If this new Apple patent pans out published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple TV users may be getting a new interface soon.
And this new UI would finally allow you to search for content across all channels and resume watching from any source from the main screen.
Searching across all content providers is a feature that Roku has had for a long time: you just need to go to search, enter the name of a series, click on the series title, and the series will be shown as available from as many providers as you have installed. You can find episodes and seasons from Better Call Saul, for example, from Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, or AMC.
That way people will be able to have a single point of access to browse all available content. This centralized universal interface will also include other rows of content from all Apple TV apps, including lines for “Continue watching”, “Popular movies”, “Popular TV series” and “Recommended”. This is something that Roky doesn’t include, however. The continue watching, especially, will be particularly useful.
It’s hard to imagine Apple providing a way for users to access content across all services, especially knowing that this feature may affect its bottom line: if a user finds a series at a better price or free at a third-party content provider like Amazon, they will not rent the Apple version. It will be extremely convenient for consumers, though.
The interface is not currently present in the tvOS 12 beta — which is supposed to come out next week — but who knows, maybe Apple will pull this one out of nowhere at the September 12 event. The timing of its publication is a little bit suspect, though, given that it's so close to the event.