Apple TV flaws that Apple should fix fast

“I’m enjoying the Apple TV, but there are a few problems Apple needs to address,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld.

“Developers have been working for months to create apps in time for the release of the Apple set-top box, but their hard work is being undermined by poor app discoverability. The only way you’ll find an app is if it is listed on the front pages of the App Store section,” Evans writes. “f it isn’t there then you must search for apps by name. Apple is offering sales charts for US Apple TV users, but they aren’t available everywhere. There are no genre-based listings.”

“Developers are unhappy about this. Long-term Apple developer, Pangea Software’s Brian Greenstone wrote: ‘I just worked my ass off for the last two months getting five games ready for launch day,’ he said on Apple’s Developer forums. ‘And now I see that there’s absolutely no way to discover the apps unless a user explicitly searches for it. This is such a slap in the face to all of the developers who have been working so hard,'” Evans writes. “Greenstone’s not one of those self-publicizing developers out to make a buck by slamming Apple or sharing the company’s secrets. I think Apple owes him rapid improvement to app discovery – even a Web-based interface you could explore while watching TV would help.”

Six more more Apple TV flaws that Apple should fix fast here.

MacDailyNews Take: In some spots, it’s almost as if nobody at Apple actually tried to really use the new Apple TV. It’s really inexplicable – unless the product was rushed out the door by higher ups, before it was truly ready for prime time. Very un-Apple-esque. Perhaps Apple needed to get this on the market for Christmas, no matter what, in order to generate some leverage to get content providers onboard for their over-the-top skinny bundle(s)? Hopefully they can issue tvOS updates very rapidly.

SEE ALSO:
I moved the new Apple TV to Input 1 in just four days – November 3, 2015
TouchArcade reviews new Apple TV: A discoverability nightmare, zany controls, and loads of potential – November 2, 2015
Terry White reviews Apple TV: Feels like an ‘unfinished’ product – November 2, 2015
ZDNet reviews Apple TV: A diamond in the rough – very rough – November 2, 2015
New York Times: All-new Apple TV invigorates the set-top box – October 29, 2015
Paczkowski: Yes, the Apple TV you’ve always wanted is finally here – October 29, 2015
Apple TV’s Siri search soon to include Apple Music – October 29, 2015
Apple TV review: Channels are dead. The future of TV is apps – October 29, 2015
Mossberg reviews the new Apple TV: ‘This is the one I’d buy’ – October 28, 2015

60 Comments

    1. Just another Tim Cook era product.

      Tim Cook cannot do new products. 63% of Apple’s revenue comes from iPhone, a Steve Jobs creation. Apple hasn’t had another hit since. And don’t BS about the Apple Watch. It’s not a runaway success. There’s no sales figures from Apple other than “it’s just getting started”, which implies it’s not selling.

      Jobs said he cracked the TV several years ago, and THIS is the best Apple can come up with? And at VERSION 4? Jobs would have had the major networks signed up on launch, the discoery issue wouldn’t exist, etc.

      You’d open up the Apple TV, plug it in, and start building your TV channels right there. 99 cent subscription per channel App or whatever. People would flock

      1. Blah blah fire Tim Cook. Blah blah blah it’s all Tim Cook’s fault. Blah blah Tim Cook killed my dad. Blah blah blah I’m not registered. Blah blah I’m a troll.

        ——RM

      2. MDN: unless the product was rushed out the door by higher ups, before it was truly ready for prime time. Very un-Apple-esque.

        Be specific — very un-JOBS-esque. New Apple products under Cook have been hit-or-miss, often seeming half-baked when compared with Apple’s products under Jobs’s direction. Apple under Cook is either too eager to release or lacks the ability to identify “insanely great” products when they see them. It’s a bad trend.

        dswe is correct.

        1. The trouble is some of us remember the withering attacks on all those products that Jobs did launch even if that particular history is constantly re written to suit particular prejudices.

          However what amazes me in this case is how can it have been rushed out the door when in most people’s eyes it was expected at least a year ago, or even longer, has been in development (or should have) for years certainly conceptually and exploits technology for the most part that already exists in other Apple products, hell they were even beaten to it to a few aspects by others. So there is no excuse whatsoever for delays in incorporating functions in software even the previous version had nor a basic like discoverability. How long did they need to do the basics. The thing that SJ did do was squeeze the pips out of his staff to get them to deliver even to the point of burning them out completely. Trouble is this is also the thing he was most slated for. I think what Cook needs to do is get someone to seriously get a grip on software development and apply at least some of the authoritarian perfectionism that Steve displayed without the torture.

        2. The problem that Apple customers have with this attitude of “it’s rushed” is that it’s been YEARS in the making. My first Apple TV was the 720p (2nd gen I believe) and when the next gen supported 1080p I bought 3. With this one I’m asking why I’ve bought one. And I do understand the lack of apps in the store. The problem is that the store is so untidy and disorganized and hard to maneuver in that I, the customer, don’t want to return and I doubt many vendors care to have their gems or flops hidden in that MESS. Who cares that Siri can search 100 apps when the user can’t find 100 apps to download? When you do get the 6 – ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, SHOWTIME, YOUTUBE – you have to use that unwieldy remote to pick the letters to log in rather than use your phone or iPad to enter credentials. Top that with lack of support for the remote app and you have to see this as a MESS! Like, my phone won’t work mess because every person who upgrades their Apple TV to this one as it is now develops a new perception of Apple. I’ve lost my trust of the company to deliver a fantastic, bullet-proof user experience. That’s because the tv has been around – and neglected – for years. Now that ACTED as if that would change and we get THIS??? It appears as though Apple disbanded its quality assurance department and didn’t replace them, fired the tv developers and hired interns for the project who had never used it before and used a project management team who were given PICTURES of the iTunes Store and told to replicate that for tv in record time on the cheapest dime. In the retail industry, companies that operate like that die. I’m not suggesting the death of Apple based on one product but this trend has been going further down hill for a while and if it continues, or gets worse God forbid, it won’t be good news. And now I’m thinking Wall Street had some inside knowledge of how the tv was being developed. That would sure explain their behavior. And I just remembered the best thing about Apple – their return policy. I won’t complain about this debacle again.

          1. Actually the problem is probably that there are too many departments and SVPs- from assurance to god knows what.

            The former ‘system’ would appear to be if SJ said it was shit, it was shit and therefore didn’t see the light of day. I’m all for autocratic rule !

    2. Just another Tim Cook era product.

      Tim Cook cannot do new products. 63% of Apple’s revenue comes from iPhone, a Steve Jobs creation. Apple hasn’t had another hit since. And don’t BS about the Apple Watch. It’s not a runaway success. There’s no sales figures from Apple other than “it’s just getting started”, which implies it’s not selling.

      Jobs said he cracked the TV code several years ago, and THIS is the best Apple can come up with? And at VERSION 4? Jobs would have had the major networks signed up on launch, the discovery issue wouldn’t exist, etc.

      You’d open up the Apple TV, plug it in, and start building your TV channels right there. 99 cent subscription per channel App or whatever. The Apple TV would be a full television with an amazing design and 4+k. Apple will also have had technology and worked with the major content providers to provide 4k+ content right out of the gate.

      People would flock to buy them. Cable would be cut. TV would never be the same. And the media would call it a magical device.

      Welcome to Tim Cook’s Apple, a shell of its former self.

      1. You’re an idiot who knows nothing. Apple is having blockbuster record sales under Cook.
        The only think Jobs said about TV came from Isaacson who was a lousy biographer and its unclear what Jobs might or might not have said.

        1. Tim Cook has done nothing. He inherited a company he neither founded nor really built. 63% of Apple’s revenues are from the IPHONE. Repeat that several times. A device created by Steve Jobs.

          Tim Cook is riding the coattails of the giant before him. That giant was Steve Jobs.

    3. This is the same problem with the iBooks Store. I find it difficult to discover stuff as easily as Amazon, and I’d prefer to buy from Apple. Neat and tidy UI with a limited window doesn’t always make for an easier experience.

    4. This is definitely a problem but surely to be fixed soon. Meanwhile just type “A” in the search bar and all apps beginning with A appear. It’s just a stop gap measure, but you can at least find every app currently available..,

  1. The only problem mentioned here that I might consider valid is to improve on search. All the other problems have to do with skewed expectations, like wanting some high-end dedicated game player, or in wanting this to be a kind of Mac mini. “Why doesn’t it do podcasts?” or “Where’s the social media?”

    The real problem is that people are expecting Apple TV to be some sort of wonder box, a cheap way to get a Mac. You can see why Steve Jobs considered this a “hobby”, the concept was and still is to diffuse and wide open.

      1. What’s crazy about Bluetooth support is that Bluetooth is already built in. That’s how it draws information from your iPhone during automated setup.

        ——RM

      2. And what about siri integration to look through your list of movies on the HD of apple computers on the network – even if you have to folder them and present them in a specific location for siri to search. Why look to itunes if I own it on my HD?

    1. I don’t think expecting Apple’s media device to support an Apple media service like Podcasts is overreaching.

      Social media? Again, it (used to anyway) does photo streams from iCloud, why not from other services?

      Touting it as a platform for apps & games and leaving out a lot of common-sense apps like FaceTime, email, social media makes it underwhelming.

  2. The killer for me with the new AppleTV is the loss of the optical out port. How can Apple claim to be serious about music, and then drop that? I don’t want to play music through my TV set. With the old AppleTV I was able to stream audio digitally to an external DAC and then into a decent hi-fi system. Thank God for Spotify Connect on my digital streamer…

    1. Yeah, ordered mine on day one
      Found out yesterday there was no optical audio port – I didn’t study the spec.
      It arrived today and I can’t even be bothered opening it as I’ll have to reconfigure my whole set up to get it to work. Can’t be arsed. Bad move Apple.

      1. HDMI is not the gold standard, especially in high end installations.

        Many of the best audio amplifiers are just that — audio inputs only, relying on a separate system I/O controller . Consider those people with projectors — video is in the back of the room and audio amps are at/near the speakers. The controller is in front, by the screen, and it passes the audio through separate from the video. That’s how many pros do it. All-in-one receivers are a big compromise, and never have offered the top performance that separate components can.

        Clearly the Apple TV4 is more of a hobby than ever before, aimed at consumers who don’t demand the best.

    2. an additional oversight (?): since the remote is charged with an included lightning cable/connector, wouldn’t it have been a good idea to include a USB port on the back of the AppleTV to plug the cable into? an alternate solution would be to have a dock-like lightning connector on top of the box.

      1. Imagine if your Playstation 4 (for example) didn’t have USB connectors to charge the controllers with…

        Apple should not have let this happen. All that was needed was a simple (voltage only) USB port to charge the remote.

        I can see this with wireless headphones and such, but not when there is a device that needs charging (the remote) and a device that is capable of charging (the ATV4) in the same box.

          1. “Both HDMI and optical pass digital audio from one device to another. Both are better than analog (the red and white cables). Both can pass multi-channel audio, like Dolby Digital. Both cables can be had pretty cheap.

            The biggest difference is that HDMI can pass higher-resolution audio, including the formats found on Blu-ray: Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio. These formats can’t get transmitted across optical.”

            Can’t… get… transmitted…. across… optical….
            hmmm…

            http://www.cnet.com/news/hdmi-vs-optical-which-digital-audio-connection-to-use/

        1. One possible work around for me – apparently my nearby Airport Express has analog / optical audio out and the Apple TV will act as an AirPlay device so I may unpack it tonight and give it a try.

  3. Apple just added top charts to the App Store. Screen shots from the September event snow a categories section too. I’m sure we’ll see an update for that soon. I think developers complaining about discoverability when the device has only been on sale for less than a week is ridiculous.

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