Tim Cook, five years ago.

It’s been five years since Apple announced the TV app—auspiciously on the same day it unveiled the first-generation Touch Bar MacBook Pros. A year earlier, Tim Cook first declared that “the future of TV is apps,” but in short order Apple realized that the future wasn’t hunting for different TV shows and movies across a half-dozen different apps, all with completely different navigation experiences.

So in came the TV app. Apple was so confident about it, the company changed the behavior of its own remote control so that the home-screen button no longer went to a home screen full of apps, and instead just launched the TV app.



Unfortunately, the TV app still hasn’t replaced the home screen—in part because it still doesn’t represent all the content that is available on Apple’s devices. Some wheeling and dealing brought Amazon’s Prime Video app into the fold, but Netflix remains separate—probably forever. (Netflix knows that its subscribers will open up its app to browse and watch something, and sees only disadvantages in mixing its content in with other services and providing Apple with valuable viewing data.)

The TV app experience is also subpar. It’s largely presenting links to other apps, meaning the other apps need to properly handle your login status and play back video.…

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