Alongside the release of the new Apple TV 4K, tvOS 15 will be launched. While tvOS 15 did not receive much attention at WWDC 2021, Apple did mention a few new Apple TV features, such as spatial audio via AirPods, and presented a beta to developers following the event.
The Apple TV's operating system is called tvOS, and a new version is released every year in the fall. Last year's tvOS 14 updates added a few new features to the Apple TV, like multi-user support and audio sharing, but it wasn't a significant upgrade.
When will tvOS 15 is set to release?
Despite the fact that tvOS 15 was not highlighted at WWDC 2021, Apple published the developer beta shortly after the event. And all indications are that tvOS 15 will be released this fall.
That would be consistent with the history. After all, tvOS 14 was originally announced at WWDC 2020 and was released in September 2020; while tvOS 13 was originally revealed at WWDC 2019, and it was rolled out in September 2019.
Given this history, we expected Apple to release tvOS 15 in September 2021, following a similar timeline.
Features of tvOS 15
Although the WWDC didn't get a segment dedicated to tvOS 15, Apple did show off some of the new tvOS features that will be available this fall.
SharePlay: This feature allows FaceTime users to create watch parties and watch movies or episodes with their friends while on the phone. Begin a FaceTime call with your buddies, then organise a viewing party using compatible streaming services (including Disney Plus and HBO Max). The show or movie can then be AirPlay to your Apple TV.
Spatial audio: When coupled with AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, the Apple TV 4K offers a theatre-like surround sound experience.
HomePod Mini integration: You can now ask Siri to play movies or shows on Apple TV using a HomePod Mini. The HomePod mini may also be used as a soundbar with the Apple TV. With a HomePod Mini, you can also check your security camera feeds and control other smart home features using Apple TV.
Apple TV app is getting two new content rows. The first is "Shared With You," which features content that friends and family have recommended to you. The second is "For All of You," a section dedicated to content intended for viewing by a group, such as a family movie night. It's also possible to curate the suggestions based on who's viewing.
tvOS 15 beta
Following WWDC 2021, Apple made the tvOS 15 beta available to developers on June 7. TvOS 15 beta 1 will allow developers to install the OS on their Apple TVs. A public beta will be released in July through the Apple Beta Software Program.
Design Changes to tvOS 15
Two key improvements are mentioned in Apple's "What's new in tvOS" letter to developers. The first is FaceID; in tvOS 15, users can approve purchases and login into your tvOS app using Face ID or Touch ID on their iPhone or iPad.
A "redesigned playback interface" is the second. We're hoping to discover more about the redesign soon.
The tvOS interface for navigation and playing hasn't changed in a long time. A report circulated earlier this year that tvOS 15 will be a "big update" with a navigation redesign. tvOS 15 would have a new look, as well as parental controls, kids mode, and Screen Time, according to Israeli blog The Verifier (which has a spotty track record). Apple is also working on a programme guide for live channels, according to the Verifier.
The mysterious new playback interface and the Apple TV app's two new content rows are the only confirmed redesigns as of now.
Supported devices for tvOS 15
All devices running tvOS 14 are expected to be compatible with tvOS 15, including the Apple TV 4K (2021), the first-generation Apple TV 4K (2017), and the Apple TV HD.