blast — and social engagements around the holidays, I haven’t had much time for writing. While this is something I plan on spending more time on in the new year, I’m not sure what form it will take exactly. My highest priority is to start publishing link posts and feature articles more regularly again while additional projects like the home screens updates are quite a bit lower on my list.

That doesn’t mean that these are going away entirely, I just need to make sure everything else that I have on my plate is going smoothly before I jump back on these sorts of projects. My hope is that this temporary hiatus will be short, but I think it’s also worth considering whether these updates are something that continue to add value to my life and yours. If you have any feedback regarding this — good or bad — I would very much appreciate you dropping a note in my Twitter mentions to share your thoughts.

December 2018

iPhone Home Screen

Notable Changes:

Three changes to my main home screen layout is quite a bit for me, especially when combined with some changes to my second home screen as well. It feels like I have an entirely different iPhone compared to what I was using just a couple months ago.

I’ve installed the meditation and deep breathing application Oak, which bumped Screens to my second home screen. I find myself needing to perform tasks on my Mac far less frequently, so the safety valve of Screens isn’t quite as important as it had been in the past. And the addition of regular meditation and deep breathing into my life has been invaluable as I’ve been adjusting my life around my new job at Automattic.

I’ve only had Oak installed for a week or so, but it’s been great so far. It’s entirely free, well designed, and offers everything you need to get started with meditation and deep breathing. If you’re looking to add this sort of activity to your daily routine, I highly recommend starting with Oak.

After a few years with Bear and Vesper, I’ve reinstalled Simplenote on my iPhone, which bumped Day One to my second home screen. I haven’t carved out as much time in recent months for writing in Day One, but it’s certainly something I’d like to return to. I expect the app will only increase in value the more I use it, so this is something I’d like to invest more time into in the new year.

As for Simplenote, this has become my go-to note-taking app for work. I use it to keep track of the tasks that I do throughout the week, jot down notes during meetings, and store various thoughts and ideas that that I’d like to explore in the future. The app is owned and developed by Automattic so there’s certainly some element of dog-fooding regarding my decision to use it over other options, but I’ve been very happy with it’s interface and feature-set. It was a rock-solid app when it initially launched in the early days of the App Store and that continues to be true today.

The last addition to my first home screen is a Shortcut I’ve created called “Balance”. It’s basically just a launcher for my banking apps, but I absolutely love it. It uses a “Choose from Menu” action to list all of my banking and financial apps and then utilizes the “Open App” action to open the corresponding application. It’s such a simple little Shortcut, but makes my life so much easier.

On my second home screen, I’ve introduced the WordPress app and started using Noizio as my white noise app of choice. I’ve been using the WordPress app to publish entries to a private weblog that I setup as a Christmas wishlist for sharing with my family, which has worked out very well. I’ve received more than one comment about how easy I was to shop for this year and it’s entirely due to setting up this site. But in addition to managing my wishlist site, the app also allows me to keep track of internal communication within Automattic from the Reader tab.

I haven’t spent too much time with Noizio, but my first impressions have been positive. It has a nice clean interface and a great collection of sounds built-in that you can mix to your liking. You can save presets, set timers, and I think the application icon is top-notch.

Apple Watch Faces

Notable Changes:

Every once and a while I tinker a bit more with my Apple Watch faces. Since my last update, I’ve switched my everyday, non-working watch face from the Breathe face to Utility. With the same set of complications — sunrise/sunset, WaterMinder, and Carrot. The biggest change is that this face also allows me to see the current date in the center complication, which I missed in my previous setup.

On my watch face that I use most often — Modular — I’ve swapped Cardiogram for Carrot. This let’s me keep an eye on the weather throughout the work day so I’ll know if it’s warm enough for a walk around the block on my breaks.

My workout watch face — Activity Digital — has remained largely unchanged. I’ve added Cardiogram in place of Overcast because I haven’t found myself using my watch for podcast playback as much as I initially expected. Perhaps this will change when the weather gets a bit warmer this spring, but for now, I’d rather have a quick way to glance at my latest heart rate reading than a shortcut to an application that I rarely launch on this device.

iPad Home Screen

Notable Changes:

Much of the changes I’ve made to my iPad over the past couple of months have been a reflection of what I’ve done on my iPhone. I’ve removed some lesser-used applications like Coda, TV, 1Password, and Files and replaced them with applications that I’ve covered in the iPhone section above — Oak, WordPress, the Balance shortcut, and Simplenote.

I’ve changed the icon associated with my Instagram shortcut, but the underlying actions remain the same — it gives me a home screen icon, which launched the Instagram website within a Safari View Controller. I haven’t been checking the service as frequently as I had in the past, but I imagine there will be plenty of great photographs to browse throughout the holidays this year.

I have moved Terminology back out of my folder and onto the main home screen. This isn’t exactly due to a change in habits, but more of an aspirational change. I’d like to write more frequently in the new year and having more applications on my home screen dedicated to that task might serve as some additional motivation for me.

Apple TV Home Screen

Notable Changes:

I haven’t made any changes to my Apple TV over the past couple of months, but it’s certainly due for some updates. I purchased a Nintendo Switch a little bit ago and since then, I haven’t spent any time playing games on my Apple TV. At some point in the next few weeks I’ll have to reorganize my app icons around that new reality.

I’ve also put my YogaGlo subscription on hold for now. With the new job and all of the social engagements around the holidays, I haven’t had time for working out. I expect I’ll pick it back up sometime in the new year, but until then, I don’t really need that icon to be so prominent on my home screen. And who knows, maybe I’ll try out another yoga app when I get back into it again.

October Home Screens Update

iPad Home Screen

Notable Changes:

Almost nothing has changed with my iPad home Screen over the past month. I’ve spent five weeks or so using my MacBook Air as my primary machine and just haven’t had much time to make adjustments or explore new applications.

The only change that I have made is the introduction of Numbers into my ⌥ folder in place of Pixelmator. I’ve been using Numbers to generate invoices and haven’t used Pixelmator in months. The app is still installed, but it has moved deeper into the ⌥ folder.

iPhone Home Screen

Notable Changes:

Another minor update from last month. On iPhone, I’ve deleted Amaroq and moved Find My Friends out of the ⌘ folder. Mastodon was a neat platform to experiment with and Amaroq was the best app for the job, but the service never gained enough traction for it to be a viable alternative to Twitter. Maybe I’ll revisit it someday, but for now, I don’t have a reason to keep it installed.

With summer vacation coming to an end last month, my wife is back to work teaching. It’s a little difficult to get a hold of her while she’s in the building because of its thick brick walls and rural location — the cellular signal is spotty at best. But Find My Friends is an excellent way for me to see whether or not she’s left for home yet. That way I can be ready to go when she arrives on days when we have plans.

Apple TV Home Screen

Notable Changes:

I’ve moved Fibbage and Scoreboard into my ⌥ folder to make room on my home screen for America’s Test Kitchen and Alto’s Odyssey.

Fibbage is a great game, but when we have friends over, we find ourselves playing Quiplash instead. And Scoreboard might not be the best way to keep track of board or card game scores. Perhaps if we had a large group together playing a game, it would be useful, but pen and paper is easier when it’s just my wife and I.

Alto’s Odyssey has returned because it’s one of the best tvOS games of all time. Obviously. But I’m really excited about the America’s Test Kitchen app. My wife and I fell in love with the show a few years ago when we purchased an over-the-air antenna and started watching it on PBS. It’s a great show.

The America’s Test Kitchen app gives us access to the two most recent seasons of the show and the most recent season of Cook’s Country. It’s completely free and you don’t even need a cable network login to watch. If you enjoy cooking shows, I highly recommend checking it out.

Apple Watch Faces

Notable Changes:

I’ve made some major changes to my Apple Watch Setup since the last update and I’m really digging it. I have three watch faces with the following complications:

Breathe — Everyday Carry:

Modular — Work:

Activity Digital — Workout:

This setup gives me quick access to nearly all of the apps I use on my Watch. I do find myself switching faces often to launch them, but because I only have three faces, I never get lost in the interface. The only other apps I use live in my Watch’s dock — Vekt, PCalc, and 1Password.

Browse the Home Screens Series.

tvOS 12 ➝

tvOS 12 is a fairly light update when compared to iOS 12, watchOS 5, and macOS Mojave, but Cella Lao Rousseau has penned a great overview of what’s coming to the Apple TV for iMore. The most impressive feature is zero sign-on, which will let users with a supported cable subscription use media apps without having to sign in with their account credentials. But since Charter Spectrum is the only cable company that will support this feature at launch, most of us will just have new screen savers to get excited about.

Have Plex Your Way ➝

A great update to Plex’s iOS and Android apps, which adds the ability to customize the app’s home screen, a tab bar for quick navigation, and support for podcasts. I’d love to see the home screen customization make its way to the Apple TV soon. I’ve switched to using Infuse on tvOS simply because it hides libraries that we don’t need access to in our living room — specifically, our photo library and live TV.

‘A Lack Off Consideration for Design’ ➝

A great piece by Nick Heer on Google’s alleged design prowess, written in the wake of YouTube’s new Apple TV app.