At the Apple event Wednesday, the company debuted a new Apple TV complete with an overhauled remote that puts Siri and search at users’ fingertips.
With the press of the a Siri button on the new remote and a, “Hey, Siri”, users can search across content apps and pull up information while they’re watching a show or movie or listening to music.
In the demo, Apple showed off asking Siri what the weather is in Juneau, Alaska. An overlay appears at the bottom of the screen without interrupting the action playing out in the movie. To get more weather details, you can swipe up on the new glass touch surface area of the remote, and the movie will pause while the screen is filled with a more complete weather forecast.
You can also ask Siri for things like sports scores (“Hey, Siri, what was the score of the Giants game?”) and other information that will be displayed in an overlay.
This is similar to what Google is doing with Now On Tap and Microsoft is doing with Bing Snapshots — i.e., providing answers and more content without having to leave an email, text or other app or browser content on Android devices. The future of search is in being less a destination to go find information than functionality that’s built into the fabric of whatever content users are engaging with at the moment with minimal interruption. And Apple is getting into the game.
That includes moves to make inter-app navigation either easier with deep linking or unnecessary altogether. On the new iPhones, you’ll be able to use the new 3D touch to pull up a web page by pressing down on a link in an email or text without leaving that app and opening a browser.
Siri will also be able to search for content across iTunes, HBO, Netflix, Showtime and Hulu on Apple TV. So no more dodging in and out of apps to find out which service has the movie or show you want to watch. Apple says it will be adding more apps to that lineup.
And, for those of us who are constantly asking, “What did she say?”, our co-watchers will be relieved to know we can now bug Siri with these questions. Siri will automatically go back 15 seconds and temporarily display closed captions for that portion of the dialogue.
The new Apple TV is expected to be available sometime in late October.