Apple Releases iOS 12.3 With New TV App and Channels Feature
Apple today released iOS 12.3, the third major update to the iOS 12 operating system that first launched in September 2018. iOS 12.3 comes over a month after the release of iOS 12.2, an update that introduced the Apple News+ service, brought new Animoji, and included dozens of other changes.
The iOS 12.3 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings > General > Software Update. As with all iOS updates, iOS 12.3 is free to download, but it may take some time for iOS 12.3 to propagate to all iOS users.
Much of the iOS 12.3 update focuses on the TV app, which has been overhauled and enhanced with a new look and fresh functionality. Apple first introduced the updated TV app at its March 25 event, and after several weeks of beta testing, the new app is ready for its launch.
In the overhauled TV app, “Watch Now” and “Up Next” are still front and center for keeping track of the TV shows and movies that you’re watching, but there’s a new machine learning-based recommendation engine that offers up customized content suggestions based on your viewing preferences and history.
The TV app’s interface has been streamlined with sections for movies, TV shows, sports, and children’s content, and on iOS devices, there’s a bottom navigation bar for accessing the library, search, and Watch Now options.
Apple added a new “Channels” feature in the TV app, which is a major component of the company’s new services push. Channels are subscription services that you can sign up for and watch within the TV app without having to open up another app, and when you use them, Apple gets a cut of the subscription revenue.
As an example, if you come across a show you want to watch on iPhone or Apple TVthat’s on HBO, Showtime, or Starz and you don’t already have a subscription, you can tap to subscribe right in the TV app and then watch the show right away without having to open a third-party app.
Some of the new Channels that will be supported include Acorn TV, CBS All Access, Starz, Showtime, HBO, Nickelodeon, Mubi, Tastemade, Cinemax, Sundance, EPIX, Smithsonian, The History Channel Vault, and Comedy Central Now.
You’re still going to get recommendations for content from services that aren’t part of the Channels feature, but non-channel content will still need to be watched in a third-party app. You’ll also find all of your iTunes TV shows and movies available in the TV app, and you can purchase new content too.
The new Apple TV app is available in more than 100 countries starting today, and with Family Sharing, up to six family members are able to share subscriptions to Apple TVchannels. Channels content can be watched both online or offline.
Today’s update also includes support for AirPlay 2-enabled TVs, allowing you to AirPlaycontent like TV shows and movies to compatible television sets from companies like LG, Samsung, Vizio, and more.