The Apple TV box could be in line for a significant upgrade. The latest beta release of iOS 6 for Apple TV enables the app icons to be rearranged on the home screen, in a similar fashion to the iPhone and iPad.
Although this is a fairly minor change in itself, observers have begun to connect the dots. The current line-up of apps for the £99 Apple TV is operated as a ‘walled garden’ of tightly controlled services, closed off to a full range of third-party additions.
It means that there has been little need for anyone to customise their home screen by moving the icons around because everything is just two or three cursor clicks away.
However, if third party developers are let loose on Apple TV in a more accessible way, and Apple adopts an App Store approach for downloading new services, then this little ‘hobby’ project (as it’s famously been called) could be in line for a major expansion.
For the UK that could involve the likes of the BBC iPlayer and 4oD in a more user friendly and less roundabout kind of method (as it stands, potential ways around the limits include linking to an iPad via AirPlay Mirroring or jailbreaking the device and installing modified firmware).
If the platform is expanded, you’ll definitely want to be able to rearrange the icons so that your favourite content providers are in prime position.
Speculating further, it’s clear to see that such a development could also form a key part of the rumoured Apple integrated TV set.
The new functionality in iOS 6 beta 2 for Apple TV is only available to the software developer community while it’s in testing phase.
Video of the icons wiggling and being shifted around, as if on an iPad, was shot by Brazil’s MacMagazine and put on YouTube.
Video frame grab: MacMagazine