Apple TV Updated With A New Categories Section

Apple TV’s App Store now has a Categories section, a feature which was missing at launch alongside Top Charts. The latter section rolled out on Monday, confirming that the new TV App Store is largely filled with games and other video and media applications. The addition of Categories, meanwhile, is notable because app discovery has been something of an issue on Apple’s new app platform – without charts and category sections, users were only able to find apps by browsing through Apple’s own Featured collections, or searching for a specific title.

Some developers weren’t too happy about that, as you can imagine. They complained that they spent time to be first to launch an Apple TV app which, then, no one could find.

But Apple quickly responded to those complaints by upgrading the user interface of its Apple TV App Store to include the missing features in a matter of days.

It’s likely that Apple first needed to give the store a few days to grow before it turned on rankings. At launch, the store had “hundreds” of applications available, but that selection topped 1,000 by Monday. Of course, that’s still a small number of apps compared to the iOS App Store, which now has well over a million apps and games.

Apple turned on Top Charts after a number of developers and other third parties came up with alternative means of scraping the TV App Store data to determine the real-time rankings of the newly launched apps. This kind of data is useful to developers who want to see which apps and games are doing well, or how their own is faring.

However, while Categories have now been rolled out to Apple TV, they’re not very extensive. Currently, only “Games” and “Entertainment” are showing.

That likely indicates these are the only two groups of apps that have seen enough activity to warrant their own section at this time. Other categories, as we knew from prior third-party reports, have been sparsely populated – in some cases, they weren’t even seeing double-digits in terms of the number of apps they included.

That means if Apple rolled out dedicated sections for these other categories now, there may be only a few apps included – and that would be a bad user experience. As those additional categories fill up, however, they’ll likely pop up here as well.

The addition of Categories was first spotted by iDownloadBlog, which was running a beta build of tvOS. However, MacRumors was able to restart their Apple TV device a few times to get the Categories feature to appear, indicating it’s only beginning to roll out now to end users’ devices. We were also able to see the new section by plugging in a new Apple TV and launching the App Store for the first time.

(image credit: MacRumors