Apple TV apps – be patient, y’all!
Before the latest iteration of Apple TV was announced, the rumor mill was buzzing with an iOS based Apple TV. There was probably a bit of disappointment when el Jobso announced the newest Apple TV without “iOS” being uttered. People’s dreams of an Apple TV app ecosystem were shattered.
But according to this article, Apple TV does indeed run iOS. I figured as much (seriously, I’m not just saying that to impress you; I’d tell you if it surprised me) since the Apple TV is running one of Apple’s own chips, and the effort to port desktop OS X to the Apple TV just to use a modified front end would have been kind of wasteful. So it makes sense for them to be using an iOS codebase (which in and of itself is an OS X descendant).
So, why no apps?
Simple. Apple TV is new, and Apple isn’t ready for it yet. You can’t just say “let’s have apps on Apple TV” and it’s done. You have to build an SDK for Apple TV. You have to decide what controls to give developers, and what APIs they should use. You need to make decisions about what kinds of interfaces you’ll push developers to make. The 10 foot interface concept hasn’t really been mastered by anyone yet, which is kind of similar to how touch interfaces hadn’t been mastered before iPhone came out, and desktop GUIs hadn’t been mastered until the Mac was developed. And come to think of it, MP3 player user interfaces hadn’t really been mastered before Apple developed one. I’m starting to see a pattern here.
The thing is, although Apple’s had Apple TV for years, the market’s finally starting to get an appetite for one of what Apple TV does. In the advent of Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix, people are feeling the death of broadcast, and people who aren’t total nerds are starting to want something better than what other companies have been giving them. And Apple will dominate for sure. But they need to get it together themselves first before they let developers loose on this.
And when Apple does release a proper SDK, it’s not going to be anything too fancy, and it’s probably going to lack features people really want, but it’ll do core stuff very nicely. And people will bitch about Apple withholding features, but Apple will release those features when it’s good and damn well ready.
But I think it will be cool if Apple TV gets some APIs to allow for gaming with some Apple-released Bluetooth controllers. I’d love to see some cute little games out there.