In an interview with BuzzFeed News Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has revealed that the company will soon open an API for developers to take advantage of the Universal Search feature in tvOS on the fourth generation Apple TV.
When Apple TV 4 launches though later this month, its universal search feature will initially only work with content partners like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO.
“At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially,” Cook said. “But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.”
Down the line, the company will open up the APIs for other content providers and apps to take advantage of. Cook is positive that other developers will be eager to be a part of the universal search feature in Apple TV 4.
The CEO of Apple also reveals in the interview that Apple will not favor any particular content provider, and automatically prioritise the one where the particular content you are searching for is available for free. Apple has also worked out how to display results in cases where different seasons of the show are available through different providers.
In other words, if I’m a Netflix subscriber and I want to binge-watch a five-season series, will an Apple TV search tell me that the first three seasons are available to me for free on Netflix, the fourth is available for purchase on iTunes, and the fifth is available only on HBO? Or will it leave me to work that out myself?
Cook said the former scenario is the one Apple’s implemented. “It will be clear which service is free,” he said. In other words, Apple will show each season or episode in all the services in which it’s available to you and iTunes if they have it.
The new Apple TV is scheduled to go on sale later this month. Besides acting as a cable box, the fourth generation Apple TV is also aimed at casual gaming by Apple.