Introducing Apple TV Apps At WWDC

It’s not the most exciting announcement Apple could make at WWDC, with the vast majority of people who pay attention already assuming apps are coming to the Apple TV, but it’s an open hole that still needs to be filled. Sure, recent rumors of deals with major labels might have a lot of people hoping for and expecting a new music service, but if history is any indicator, a new app store will not only revamp the static set-top device, but it should tap into a currently dominant goldmine.

The June 10th WWDC keynote will be one month short of the 5th anniversary of the iOS AppStore opening. Looking back, Apple TV currently feels exactly like the iPhone right before it got 3rd party apps. Whereas, it’s a functional device perfectly content to live in its own little world, but the potential is clear as day, growing long in the tooth each day apps aren’t available.

iPhone apps like Instagram, Vine, and LetterPress didn’t invent the categories they dominate, but they were fundamentally mobile – and iPhone specifically – apps first and thought about what they could do with what the iPhone was offering. They were a new breed of apps. Similarly, apps we initially think of for Apple TV mainly include video services and possibly music services. Those apps are obvious and expected, but what about the first company to make a calendar app that’s designed only for TV screens, some new innovative way of changing what the typical calendar layout currently looks like to adapt to the living room? Surely there will be wild app ideas that just work, despite our current hesitation to browsing the web on 50" screen.

Samsung jumped on the Smart TV idea a while ago, currently providing hundreds of apps including the game of our generation, Angry Birds. The response and enthusiasm for those apps and Smart TV functions? Lackluster. It hasn’t spurred on a revolution, but merely given Samsung talking points when introducing new models of televisions. Samsung’s TV apps might be so under appreciated that when Apple decides to open apps to the TV, they’ll be thought of as the me-too in the space, rather than making the first moves.

The time is right. Introducing apps now gives lead in time for testing and growth before – if they ever do – introducing a full-on television. Personally, I’ll be more surprised if Apple doesn’t introduce apps for Apple TV next week, than if they do. I, for one, can’t wait to get Amazon Prime videos on my Apple TV.

 
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