Apple on Thursday released iBooks StoryTime, a new first-party tvOS app that brings handpicked children's books to the big screen with Read-Aloud narration, fun graphics and animations, and Siri Remote compatibility.
Quietly introduced on the tvOS App Store, iBooks StoryTime acts as a hub for iBooks with Read-Aloud functionality, a feature designed to help children build reading comprehension skills through interactive audio and visual cues. Perhaps best described as karaoke for children's books, Read-Aloud titles play customized narration audio synced to a moving on-screen text prompter.
Combined with fourth-generation Apple TV hardware, the app offers a unique interactive reading experience for parents and their kids, and presents a constructive alternative to gaming apps that dominate the platform.
When Read-Aloud narration is turned on, book pages flip automatically as readers progress through a title. With the feature turned off, parents and kids can flip through the book at their own pace using Siri Remote.
For now, iBooks StoryTime is limited to a batch of kid's titles curated by Apple's App Store editors, each of which can be purchased directly from the onscreen app interface. In addition to in-app content, users can buy additional Read-Aloud titles on iBooks from iPhone, iPad and Mac. If an Apple TV is connected to a family iCloud account, compatible content purchased by any member will automatically appear in the iBooks StoryTime library.
iBooks StoryTime is available now as a free download from the tvOS App Store. Apple is giving away a free Read-Aloud title, "Dora's Big Buddy Race Read-Along Storybook," to let users test out the new product.