Apple iPhone 16 To Gain Unique Feature Upgrade In Coming Weeks

Updated July 6 with details of other upcoming Apple TV news, more features coming in tvOS 18 this fall, and home device news.

Here’s how you know Apple is getting stuff right: when it introduces a feature you’ve never thought of but once here, you think, of course, that’s brilliant. That’s what a new iPhone feature is like, and it’s also coming to Apple TV: a subtle but clever update to the functioning of the mute button. Even better news, it’s just one of a slew of video playback features coming to Apple TV this fall in the next big software release, tvOS 18.

One of these is a gift for anyone who finds that hearing dialogue is sometimes tricky. Enhance Dialogue is designed to make the vocals clearer against music, special effects and background noise. The feature exists now but will be upgraded thanks to machine learning in tvOS 18 and it will work with AirPods, speakers connected by HDMI and Bluetooth speakers instead of just HomePod as now. The settings increase to four options: off, enhance, boost and isolate.

ForbesApple To Upgrade iPhone 16 Design In Important Way, New Leak Claims

Another video playback change coming to Apple TV is support for full widescreen at 21:9 aspect ratio, which hasn’t been there before. What’s more along with the subtitles feature connected to the mute button, detailed below, Live Captions for FaceTime, currently available on iPhone, will come to tvOS as well.

You can already use an iPhone as an Apple TV camera for apps like FaceTime. From this fall, “With tvOS 18, users will have the option to set a specific iPhone as the dedicated Apple TV camera, which will always be ready for use,” as 9to5Mac reports.

And then there’s InSight, which lets you display details about the actors in a scene, or songs played in a show. Amazon’s Prime Video has had something like this for years, so this is a welcome addition here. Other updates include a redesigned Fitness+ app for Apple TV and new screensavers.

There’s also just been a leak that the Apple TV range is changing in other ways too.

MacRumors has identified code “discovered on Apple’s backend” which says that Apple is working on a new home accessory to sit alongside the HomePod and Apple TV.

The report says, “The code references a device with the identifier ‘HomeAccessory17,1,’ which is a new identifier category. The name is similar to the ‌HomePod‌’s ‘AudioAccessory’ identifier.”

That identifier is especially intriguing because it suggests by mentioning 17,1 that it may include the same processor that is expected in the Apple iPhone 16, the A18 chip. Which means the new device will be capable of advanced features, perhaps relating to AI.

More than this, the code refers to two models which haven’t been released and are Apple TV devices. This fuels earlier rumors that a new Apple TV (or two) could be released this year, perhaps in September when the iPhone 16 series is expected to debut.

But the big news here is the suggestion that a new device is going to be so powerful it needs the A18 chip in it, whatever it turns out to be. Could it be the rumored hybrid of Apple TV with display? That would be innovative.

Apple has a history of intriguing innovations on Apple TV. Years ago, it improved video playback in a way no other company before—or since—has done.

If you miss what someone on TV said, you could pick up your Siri remote and say, “What did he/she/they say?” Whichever pronoun you use, the result would be the same. The video would rewind by 10 seconds, then play the bit you didn’t hear again, with subtitles front-and-center, and just for those few seconds. If you haven’t tried it, it’s fantastic.

Now, with the next-gen software for iPhone and Apple TV, iOS 18 and tvOS 18 respectively, there’ll be another key innovation.

It will work on the upcoming iPhone 16 series, but also iPhones all the way back to the iPhone XS, once the software is installed. The software is currently in its second developer beta. It will come to public beta later this month and reach general release in September.

So, how could anyone improve the mute button? It just works, right? Apple’s change is brilliant: when you mute video playback, either on the iPhone or by pressing the mute button on the Apple TV remote, as the silence descends, subtitles automatically appear onscreen. Tap the button again and as the sound fades in, the subtitles fade out. How cool is that?

The feature will also be available, with a satisfying sense of completeness, on the iPad and Mac when you’re watching video using the default video player.

Now, I can see some drawbacks to this: if you’ve muted the TV, or iPhone or whatever, so you can take a call or listen to your significant other across the living room, say, and you continue to focus on the screen because you can still see the words, instead of listening to your interlocutor, you may come a cropper, be warned.

However, overall, this is one of the neatest upgrades for watching video that has appeared for ages. Only Apple.

ForbesApple Confirms iPhone Upgrade With 2 Key New Features Is Here In Days

Leave a Comment