Apple says it will bring FaceTime and video conferencing to the biggest screen in the home when it upgrades Apple TV 4K to tvOS 17.
Remarkably, it’s the first time that FaceTime has been made available on Apple TV and spells an upgrade centred around the Apple ecosystem. The premise is that Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Arcade will all be available on the big screen.
The announcement was made at the WWDC23 event, where Apple also unveiled its spatial computer, Apple Vision Pro, the Cupertino company announced a series of upgrades for its Apple TV 4K product.
“tvOS 17 transforms the biggest screen in the home with FaceTime and new video conferencing capabilities, giving Apple TV 4K users the ability to easily connect with anyone right from their living room,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.
The FaceTime app on Apple TV 4K will allow users to initiate calls directly from their TV, or start calls on iPhone or iPad, and hand them off to Apple TV.
A Split View for Apple TV will allow users to create a ‘SharePlay’ session while also seeing everyone on the FaceTime call.
Controls on the iPhone or iPad make it easy to transfer a FaceTime call back to those devices as needed. If another FaceTime or phone call comes in during a session, a notification appears on the TV to let the user know someone is calling — without revealing who the caller is, to preserve the user’s privacy on a communal device.
Continuity Camera, which already allows devices such the iPhone to be attached to an Apple computer with a lesser camera, will also be linked to the Apple TV that has no camera at all. This means that third-party video conferencing apps like Webex by Cisco and Zoom will also launch on tvOS.
Apple Music Sing — a feature that lets users sing along to their favourite tracks — will also integrate Continuity Camera so users can see themselves onscreen and add entertaining filters.
There’s more integration between the iPhone and Apple TV, including the ability to use the phone to identify who’s watching, and a feature to find the remote.
Dolby Vision 8.1 support, which offers Apple TV 4K users a more cinematic visual experience with dynamic metadata over a broader range of movies and TV shows will also be introduced.
tvOS 17 is currently available as a developer beta, and it will be available as a free software update in the autumn.
The Apple Vision Pro will also have video capability and allow users to delve into Apple Immersive Video. Its two ultra-high-resolution display will allow 180-degree high-resolution recordings with Spatial Audio.