How WWDC 2013 paved the way for Apps on the Apple TV

Posted on Friday June 14, 2013

Disclaimer: I am an iOS Developer and these are just some thoughts surrounding the publicly available information.

On Monday, Tim Cook and the team at Apple unveiled OSX Mavericks and iOS 7 to the world. While there was no mention of the “iTV” or an Apple TV where one can write Apps for it, there were some subtle signs that point to its pending arrival.

One of the announced features for OSX Mavericks was the ability to use a High Definition Television as a fully functional display. Here’s the quote from Apple:

“With AirPlay and Apple TV, your HDTV works as a fully functional display. So while you’re using your TV to present a slideshow or stream a video lecture, you can take notes on your Mac or chat using Messages”

Now if one were to build an App for the Apple TV, how exactly would they go about deploying the App to the Device? Hmmm… I can see a scenario where I have my code written in Xcode and then choosing my Apple TV as the targeted device for deployment. Makes sense right?

While Apple was kicking off WWDC on Monday, Microsoft and Sony were also unveiling new features for their next generation consoles: Xbox One and the PS4. Apple’s chance to compete in this space is not by making a console, but bringing iOS gaming to the television through Apple TV. The next key announcement was that iOS 7 would officially support game controllers as well as a number of new API’s to make game development more powerful and easier.

Now I imagine there will be several games for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad that will take advantage of these new abilities but how much more sense does it make to use a controller for a game being played on your television? Makes sense right?

While Apple did not come out and announce a new Apple TV on Monday, they did lay the foundation for a future update where Developers will be able to build Apps for it. I eagerly await this opportunity and look forward to the future where Apps on our televisions seem just as common as Apps on our phones do today.