Apple Will Give Developers Access to Apple TV’s Universal Search via New API


The Apple TV is set to launch later this month and one of the key features of the new device is universal search, which allows users to find content across a number of services using text entry or voice search with Siri.

At launch, the universal search feature will work with iTunes, Netflix, HBO, and Showtime. In a follow-up story on his interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook last month, BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski published some additional details on Apple TV shared by Cook.

The biggest news is that developers will indeed be able to make their own content available to universal search via an API. In the interview, Cook said:

“At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially. But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.

I think that many, many people will want to be in that search. And that’s great for users. Think about your experience today. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have the content you want to watch in an app, you sometimes don’t remember exactly where that show is, so you’re going to Netflix or Hulu or Showtime. You shouldn’t have to do that. It should be very simple.”

Cook notes that universal search will be intelligent enough to know which services the user is subscribed to, highlighting which sources are available for free or if a subscription is needed.