Thoughts on WWDC 2016

Looks like the rest of web has already weighed in on their predictions, so let’s jump right in with the Official 2016 Late to the Party WWDC Wishlist!

Unified Queue for tvOS

Last year I wrote Building a Better TV Experience, detailing what I saw as the must haves for a good TV experience. Some of it was indulgent (I’m not sure we need or want notifications while vegging out) and some obvious-in-restrospect (of course Apps were the new channel).

Having used the AppleTV as my only television consumption device for the past ~9 months, I feel justified on one count: apps-as-channels only works if there’s a unified queue to keep it all organized.

Every DVR on the market has recordings, Netflix has My List, YouTube has Watch Later and Hulu has … well, whatever they’re using now (seriously, guys—find a model and stick with it for a few months).

The idea of a queue isn’t original, but with our content spread across multiple apps, it’s never been more important. I won’t speak for the rest of you, but it is the greatest pain in my privileged life to look in 15 different places to see if there’s anything to watch.

How would it work?

Finding and subscribing to content would work as it does today. Searching, browsing, and adding shows to My List would still happen within the confines of the Netflix app. When that new content is added, the Netflix app would push that addition to Queue.app along with a bit of metadata (cover art, episode title, number in series, etc).

It’d be similar for any other actions. Finished an episode? Hulu could ping Queue.app to mark it as watched. New season of Man in the High Castle posted? Amazon could automatically push those episodes into your queue.

From that point, Queue.app would only act as an aggregator and launcher. Selecting any piece of media would open in the sponsoring app. Just like today, that app would control the experience.

Continuity for tvOS

If I had to guess, I’d say Apple considers AirPlay to be the answer to continuity on the AppleTV, but that’s not a proper solution. There’s no good reason to dedicate two devices (the iOS device and the AppleTV) to watching a video when the YouTube app on the AppleTV is just as capable as the one on my iPad.

Complications come to iOS

I’m not generally too high on the Apple Watch (it’s just. so. slow), but I wear it every day for the complications—instant access to quick data.

I won’t pretend to know how it would work or where it would live (although I hate "widgets" on my Android device, so let’s steer clear of that), but a customized lock screen with the greater flexibility of a higher powered device is tantalizing.

Wrapping Up

As I sat down to write this, it was amazing to me just how far these devices have come and how little I need from them.

I’ve never made a public prediction before—and I’m fully prepared to be disappointed—but I look forward to reading about it all after the keynote!

@nathanziarek

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