It seems that things are shaping up quite nicely for the new Apple TV, long delayed but will soon be rocking the living room. More than just the multimedia box its predecessor was, this new gen Apple TV is an entertainment nexus which now includes even gaming. With the wealth of content available to it, users might find themselves drowning in titles, names, and content sources. Luckily, Apple plans on opening up its universal search not just to its commercial partners but to third party developers as well.
This universal search feature is easy enough to understand. Users enter a query, like a title of a movie or the name of an actor, and the Apple TV will pop up content sources that have matching results, whether they be from iTunes, Netflix, HBO, or more. It’s almost like the app indexing feature that Google has recently introduced on Android, but more focused on content that’s available through the Apple TV.
Normally, such a feature is limited to special partners and it will be so at least from the start. According to CEO Tim Cook, when the Apple TV launches sometime this month, universal search will initially support five sources, a list comprised of Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, and, of course, Apple’s own ITunes. Search will clearly present results from those different sources and, if the search returns multiple hits, it will highlight which ones are free.
Eventually, however, Apple will let other developers into the club. Apple will be opening up the universal search API at some point in the future. This feature will help users sift through potentially dozens of available content from dozens of supported Apple TV apps. When Apple will open the API gates, however, Cook doesn’t exactly tell, though app developers are likely on the edge of their seats now that word about it has gone out.