If you have an array of Apple devices, get them lined up and ready. Apple has announced a set of updates for its various platforms, including iOS for smartphones and tablets, tvOS for streaming devices, watchOS for smartwatches, and macOS for laptops and computers. The most notable are the iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 updates, which bring the revamped Apple TV app to devices on these platforms. The updated Apple TV app, as well as AirPlay 2 support, will be available for compatible iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and select Samsung smart TVs in over 100 countries, starting today.
Starting with the iOS 12.3 update, the changelog states that the update includes support for AirPlay 2-enabled TVs, one-tap playback for movies and TV shows, a redesigned Apple TV app, and additional bug fixes and improvements for Apple Music, CarPlay, the Apple TV Remote app, and Wi-Fi calling. It also fixes a bunch of security flaws, which you can read more about here. To update to iOS 12.3, head to Settings > General > Software Update, download the update, and then install it. Users are recommended to have more than 50 percent battery before starting the update process.
As for tvOS 12.3, users will need to turn on their Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, and then head to Settings > System > Software Updates, and then select Update Software > Download and Install. Don’t disconnect the streaming device until the update is complete. For third generation Apple TV, users will need to head to Settings > General > Software Updates, and then select Update Software > Download and Install. Details of the security fixes that tvOS 12.3 brings can be found here.
The most significant inclusion is the new Apple TV app, which now allows users to subscribe to select Apple TV channels from within the app, access shows and movies in resolutions of up to 4K HDR, aggregated from various streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and more. AirPlay 2 support is another big change, and users who have updated their device software to iOS 12.3 or macOS 10.14.5 can stream using AirPlay 2 to compatible Samsung Smart TVs.
These services will, of course, be paid, and are a part of Apple’s push to establish itself in the video streaming industry as a major player by leveraging its existing hardware and software capabilities. In India, the new app currently only covers movies which can be bought or rented to view directly on the app and device in use. For now, many of the new features are limited to the US, where users can directly subscribe to channels such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime, and pay only for what they want to watch.
For Apple Watch devices, watchOS 5.2.1 is now rolling out, bringing the ECG feature and irregular heart-beat notifications to an additional five European countries, as well as a ‘Pride’ 2019 watch face. To download the update, go to the Apple Watch app on your iOS device and then visit General > Software Update. The Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent of the battery charge, and it is also recommended to keep it on the charging dock while installing the new update. Your iPhone will also need to be in close proximity to the Apple Watch and will need to be on Wi-Fi. Details of the security fixes the watchOS 5.2.1 update brings can be found here.
macOS also sees an update – version 10.14.5 is now rolling out, bringing AirPlay 2 support, increased audio latency on MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018, and fixes to other specific issues. The update is now available for download on the Mac App Store, under the Featured column. Alternatively, look for the latest macOS update from the Updates section. Users can simply click on the Download button to experience the latest software update. There are a bunch of security updates as well, which can be seen here.
Finally, HomePod OS 12.3 adds support for connecting to specific types of enterprise networks. The HomePod automatically installs new software updates, but you can manually check for updates in the Home app on your iOS device or Mac. On your iOS device, make sure it is updated to the latest version of iOS. Then, open the Home app, and tap Home Settings > Software Update > Install. On your Mac, make sure it’s updated to the latest macOS version, then open the Home app, click Edit > Edit Home > Software Update > Install. A white spinning light appears on the top of HomePod while it’s updating, and users shouldn’t unplug HomePod until the update is complete.
Apple TV+, the company’s subscription video streaming service to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, will be available later this year through the Apple TV app. It’s likely that the next big software releases from Apple will be iOS 13, tvOS 13, watchOS 6, and macOS 10.15, which could be announced at WWDC 2019 next month.