Apple said Monday in the WWDC23 Keynote that tvOS 17 brings FaceTime to Apple TV 4K for the first time. So you can put your calls with family, friends and colleagues on the biggest screen you have.
“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.
“New features and enhancements make Apple TV simpler to use and even more enjoyable, reinforcing it as the absolute best option in the living room for Apple customers,” he added.
tvOS 17 adds FaceTime to Apple TV 4K and adds new Control Center
So Apple is adding FaceTime to Apple TV 4K through it new tvOS 17 update, and that’s a first, as it noted at WWDC23. But that’s not all.
tvOS 17 also adds a new Control Center, among other enhancements. Apple said the changes “provide a more personalized experience that works even better with iPhone” and brings together all your favorite streaming services and apps:
Apple TV 4K brings together Apple TV+ and all of the most popular streaming apps — in cinematic picture and audio quality — as well as Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Arcade to the biggest screen in the home.
And developers can try it now, while regular users will have to wait:
Boasting the powerful performance of the A15 Bionic chip, intuitive controls, and seamless interaction with Apple devices and smart home accessories, Apple TV 4K is the best living room device. tvOS 17 is available as a developer beta today, and it will be available as a free software update this fall.
FaceTime app and Continuity Camera
The new FaceTime app on Apple TV lets you initiate calls directly from Apple TV. Or you can start a call on iPhone or iPad and hand it off to Apple TV.
FaceTime on Apple TV relies on Continuity Camera support to wirelessly connect to your iPhone or iPad. It uses the camera and microphone to put all participants on the TV.
As usual with FaceTime, Center Stage keeps participants well-framed onscreen, even if they move.
Gesture-based reactions onscreen
But another new feature adds some flare. New gesture-based reactions let callers use hand motions to make use their hands to generate onscreen effects. Putting your hands together in the heart shape generates hearts, for example.
The new Split View for Apple TV lets with other during a SharePlay session. At the same time, you can see everyone on the FaceTime call.
Using controls on iPhone or iPad, you can transfer a FaceTime call back from the TV to those devices. New calls that come in are shown on the TV, but without identifying the caller.
Video conferencing apps, Continuity Camera APIs for devs
Apple said video conferencing apps — Zoom and Webex — will launch on tvOS later this year.
And there’s fun for developers, too, the company said:
Developers can take advantage of Continuity Camera APIs on Apple TV 4K to integrate the iPhone or iPad camera and microphone into their tvOS app, and create new shared and immersive entertainment experiences for the living room.
Other new features
Apple noted the following additional new features in tvOS 17:
Apple Music Sing lets users sing along to their favorite tracks [and] will also integrate Continuity Camera so users can see themselves onscreen and add entertaining filters.
Control Center displays system status, including the time and active profile, and expands with other helpful details based on a user’s activity.
tvOS 17 [adds] ability to locate the Siri Remote. Users can launch the Apple TV remote inside Control Center on iPhone to find their Siri Remote (2nd generation or later). As users get closer to the remote, an onscreen circle grows in size to guide their movement.
Users can now enjoy curated Memories from their personal library as their Apple TV screen saver.
Enhance Dialogue lets users more clearly hear what is being said over the effects, action, and music in a movie or TV show on Apple TV 4K paired with HomePod (2nd generation) by separating the dialogue from the background noise and bringing it forward to the center channel.
Dolby Vision 8.1 support offers Apple TV 4K users a more cinematic visual experience with dynamic metadata over a broader range of movies and TV shows.
Apple Fitness+ enhancements include Custom Plans, a new way for Fitness+ users to receive a custom workout or meditation schedule based on day, duration, workout type and more.
Third-party VPN support enables developers to create VPN apps for Apple TV. This can benefit enterprise and education users wanting to access content on their private networks, allowing Apple TV to be a great office and conference room solution in even more places.