Apple’s new TV app arrives with iOS 12.3

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The Apple TV app gets a raft of new features in iOS 12.3.
The Apple TV app gets a raft of new features in iOS 12.3.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple’s updated TV app is finally ready for the public to dive into.

iOS 12.3 was released to the public today, adding the new Apple TV app to iPhones and iPads as Apple prepares to launch its streaming TV service this fall. The update also adds AirPlay 2.0 and Apple TV support to compatible Samsung smart TVs.

iPhone and iPad owners can download iOS 12.3 via an over-the-update, bringing a bunch of bug fixes along with it. To install it, go to the Settings app, tap General, select the Software Update section and request the update. Developers have been testing the software since the end of March.

Apple also released fresh updates for macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1 and tvOS 12.3 today, all more than the iOS 12.3 update. However, the tvOS 12.3 app brings the updated Apple TV app to Apple TV owners.

What’s inside iOS 12.3?

iOS 12.3 introduces the redesigned Apple TV app that Cupertino previewed during its “show time” keynote in March. In the app, you can subscribe to TV channels for a monthly fee. Apple does include a free one-week trial. Starz costs $8.99 per month. Showtime costs $10.99 per month. Tastemade and The Smithsonian each run $4.99 per month. HBO, Epix and other channels are also available. The app also offer up recommendations for shows based on your previous viewing habits.

One thing missing from the Apple TV app is Apple’s own original TV shows. Those aren’t expected to launch until the fall, but it’s still unclear how much Apple will charge for the service.

Apple Card assets have been added in iOS 12.3. The service is expected to launch this summer before iOS 13 is available to the public.

Release notes for iOS 12.3

Here are the full release notes for iOS 12.3.

iOS 12.3 includes support for AirPlay 2-enabled TVs and features a redesigned Apple TV app. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.

AirPlay 2
– AirPlay 2 now supports sharing videos, photos, music and more from your iPhone and iPad directly to your AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV
– One tap playback automatically plays your chosen TV show or movie on the last screen you used based on time and location
– Siri Suggestions to watch movies and TV shows now include an option to AirPlay
– Intelligent suggestions are all done on-device so your personal information stays private

Apple TV app
– The Apple TV app features an all new design that highlights expertly curated collections and personalized recommendations
– Apple TV channels offer subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, Starz, and more, available to watch directly in the Apple TV app, online or off
– Subscriptions to Apple TV channels can be shared with up to six family members, with no new apps, accounts, or passwords needed
– New release movies are available to buy or rent in the Apple TV app, including the full catalog of 100,000+ movies and the largest selection of 4K HDR titles
– A new dedicated kids section helps you discover editorially-handpicked shows and movies safe for kids of all ages
– The Apple TV app can now intelligently suggest playing to the most likely Apple TVs or AirPlay 2-enabled TVs nearby

This update also includes bug fixes and improvements. This update:
– Adds the ability to follow a magazine from the Apple News+ catalog browsing view
– Apple Music’s For You tab now updates multiple times a day suggesting music based on themes like genres, artists, and moods you love
– Fixes an issue that could prevent Apple TV Remote from pausing video, controlling video, or changing volume on supported receivers
– Addresses an issue that could cause calls made using Wi-Fi calling to drop
– Fixes an issue where song information from a connected iPhone may not appear in a car’s display