tvOS feature wishlist
We now know what new features are coming in tvOS 11, but we can think of a few that are missing that we'd still like to see in the next update.
Online App Store
It's a small thing, but there's currently no easy way to check whether an app is available on the Apple TV, other than by looking on the App Store on the Apple TV itself.
The Apple TV is odd in this respect. You can search for iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch apps in iTunes on any Mac or PC, or through a browser - you don't need to search for them on the device itself (although, with the obvious exception of the watch, you can do so if you prefer). And while Mac apps are normally viewed through the Mac App Store app, it's also possible to browse the Mac App Store through a browser if you happen to be stranded temporarily on a Windows PC.
Admittedly most people now download apps directly to the device they'll be running on - the days of downloading an app to a Mac and then syncing it to an iPhone are gone, essentially - so a lot of app browsing will take place there too.
But what if you want to check through the latest Apple TV games in a break from work, or on your commute? What if you want to send a friend a direct link to a recommended app's page on the store? What if you're a hard-working games journalist who wants to offer readers a direct link?
Better App Store categorisation
Talking of the App Store, better categories and sub-categories would make it a lot easier to find the apps we're looking for. You can look at games, for instance, but you don't then get an option to look at shooting games, or RPGs, or puzzle games, or whatever. The
(There's a workaround: activate Siri and tell it search for roleplaying games. But this doesn't produce terrible reliable results.)
There are significant changes coming to the App Store on iOS which include these features, so we hope it makes an appearance on the Apple TV too.
Self-explanatory, this one. Apple TV doesn't support Chromecast - and we suspect never will - but we'd really love if it did.
3D Touch - or something approaching it
We love the remote that comes with the fourth-gen Apple TV, but it could do even more.
What we really want is 3D Touch, allowing app makers to build in shortcuts from the home screen: go straight to App Store search, for instance, or to select a TV channel within a streaming app with on tap. But 3D Touch would required a hardware upgrade to the remote.
As a stopgap compromise, perhaps app icon shortcuts could be enabled via long presses - the icon reshuffle function which is presently activated by long-pressing could be listed as the bottom option in the shortcut menu that pops up, if you've got this feature enabled - or double taps.
The Apple TV's screensaver are lovely, but a bit confusing and restrictive. Go into screensaver settings and you get the option to download screensaver videos weekly, monthly or whatever (these take up 600MB each, so be cautious); what you don't get to do is select which video to download, or which of the videos you've downloaded to select as your screensaver (or put into a random shuffle).
If you want more control of the screensaver you can choose your own pictures, but we'd like to be able to carry on using Apple's lovely screensavers - with just a modicum more control.