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Tim Cook: Apple TV API to open universal search up to third-party apps

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Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company plans to serve up an API for the new Apple TV set-top box, allowing third-party developers to feature within universal search.

The refreshed set-top box will go on sale later this month, promising to revamp the way we access video content.

Users will be able to see results for multiple apps with a single search without having to browse each app individually.

At launch, universal search will feature big hitters like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and HBO with more coming in future.

However, the API will enable other, lesser known apps to feature within the Siri-powered tool.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Cook said: "At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially. But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.

I think that many, many people will want to be in that search and that’s great for users. Think about your experience today. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have the content you want to watch in an app, you sometimes don’t remember exactly where that show is, so you’re going to Netflix or Hulu or Showtime. You shouldn’t have to do that. It should be very simple.”

Cook also took time to clarify how the new Apple TV will display content depending on whether it’s free on Netflix, for sale on iTunes or requiring a subscription to HBO.

He added: “It will be clear which service is free.”

See also: Amazon Fire TV (2015) vs Apple TV (2015)

Apple is yet to confirm a release date for the new Apple TV, but has promised it will arrive before the end of the month.

The Fire TV rival will feature the new tvOS with a heavy emphasis on Siri functionality, but will also see the arrival of games through the App Store.

Will you be snapping up a new Apple TV later this month? Share your thoughts below.

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