Apple TV 4: Missing Features

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When I get my Apple TV 4, I may have to find a new workaround. Instead of playing music with AirPlay, I may just plug my iPhone 4’s headphone jack into my stereo. It’s a low tech solution, but I will do anything to avoid listening to the Angry Birds Go music. The game will likely be offered on Apple TV 4. I can’t wait to play it on the big screen with a motion sensing remote!

Apple TV 4 Doesn’t Have a Home Screen Shortcut to Recent Videos

I often like to binge-watch TV shows. I find it much easier to follow the plot of a TV series when I can watch every episode within a few months. Apple TV doesn’t make this easy. If you buy an iTunes TV show, they will feature it on the top scrolling marquee, but even then, it isn’t very intelligent. It won’t always play the next episode. If you are binge-watching Netflix or HBO, forget about it. Apple TV doesn’t allow any third-party user interface elements on their home screen, beyond an icon. At best, you can see the album cover from a third-party music service on the top marquee.

It doesn’t take a UI expert to realize that a resume feature is desperately needed. Regardless of the service, Apple TV should present the show or movie you are currently watching on the home screen. Users should be able to click an icon on the top marquee and quickly launch the Netflix or HBO show or movie they have been enjoying.

As it stands now, even going into an Apple TV Channel doesn’t always offer this convenience. I love HBO NOW, but their Apple TV user interface leaves much to be desired. Their Watchlist functionality is a bit buggy. I find myself going to the search page, finding the show, and trying to remember where I left off. I sometimes even take screenshots of my television so I can remember which episode I watched last.

At best, you can pause your show and let Apple TV go to sleep. When you wake it, it should be paused at your current program. Unfortunately, this means you can’t play music or do anything else on Apple TV.

The ability to resume a series on the home screen is urgently needed, but I didn’t see it demoed at all. You can ask Siri to play an episode, if you remember what it is. If Siri could resume a series, they would have demoed that. Binge-watching is so ubiquitous, the compound word has been added to the Oxford dictionary. Apple could offer better support for this consumer behavior.

Apple TV 4 Doesn’t Support Touch ID

Apple TV 4 won’t support Touch ID when it launches. Some tech pundits expected the remote to offer a Touch ID sensor. If you are aware of how Touch ID works, this doesn’t make sense. Touch ID is an embedded system. It is all contained in hardware, and the software only gets an affirmative or negative response to authentication. Obviously, transmitting your fingerprint data wirelessly to Apple TV isn’t secure. For the remote to offer Touch ID, it would need a 64-bit embedded system to store and verify the fingerprint data. That would significantly increase the price of the remote. (continue…)

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