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The updated Apple tvOS and watchOS are more intuitive and easier to use than ever

By Koh Wanzi - on 22 Mar 2016, 11:05am

tvOS 9.2

Apple’s “Let us loop you in” event was jam-packed with quite a few announcements, not least a brand new 4-inch iPhone, a smaller iPad Pro, and an update to iOS 9.3. On top of that, Apple also announced incremental updates to tvOS and watchOS, introducing new features to make the Apple TV and Apple Watch more intuitive and easier to use than ever.


New voice search and organization functions

Users of the Apple TV will now be able to use the remote’s built-in microphone to dictate things to Siri, effectively letting them use their voice to search the App Store or enter their log-in credentials instead of painstakingly pecking out individual letters on the on-screen keyboard. Now, whenever you see a text entry field in tvOS, you can just activate Siri and say what you’d like to type.

Siri voice search makes things a whole lot easier. (Image Source: Ars Technica)

Siri already played a big part in the first iteration of tvOS that was announced alongside the new Apple TV last September, and the update adds some much needed functionality that should really have been there along. After all, tvOS already allowed users to do things like control playback by simply asking Siri to rewind or even skip ahead in a video.

The other significant update is support for app folders. Apple seems to have taken a leaf from the book of iOS, and apps can now be organized in app folders much like they are on your iPhone. Long-pressing the trackpad while highlighting an app will cause it to start wobbling, after which it can be dragged on top of another app to create a folder. If anything, this just helps you de-clutter your home screen and keep things more organized.

You can manually drag and drop apps into folders. (Image Source: Ars Technica)

In addition, tvOS 9.2 now supports iCloud Photo Library, which means you can access all the images and Live Photos that reside in Apple’s cloud on the Apple TV.

Apple also re-introduced Bluetooth keyboard support and a revamped multi-tasking switcher. Bluetooth keyboards used to be supported on the old Apple TV, and its return now provides yet another alternative for text input on the new Apple set-top box. And given that Apple intended for gaming to be an integral part of the Apple TV, this could allow game developers to create more keyboard-friendly titles.

The new multi-tasking switcher now looks like a card stack, similar to its appearance on iOS 9, which could make it easier for new Apple TV users familiar with the iPhone’s interface to get used to tvOS.