Picture-in-Picture (PiP) has been a popular feature on Apple’s platforms for some years, enabling users to pop out a single video into a floating window while browsing the rest of the operating system. Now, it appears that the tech giant is working on upgrading Picture-in-Picture mode, at least for live sports matches in the Apple TV app.
A look into Apple’s future plans for Picture-in-Picture for TV app
Recently, code references spotted by Steve Moser in the iOS 16.5 betas describe a new “Multiview” Picture-in-Picture experience for the Apple TV app. This new feature supports up to four simultaneous streams at once, making it perfect for sports fans who want to keep up with multiple games at the same time.
The Apple TV app already live-streams sports games, including MLS Season Pass and MLB Friday Night Baseball. Apple is rumored to be actively negotiating more sports streaming deals in the future, making the Multiview feature all the more exciting.
Quad-box PIP streaming is a feature already offered by some third-party apps like ESPN and FuboTV on tvOS. So, it makes sense that Apple wants to match that experience for its own sports streaming. While references to a TV app multiview feature have existed in the iOS codebase for a while, the latest beta includes a lot more references, indicating that work on the feature is ramping up.
The new strings also give us a much clearer picture of what to expect. The Multiview feature appears to be targeted at sports for now and seems to be a feature of the TV app specifically rather than a system-wide video player feature. When browsing sports in the TV app, the user will be asked whether to start watching the stream in full screen or to start watching in Multiview mode.
The strings mention a grid layout and an error message will be shown if the user attempts to add a fifth game to the grid, implying the aforementioned four-streams-at-once capability.
However, Apple has not yet officially announced any plans for the feature, and there’s a chance it may never be released. Moreover, although the number of code references is increasing, it is not guaranteed to be ready to ship anytime soon. It is likely that it won’t be available until sometime during the iOS 17 software update cycle.