Apple TV 4: Missing Features

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It would be possible to authenticate Touch ID using an iOS device. This seems like a missed opportunity. It would be a much better way to buy iTunes content. As it stands now, by default, anyone in your household can make purchases on Apple TV. It only asks for confirmation, but not authentication. It is possible to restrict purchases and require authentication on Apple TV. All of this complexity could be avoided if they enable Touch ID support using an iOS device. This is a missed opportunity that I expect to be addressed with software updates.

Apple TV 4 Doesn’t Support Apple Pay

Apple TV 4 and tvOS bring shopping to Apple TV, but this feature is missing Apple Pay. Authentication may be part of the problem. Since Apple TV 4 doesn’t support Touch ID, Apple Pay can’t be implemented securely. Anyone in your household would be able to buy anything. At best, one could enable password-based restrictions to prevent unauthorized purchases. I expect Apple Pay to be offered, by way of an iOS device, in a future update.

Apple TV 4 Doesn’t Support HomeKit

Not so long ago, tech pundits were buzzing that Apple TV would be the required hub for HomeKit. This didn’t make sense to me at all. Why have a hardware middle-man? Sure enough, Apple is using iCloud for long-distance HomeKit support. If you are away from home, iCloud facilitates HomeKit interaction.

Tech writers couldn’t have been more wrong about this. Not only is Apple TV not a HomeKit hub — it doesn’t support HomeKit at all. This is a huge missed opportunity. People would love to have the shades drawn and lights dimmed before watching a movie. This feature will likely come to Apple TV 4 soon.

Apple TV 4 Doesn’t Integrate with Core iOS Apps

Your Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and even Apple Watch can do things Apple TV 4 can’t do. All of these devices integrate with core Apple apps, such as Phone, Calendar, Reminders, Messages, Notes, Mail and Safari.

When you’re watching Apple TV 4 and get a phone call, you won’t see the caller ID on the screen. Digital cable boxes have offered this feature for years. It’s a great convenience. How many times have you thought of something you need to do while watching TV? If you could schedule a Reminder or view Notifications on Apple TV, it would make life easier.

I also think it would be amazing to surf the web on a flatscreen TV. You can do this with AirWeb, but it requires an iOS device. Now that Apple TV 4 has Siri, surfing the web should be possible, but there is no Safari for tvOS. If Apple doesn’t implement these features, some third-party developer will do it. Not everyone will want calls or notifications to pop-up on TV, but I think there is a healthy demand for these features.

Some tech pundits are claiming Apple TV 4 is the new Mac Mini, and people will use it for productivity. I doubt Apple will debut iWork for tvOS. I think this is wishful thinking. The new Apple TV and tvOS will never be replacements for a Mac Mini or OS X. It would be nice to have some integration with core apps, but I don’t see people doing office work on an Apple TV. Apple’s rules for tvOS app submissions require that apps are fully functional with the included remote. This stymies most productivity apps. The notion that Apple TV 4 is a Mac Mini replacement seems a bit delusional. (continue…)

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