Hands-On With the New Apple TV: A Look at the tvOS App Store

One of the key features of the new Apple TV is the full App Store, which mirrors the iOS App Store and allows third-party developers to create a range of apps and games for the device. We went hands-on with the new Apple TV and took a look at the App Store to give MacRumors readers a better idea of how it works.

Anyone who has downloaded an iOS app on an iPhone or an iPad will be familiar with the way the tvOS App Store works. When first logging in, the Apple TV interface is rather empty, because standard apps, like Netflix, must be downloaded from the tvOS App Store. There are a wide range of games and apps already available, and we've catalogued a number of them in a list.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Games in the tvOS App Store are controlled with the included touch-based Siri remote, which can be used as a touch screen or as a controller similar to the Wii Remote. The Apple TV also supports third-party Made for iPhone certified Bluetooth gaming controllers.

The tvOS App Store has faced some criticism because it’s difficult to discover new content. The App Store only displays a limited selection of featured apps and beyond that, the only way to locate content is through search. Unlike the iOS App Store, there’s no top list and there’s no way to browse through different genres to find apps. That may change in the future as tvOS evolves, but for now, it can be difficult to find all the available apps to install.

Apple is selling the new Apple TV in retail stores and from the online Apple Store. It’s priced at $149 for 32GB of storage and $199 for 64GB of storage.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 13, tvOS 14
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
62 months ago

Says right in the article: "The App Store only displays a limited selection of featured apps and beyond that, the only way to locate content is through search. Unlike the iOS App Store, there's no top list and there's no way to browse through different genres to find apps."

Obviously these will be fixed via a simple change on Apple's side when there are actually enough apps to WARRANT categories. How many apps do you think there actually are already (again, the device has been out for 12 HOURS) that need a robust catalog system?

Here's the thing. I, as well as many other developers, busted my ass to get my app ready in time for launch. Worked late nights, missed some family time, etc. to get the app done for launch. It's in the store, but guess what, no one knows its there, because there is no way to see it unless you know it exists. I don't have money to launch a marketing campaign for it, I have to rely on the tools that Apple provides to get it off the ground. Taking away categories is doing nothing more than ****ing over the vast majority of the developers that are providing software for their hardware. Unless you are in that ~5% to be featured, you have literally no exposure. You are relying on people seeing your app online somewhere, remembering it, dealing with the clunky "keyboard" to search it out by name, and then download it. You can't link directly to it for purchase, you can't even see it in the iTunes Store on desktop.

The device may have been out for 12 hours, but they sent out dev kits ~6 weeks ago, there are somewhere around 500 apps right now. It may not be enough to fill every possible category, but it certainly is enough that there needs to be a way to see them all without knowing the name of them.

Right now, no, there isn't a need for top lists, especially considering how in flux they'd be, but categories are a must.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago
Oh god. Already people crying "fail!!" because there's no top sales list for an App Store on a device that came out less than 12 hours ago. That's a new level of pathetic.

Have none of you ever used an apple product? Obviously they will make adjustments in the coming days. Hit up Cosby for some wine if that's what it takes, but chill out instead of carrying on like children having a tantrum because the candles on your cake were the wrong color.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago

A major Apple flop. Wake me when OS version 4.0 is out, same goes with Apple Watch.

I would rather to let you sleep forever. This is the best thing I have ever bought! Love my ATV Apple did such a good job, I can't wait to see more Apps.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago
Discoverability is basically zero at the moment. One laborious way to see everything in the store (and there's not much) is to start a search, then just leave it at 'a', or 'b', etc. It will then show you all apps starting with that letter.

Quality is very low on the whole and I'm seeing a worrying number of Roku style hardcore religious insanity apps on there. Hopefully the ATV app store won't end up like the cess pit that is the Roku channel store.

Of course the list of missing apps is crazy big at the moment, at least in the UK. No BBC iPlayer, no Amazon Prime, no MUBI, no Now TV, no All4, and many more. It's bare bones in the extreme.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago

For those complainers out there, the first iPhone from "Steve" lacked 3G and an App Store. They built it later after feedback. This is no different. Seriously, give it a rest

The first AppleTV (while Steve was alive and kicking and the iPhone was still a secret project) didn't have an App Store either. It came out first in September of 2006! This is a generation FOUR AppleTV so if you're going to make such a ridiculous comparison, then compare it to the iPhone 4 and tell me it didn't have an App Store or polished features.

Apple has had NINE YEARS to get the AppleTV to this point. In case you don't remember, the AppleTV PREDATES the very first iPhone by NINE MONTHS! (it came out in June 2007). The first version of AppleTV ran a version of OS X Tiger for god's sake! Yeah, but don't complain that this thing wasn't ready for release. Everyone be a good fanboy and bless Apple for all they do for us, one and all! :apple:
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago

im pretty sure, neither steve jobs or tim cook are the only ones who comes up with the creative ideas.. They have the best bunch of people, who are still working there from the steve jobs era, to do the innovations.. Don't worry

I also bet this was on the drawing board when jobs was around, since he said he cracked it.

1) No, go back and read Isaacson's quote a bit closer. He said Jobs said he thought he finally "cracked" TV but didn't say what that way. Amazon had voice recognition in its Fire TV before Apple so if this is what Jobs was referring to Amazon beat it to the punch. But it's not that great of an innovation. I certainly wouldn't say it's "cracked" anything.

2) Steve Jobs passed away 4 years ago. In that time almost everything out of Apple has been incomplete -- Maps, Siri, CarPlay, ATV4, Watch, or just blah - Mac specs (video cards pretty much gutted these days), OS X more complicated and yes more dumbed down than ever. Tablet sales are moribund and the iPad updates almost non-existent. Music seems to not be gaining traction even after the big Beats, Dre, and Iovine buy out. And now it is copying Google on it's self driving car as if Apple needed another hobby.

I agree Tim Cook deserved time to get his sea legs as CEO but he really hasn't accomplished much on his watch as it were. All of Apple's earnings come from legacy products. He's shown us nothing new and exciting that could be Apple's next bread and butter product.

So yes, I do "worry" that Apple has had its best moments as far as being a tech leader of the fresh. Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. He is interested solely in moving product. He's almost the exact opposite of Woz who loved to innovate for the hell of it. Steve loved to innovate and sell the hell out of it. Tim Cook reminds me of John Scully, doesn't care what the hell he's selling as long as it sells.

I think you have a bit too much blind faith. The crew at Apple worked so brilliantly because Jobs knew how to push them in the right direction. Tim Cook only knows how to push product out of warehouses.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Confirms This Year's iPhone 12 Models Will Be a Little Bit Late

Thursday July 30, 2020 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020 (second calendar quarter) Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Apple is expecting to release this year's iPhones later than usual. Maestri said that Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later." Multiple rumors have suggested that ...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

Friday July 31, 2020 6:25 am PDT by
Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge. Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The...

Battery Likely for Upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 Filed in Certification Listings

Saturday August 1, 2020 5:46 am PDT by
A battery likely for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 has been filed at the Korea Testing and Research Institute and discovered by a Twitter user @yabhishekhd. Certification for a 1.17Wh battery with a capacity of 303.8mAh was issued on June 23 by the KTR, a Korean regulatory body that approves and tests new hardware ahead of public sale. The battery seems to be destined for a future...

Apple Marks Return of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Saturday August 1, 2020 2:33 am PDT by
Apple today marked the return of NHL hockey with a new "Shot on iPhone" ad on its YouTube channel in Canada. Titled "Hockey Tape," the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape. "See the game like never before with Ultra ...

Apple Launches New Gift Card for 'Everything Apple'

Friday July 31, 2020 3:45 am PDT by
Apple has introduced a new single gift card in the U.S. for all things Apple. First spotted by iCulture, the card can be used at the App Store and other online services, but you can also use it to buy products and accessories in the Apple Store. Previously, there were two separate Apple gift cards available: iTunes cards, which can be used for App Store, iTunes Store, and iCloud storage...

Leaker Jon Prosser Claims iPhone 12 and New iPads Will Launch in October

Wednesday July 29, 2020 4:15 pm PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser, who has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans, today said that new iPhone 12 models and new iPads will launch in October. Multiple rumors have suggested that some or all of the iPhone 12 models coming this year will see a later than normal launch. Apple typically unveils and releases new iPhones in the month of September, but problems...