What Apple got right in Apple TV’s user interface – and what needs work

“As improbable as this might have seemed for a ‘hobby,’ fixing the Apple TV was one of the last topics Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs discussed with biographer Walter Isaacson: ‘I finally cracked it,’ Jobs said about an upcoming Apple TV UI. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,’ apparently indicating that complex remotes would be a thing of the past,” Jeremy Horwitz writes for 9to5Mac. “But after Jobs passed away, the Apple TV received only a couple of modest tweaks — improvements, but modest nonetheless — as Jobs’ mysterious ‘simplest UI’ apparently remained unused.”

Horwitz writes, “As an Apple TV user and fan, I’ve spent years waiting for this week’s introduction of the fourth-generation Apple TV, as much for improved hardware as the opportunity to see Jobs’ vision in action.”

“I’ve long suspected that pervasive voice control was the missing link — Siri was added to the iPhone 4S just before Jobs died — and from every indication, Apple has done a wonderful job of building voice navigation into the new Apple TV’s tvOS operating system,” Horwitz writes. “But did it get the rest of the UI right, or are we in for more years of main menu redesigns? Let’s take a look at what tvOS 1.0 gets right and wrong.”

Read more, and see all of the screenshots, in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Once the third-party developers get their hands on the tvOS SDK, as Horwitz writes, there will be a multitude of ideas flowing, some of which Apple will use to further improve an already very promising UI. The new Apple TV is the real deal. A bonanza awaits!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. I read these “reports” that Jobs grand plan was, as Tim Cook keeps preaching, apps on AppleTV. Yet I have not seen any clear and unambiguous documentation that this was Jobs vision. It’s as if reality has been supplanted by a myth. Whatever Apple intends for AppleTV it is a matter of faith if this is Jobs desire or something else less revolutionary.

  2. It has been four years since Jobs died, and five since he had done meaningful work at Apple. I think it is time to stop doing the Disney thing (“What would Walt do?”). Everone seems to be doing it, except Apple themselves; they are doing exactly what Jobs told them: follow their own instincts and take the company forward. Results so far seem to be working: Apple’s profits are breaking records, growth is hardly slowing down, stock is the most valued on Wall Street by far…

    As far as Apple TV is concerned, the platform as it is now will likely overtake all major gaming consoles, as well as all other set-top streaming boxes. In one year, I expect Apple TV to be the most popular living room appliance connected to the TV.

    1. I’d say that’s a little optimistic. I doubt if the hardcore gamers are going to dump their Sony and Microsoft gear for Apple, at least not until it’s proven that the Apple TV has the ability to run the games they use, and the games are available for it.

      1. Hardcore gamers are a negligible percentage of console market. Most of the people who buy Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft consoles are dads getting them for Christmas, purportedly for their sons. These people don’t care about the top titles on these consoles. They will be perfectly happy with a cheaper console (Apple TV) and ported iOS games.

  3. You bet your life on it that this is what steve envisioned. The delay, of course, is linked to the failure to get content deals in place. Why show the competition the great user interface when we still have to wait for content? Why give them time to develop knock offs systems of their own during the long drawn-out negotiations for the rights from the networks? You all do believe there will be copiers out there right? Cook knew he could not afford to wait any longer. The time is now for ATV……..

        1. One doesn’t have to be a sworn witness to be ethically and morally obligated to tell the truth. If Johnny Boy writes something as a fact he has the responsibility to ensure its accuracy and veracity. Because you, DraqQueen, don’t care for the truth I fully expect you to support the dissemination of lies.

  4. I am tired of pundits, poobahs, or whatever-you-call-its telling Apple what they did right and what remains to be done.

    You don’t think Apple knows, already? Cool it. It is a lot easier to write about it than to actually do it.

    What have _you_ done in the software department, lately, eh?

  5. As a specialist in Apple software development for nearly four decades, my take on the new AppleTV is – it is almost perfect, but there is a glaring omission: it doesn’t support the WebKit frameworks.

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