Updated Apple TV app arrives ahead of Apple TV+’s fall launch

Here’s a big Apple TV update. Not THE big Apple TV update. The whole Apple TV+ thing is still forthcoming, but this major update to the app should go a ways toward setting the stage for its arrival in the fall.

The new version of the app arrives today across a slew of different platforms, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and all of Samsung’s 2019 Smart TVs (and select 2018 models) — per the announcement the company made earlier this year at the big TV+ event.

That event also offered previews of a lot of what’s new here. The whole thing breaks down into three key categories: Apple TV channels, a new recommendation system for iTunes movies and TV shows and a new dedicated kids section.

Channels are the biggest change here — it’s essentially Apple’s push to transform Apple TV into its cable provider. Available channels include HBO, Starz, Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade, and others, with CBS All Access and MTV Hits coming in the future.

A big piece of the offering is the ability to download and watch shows offline, so users can, say, download episodes of Game of Thrones for a long flight. This is, notably, the first time HBO has offered that ability to a third party. Apple won’t say what the download limit is, but it’s likely large enough that most users won’t hit.

Once subscribed, channels will be available through Family Sharing, with up to six accounts using their Apple ID. Speaking of families, the update also includes a devoted Kids section, which includes curated family-friendly TV shows and movies.

Apple has applied editorial curation across the board here, similar to what it’s done with other apps like Books and Music. The app uses a combination of algorithms and editorial insight, designed to help users figure out what to watch next before scrolling to the end of the page.

In addition to the above, select Samsung, Vizio, LG and Sony sets will be able to access it using app mirroring.