In an interview with BuzzFeed, CEO Apple Tim Cook revealed that the company will soon open up the tvOS Universal Search API for Apple TV Gen 4 to developers.
At the time of Apple TV 4 launch later this month, Universal Search will only be performed on affiliate content: iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO.
“At launch, we will be working with iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and HBO – so the universal search will start with these five big players,” said Tim Cook. “But we'll also open up the API so everyone else can join.”
At a later date, the company will open the API to other content and app producers who want to work with this feature. Cook thinks they will all want to be indexed in universal search Apple TV 4.
The head of Apple also said that Apple will not give preference to any of the individual manufacturers and in the top of each search query will be the one with which the content you need will be available for free. Also Apple decided what to do in a situation where different seasons of a show belong to different channels.
In other words, suppose I'm a Netflix subscriber and want to watch all five seasons of the show at once; Will a search Apple TV tell me that I can watch the first three seasons for free on Netflix, the fourth is available for purchase on iTunes, and the fifth is only available on HBO? Or will I have to figure it out myself?
Cook said that Apple implements the first of these scenarios. “It will be clear which service will show you the content for free,” he said. In other words, Apple TV will display each season or episode in all services where it is available, and in iTunes if it is there.
Sales of the new Apple TV will begin later this month. Beyond cable TV, the fourth generation Apple TV aims to be a casual gaming platform from Apple.