Apple has released an update to its Apple TV operating system, tvOS 17, alongside the new iOS 17 software for iPhones. One of the most significant additions in this update is the ability for users to conduct FaceTime video calls directly from their Apple TV for the first time ever. The company also revealed plans to launch tvOS apps for web conferencing platforms Cisco’s Webex and Zoom, which will be compatible with Apple TV later this year.
Apple TV users can now benefit from the addition of FaceTime video calling capabilities and other enhancements with the launch of tvOS 17. The update unlocks new possibilities for communication and entertainment apps on the Apple TV 4K, making it an even more versatile and user-friendly device.
Continuity Camera Integration for FaceTime
The FaceTime feature on Apple TV 4K leverages the Continuity Camera function available on iPhones and iPads. This enables users to use their mobile devices as wireless webcams. By integrating Continuity Camera APIs, developers can create communication and entertainment apps that work seamlessly on the large screen of the Apple TV 4K. For instance, Apple is using this feature in conjunction with Apple Music Sing, a karaoke-like party feature where users can sing along to their favorite songs.
Other Enhancements in tvOS 17
Besides FaceTime, tvOS 17 brings several other notable additions to Apple TV’s operating system. This includes a redesigned control center, a feature that helps users find their lost TV remote, improved dialogue support, and more.
- The new Control Center on the Home Screen provides system status information like time and activity profiles, expanding with relevant details based on user activity. Additionally, users can access AirPods settings, home cameras, system controls, and user profiles with a simple touch of the remote.
- Apple TV owners can now launch the Apple TV Remote from within the Control Center on their iPhone to locate a misplaced Siri Remote (2nd generation or later). The onscreen circle grows in size as the user gets closer to the missing remote, aiding in the recovery process.
- Apple TV now supports the use of curated photos from personal libraries or Shared Libraries as screensavers, a feature that media players like Roku and Fire TV already offer.
- Improvements have been made to enhance dialogue separation from background noise, bringing it to the center channel. This makes it easier for viewers to hear conversations over the effects, action, and music when the Apple TV 4K is paired with a HomePod (2nd generation or later).
- Expanded Siri functionality will be available for both Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD users. This update allows users to ask more general questions and receive responses, not limited to queries regarding the content on TV.