The Apple TV app tries to do too much. It tries to be too much. And this lack of focus damages the Apple TV+ streaming service. Still, a design change in iOS 14.3 and the iPad equivalent makes it just a little bit easier for subscribers to find Apple TV+ shows and movies.
The small tweak doesn’t go far enough, though. It’s only a tiny step in the right direction. What’s truly needed is a dedicated Apple TV+ app.
Apple TV: An app with no focus
To see what’s wrong with Apple’s video software, consider the competition. The Disney+ app is dedicated to Disney+. The Amazon Prime Video app is dedicated to Amazon Prime Video. And the Apple TV app is dedicated to Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and half a dozen other services. Apple TV+ is lumped in as one of the options.
The iPhone-maker created an application that’s a hub for all the video you watch. As such, it’s convenient when you’re looking for suggestions. But when you already know what you want, finding the show requires wading through links to others. As such, the design throws Apple TV+ under the bus.
When I want to watch The Mandalorian, I open the Disney+ app. When I’m in the mood for Star Trek: Discovery, I open the CBS All Access app. And when I want to watch Wolfwalkers I open the Apple TV app and page through suggestions for a bunch of non-Apple shows and services before I find the movie I’m looking for.
Premier of the Apple TV+ Originals tab
Thankfully, Apple did a little bit to fix this Monday. In the version of the Apple TV app built into iOS and iPadOS 14.3, you will find an Apple TV+ Originals tab at the bottom of the screen. No matter where you are in the app, you can tap on that tab to jump straight to a page dedicated to shows and films from Apple’s streaming service.
The page isn’t new. It just wasn’t as prominent before. Previously, Apple buried a link to it on the Watch Now screen, mixed in with advertisements for streaming services from Showtime, Epix, etc.
Apple TV+ subscribers, when you open the Apple TV app, remember to open the Apple TV+ Originals tab to find what you’re looking for.
A dedicated Apple TV+ app is needed
While the tweak to the Apple TV app is nice, it’s clearly a band-aid. The solution is so obvious it’s amazing the problem still exists. Apple TV+ needs a dedicated application.
When I’m ready to watch season two of Servant, I should be able to open an Apple TV+ app and find it — without having to look through links to shows on Disney+, NBC, CBS and so on.
There’s no reason to get rid of the current Apple TV app. It can continue to be a hub collecting a variety of services. But Cupertino should give Apple TV+ subscribers a separate app that always makes it easy to find Apple’s own content.