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Developing for Apple TV Part 3: The Awesome Possibilities

06 Oct 2015
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Over the course of the last two weeks, we brought you–courtesy of our dev team–a couple posts about developing for the Apple TV, including one write-up on what’s familiar and another on what differences we can expect. We’re currently experimenting with the Apple TV and the different ways to innovate in that space, but for now, we’ll just give you a little insider info via notes from our brainstorming session… 

As does anything, the Apple TV has its strengths and it has its limitations. In terms of the former, the device gives you the ability to stream assets as you go, which is—of course—convenient. The peripherals are also excellent, as are the touchpad and voice input, while the tvOS supports handoff to and from the iPhone. When it comes to limitations, there are a few. There’s no mapkit or webView, for example, and an MFI developer is required.

But what’s more fun than talking nuts and bolts? Talking possibilities.

Imagine, for example, linking media content to your IoT home devices and even your phone for a true transmedia experience. The lights flicker during the scariest part of the movie or the killer makes a call to the victim and YOUR phone rings (dun dun dun). Also, in terms of connectedness, one cool application would be linking the Apple TV to the Apple watch with content that adapts and reacts to biometrics from the Apple watch. Your P90x workout could change based on your heart rate, for example, or you could even arrange it so that the TV won’t turn on until you walk a certain number of steps. (In terms of fitness, we’ve found the best motivation is the new season of Game of Thrones.)

Also, while we’re talking entertainment, this presents opportunity for games that require both mobile and on-screen mechanics to succeed–say, a role-playing game in which the Apple TV is the node and your iPhone serves as a Wifi-enabled controller that functions as your own personal card, dice, etc. It could also make the process of ingesting media more interactive and immersive than ever. You could theoretically enjoy multiple views or even storylines of the same show (reminiscent of choose-your-own-adventure books) and cycle screens for different viewpoints and perspectives. Her Story, for instance, would undoubtedly be awesome on the Apple TV. And have you ever wanted to draw on your television? Answer: probably not. But if that’s what you’re into, it could be possible to overlay your “art” on top of your media content…or just fill in those Wheel of Fortune squares.

Another way the Apple TV could be utilized is in focus group testing for streaming and gauging reaction in real-time, while when it comes to communication, the Apple TV could actually replace your phone in some ways, with webcam peripheral allowing for realtime chat…

Your mom is going to be so excited to see your pretty face in high-def.

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Looking for part one or two?