Apple TV’s interface has been through more modifications over the past 8 years than other Apple OS — — the uncommon Apple UI that has seen more significant changes than the devices it works on. As unlikely as this may have appeared for a “hobby,” repairing the Apple TV was one of the last topics Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs talked about with biographer Walter Isaacson: “I finally broke it,” Jobs said about an upcoming Apple TELEVISION UI. “It will certainly have the easiest interface you could picture,” obviously indicating that complex remotes would be a distant memory. But after Jobs passed away, the Apple TELEVISION got only a few modest tweaks — — improvements, but modest however — — as Jobs’strange “simplest UI” obviously stayed unused.

As an Apple TV user and fan, I’ve spent years awaiting this week’s introduction of the fourth-generation Apple TELEVISION, as much for improved hardware as the chance to see Jobs’ vision in action. I have actually long presumed that pervasive voice control was the missing link — — Siri was contributed to the iPhone 4S prior to Jobs passed away — — and from every indication, Apple has done a terrific task of structure voice navigation into the new Apple TV’s tvOS os. However did it get the rest of the UI right, or are we in for more years of main menu redesigns? Let’s have a look at exactly what tvOS 1.0 gets right and incorrect…


… 1. The New Main Menu: Cleaner (At A Cost).

We ‘d heard that the brand-new Apple TV was going to get a more thorough iOS 7/8/9-style whitewashing, and that is undoubtedly the case — — soft transparent backgrounds and white area pervade the tvOS UI. However Apple went even further: the soft-cornered icons have ended up being practically boxy, and despite protecting the last Apple TELEVISION OS’s white area in between the icons, Apple has for some factor got rid of text from the grid. Unless you select an app icon, makings it larger, includes a shadow, and makes text briefly appear underneath, the only way you can identify apps without picking them is by whatever’s inside the icon.

Unlike the Apple Watch, where the absence of icon labels is concurrently necessary to the hex-like grid and maddening in creating inscrutably similar little circles, I think the Apple TELEVISION can make this change without frustrating users. As the grid above shows, developers are going to have to adapt to the change, but if icons can be developed going forward with text and logo designs, this might wind up being a net gain for tvOS’s UI.


2. Next-Generation Layered/Parallax Icons

If I was going to guess at the single most “fun” feature of the tvOS UI, it would be the way that the cursor selection responds to subtle touches by letting you play with/tilt the icon’s edges, even when you’re not shifting from one icon to the next. It’s hard to tell whether Apple is supporting both totally flat and 2 layer logo designs with parallax capabilities (see the animation above where Zooey Deschanel remains mostly in place as the icon box and words differentially tilt behind her), but if this is a new icon alternative for tvOS developers, this could be very, extremely cool moving forward.


3. Apple TELEVISION Gets iOS 7/8/9’s Greatest Accomplishment: Minimized Chrome

I wasn’t a fan of iOS 7’s design, but it has actually improved rather over the previous two iOS releases, and it caused one really positive change: edge-to-edge graphics that eliminate unneeded borders, sometimes making much better usage of the display. tvOS’s redesigned iTunes Movies interface is just among numerous screens that actually fill the TELEVISION’s screen with color, removing the stark black and white edges of the prior Apple TV UI in favor of full-edge bleeds and clarity.


Clear white selection bars are also an excellent touch. There are evident similarities right here to iOS 9’s and iTunes 12’s music gamers, however tvOS’s menu UI looks more cohesive and appealing in refined ways.


4. The Slide-Up Pane: Ingenious

Possibly the single finest brand-new UI aspect in tvOS is the introduction of iOS’s slide-up overlay pane. Made use of within the main menus of tvOS, it makes good use of its space at the bottom of the screen, offers an extremely clear set of options (move left and right to navigate, snap as much as expand the pane to a larger size), and utilizes icons that appear to be just large enough to discern from one another at a distance.



It likewise is a great method to offer intuitively actionable information. Could Apple have finished with a smaller sized box? Yes. Could it be more translucent? Absolutely. However it does not seem awfully invasive in this type, and that little ^ makes extremely clear that you swipe upwards to take control of the screen with more details. That’s simply a clever way to leverage what people have actually discovered from iOS’s Control Center to improve the TELEVISION experience.


5. Siri: Extremely Near Outstanding

Apple’s initial UI for Siri — — a neon microphone versus brushed metal and linen — — mightn’t have been best, however it was very cool for the time. The principle of a Siri overlay with voice-matching waveforms looked fine when it debuted in iOS 9, now that it remains in watchOS and tvOS, it’s ending up being pleasantly familiar, and the shape appears to work no matter what screen size or orientation it’s on. Does the entire screen have to get smoke black dimmed for Siri? I don’t believe so — — contrast it with the frosted pane above, which works well without taking control of the entire screen. The Siri UI would be great as a frosted black pane at the bottom of the screen — — but I love the fact that videos and video games continue relocating the background after it’s turned on.


6 + 7. However…… Perhaps There’s A Little Too Much Glass (And Excessively Thin Font styles)

Apple’s best UIs have conveyed a sense of pixel-level fixation — — there used to be stories of Apple designers and executives poring over icons with multiplying glasses to get everything right down to a dot. Considering that iOS 7, that obsessiveness over pixels has actually paved the way to sheets of flat color, soft gradients, and thin font styles. The screenshot of tvOS 1.0 above states a lot to me on this subject: frosted glass bars are being provided a lot of room to expand in this user interface, and text readability looks like it’s decreasing again. I like the overall look of tvOS, however I’m not totally sure that the UI elements are right rather yet, and for me, extra-large translucent panes are the primary concern. Exactly what do you believe?


8. A Future Perk: Third-Party UI Liberty

Although it’s still extremely early in the new Apple TV’s life-span — — sample third-party apps have actually just been shown on stage — — I don’t should exclude the extraordinary capacity of third-party apps to improve tvOS’s UI further. Among the previous Apple TELEVISION’s least enticing aspects was the small set of canned, pre-designed templates “channels” might select from, and although we make certain to see some losers once the App Store opens the floodgates to developers, I fully anticipate that there will certainly be some terrific new third-party UIs with ideas Apple later includes straight into the OS.

More From This Author

Look into more of my editorials, How-To guides, and reviews for 9to5Machere! I have actually covered a lot of different subjects of interest to Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TELEVISION, and Apple Watch users. I’ve recently talked about how to safely prepare and wipe your iPhone for resale or trade-in, and how to get the finest iPhone trade-in price to aid buy an iPhone 6S.


Submitted under: Apple TV, Opinion Tagged: Apple TELEVISION, Apple TELEVISION 4, tvOS

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