Apple just released tvOS 9.1.1. The list of changes is quite short is the only visible change is a brand new Podcasts app. The old Apple TV already had a Podcasts app, but it looks like the company had to delay the launch of this less important app.
This app is everything you’d expect if you’re familiar with the Podcasts app on iOS. There are two main components — your subscriptions and the podcast directory. If you use iCloud to sync your podcasting data, you’ll find all your favorite subscriptions in the Apple TV app. And of course, given that you’re browsing podcast on your TVs, today’s new tvOS app supports video podcasts.
There are a few rough edges in the Podcasts app. First, Apple doesn’t sync your position in unfinished podcasts. Some podcasts tend to be quite long, and many people listen to them over multiple sessions. Instead, you’ll have to scrub to where you were. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s not convenient. Similarly, you can listen to podcasts in the background, but you can’t control playback. Once you pause your podcast, you can’t start it again.
As with recent minor iOS and OS X updates, this tvOS update could be considered as an intermediate update before Apple introduces new features in tvOS 9.2. The next version should bring Bluetooth keyboard support for those pesky passwords, the ability to create app folders on the home screen and a new app switching interface.
Slowly but surely, Apple is fixing all the shortcomings of its new TV platform. Many developers would like to see even more iOS APIs on the Apple TV. So it’s also going to be interesting to see whether the company is going to port more iOS features to tvOS in the next major revision.