Apple has a history of launching products with a relatively limited feature set, and then expanding on them over time. With tvOS, introduced in the latest generation of Apple TV, the company seems to be taking this approach, but some developers are getting impatient and taking things into their own hands.
One missing feature often mentioned in connection with the Apple TV is the ability to watch video while browsing or launching another app, also known as picture-in-picture. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith decided to find out for himself how much of a challenge it would be to add this functionality to his own app, and it turns out it wasn’t all that difficult.
Troughton-Smith shared video footage of the feature on YouTube, and it seems to fit right in with the look of tvOS. “Wrote a PiP setup for my TV app. Love how it works – totally fits on tvOS. Not sure why not built-in yet,” the developer tweeted.
Given how easy the feature apparently was to implement, it’s puzzling that Apple has yet to add the feature on its own. As the demo shows, the Apple TV hardware is more than up to the task, and the iPad even got this feature in iOS 9, where it’s aptly named Picture in Picture.
For its part, Apple hasn’t announced any such functionality for the Apple TV, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on the way. The company could just be holding it back to release as part of a larger update.
Last week a report surfaced that not only was Apple still planning on offering a streaming TV service — which was originally supposed to launch with the fourth-generation Apple TV — but was in talks to produce its own original content. The report said that Apple planned to announce both the new content and streaming service in September, when it will also show the iPhone 7.
If picture-in-picture does officially come to the Apple TV, the September event would certainly be a good time to show it. In the meantime, take a look at the video to see the feature in action.
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