Why the Apple TV App Store Will Conquer the World
The App Store is about to get a lot more fun.
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) heavily anticipated (and perpetually rumored) TV debut is largely believed to be a device that will change the way we look at television. It will be about content, first and foremost, analysts say. Picture quality will be great but not necessarily on par with a high-end set from Sony (NYSE: SNE) or Panasonic (NYSE: PC), rumors suggest. There will be an intriguing user interface (touch screen or voice activation? No one knows), and a cornucopia of elements that will make consumers rush out and spend $1,500+ on a new set.
One thing nobody seems to talk about, however, is what Apple will do with the App Store. This might be because people assume it will be an extension of what they have already seen – a large-screen, high-res version of the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad gaming experience. But why would Apple let the extra screen space go to waste?
Let's take a look at the manys ways Apple will use that space – and the 10 reasons why the App Store will reign supreme on any Apple-made television.
10. The Store is Already Fully Stocked
If nothing else, developers from all over the world could quickly revamp their most popular apps for use with Apple's first television. When consumers fire it up for the first time, they would be treated to an endless array of interactive goodies.
9. The Next Innovative Step
When the App Store first arrived, it was an amusing idea that few people supported – least of all the game industry. “This won't go anywhere,” some said. “It will never be a big player in gaming,” others insisted. When I inquired about doing a story regarding Super Monkey Ball (one of the first major games to come to the iPhone), the publisher at one of the sites I was freelancing for at the time told me I didn't need to bother.
In retrospect, this whole thing makes me laugh, because now everyone wants to cover the App Store. But over the past year or two, the online venue has become a little stale. While there is a constant stream of new apps being introduced, the App Store itself has not evolved.
Expect this to change with the release of Apple's first television set, both in terms of what you can buy and in the way that the content is presented and delivered to the user.
8. New and Exclusive Large-Screen Experiences
Right now, an “app” is primarily thought of as a simple, low-cost piece of software that is designed to help users (ex: an app designed to teach you how to cook) or entertain them. How might an Apple TV app differ?
Don't expect to see too many innovative apps when the TV is first released. Initially, there will only be ports (Angry Birds, anyone?) and a couple that are interesting but do not take advantage of what the TV has to offer. In the months after the TV is available, however, expect developers to launch a host of original creations that make Apple's TV so much more exciting than a regular television set.
Not all of the iPad's apps will work well when displayed on a TV. For example, you probably wouldn't necessarily want to run a cooking app since you won't be able to pick up the TV and carry it around with ease. But imagine a full-screen, fully-interactive guitar teaching app that can use the television's larger screen to display multiple images and multiple angles at one time. That would be so much better than anything an iPhone or iPad app could offer.
7. Superior Film Presentations
Who doesn't like a great Blu-ray or DVD menu? They're hard to come by these days now that the cool factor has faded away. But when you pop in a DVD and the studio presents you with some cool and inspired (read: eye-popping) visual, you can't help but take notice.
Apple has already attempted to one-up DVDs with exclusive special features. But when it comes to purchasing a film, the disc-based mediums are still the best way to go.
With Apple TV, that could finally change, as developers could create special apps within each film that blow the DVD presentation out of the water. Alternatively, studios could design an app that integrates seamlessly with all of their films and presents a unique view, different menu visuals and options, etc., depending on the film you choose to watch.
6. Better Video Games
It's not yet known if Apple's TV will come with a remote, a controller, or any other traditional device for channel surfing. But however you interact with it, you can be sure that its App Store will contain video games.
From a graphic perspective, the iPad is much more powerful than the iPhone and iPod Touch. Therefore, it only makes sense that Apple's TV will be even more powerful, allowing developers to create experiences that are (if nothing else) more visually appealing.
5. TV 4.0 and Beyond
Apple needs content, and content providers want us to pay for it. One way to accomplish both tasks is for TV networks to develop special apps that provide users with content that is truly unique (and worth paying for), such as being able to change the viewing angle during a live sporting event. While this sort of thing has been contemplated in the past, it has yet to be introduced to mainstream viewers.
4. All Your Apps on One Device
Since this TV will be the most powerful Apple device available (next to a MacBook Pro, of course), the company could allow it to run any app. There may be limitations in terms of screen resolution and whatnot. But in general, the transition should be quite seamless.
3. Superior Multiplayer Experiences
There are many creative things Apple could do with a 42-inch screen. For starters, it could introduce new forms of multiplayer gaming by allowing other iDevices to interact with the television-specific apps. We've already seen a hint of this with board games that can be played using both an iPhone and an iPad.
2. Everything Wii U Can Do, iPad and Apple's TV Could Do Better
Let's be clear about one thing: Nintendo is the game company in this battle. Unless the day comes when Apple decides to get serious about gaming, you cannot expect Apple devices to provide a superior gaming experience.
That said, Wii U is about more than just gaming – it's about doing a multitude of things with its tablet controller. And while I like the design and the button layout of the Wii U tablet, there is no doubt that the iPad is still the better device. Note that I said “device” and not “game system.”
Thus, when it comes to web-surfing, drawing, and other simple actions – all things Wii U promises to deliver in the form of games or “apps” – the iPad/Apple television combo should be light-years ahead of anything non-gaming that Nintendo produces.
1. Top-of-the-Line Pay TV Integration
Whether or not Apple can pull off the dream of an a la carte cable service, we don't yet know. But with a TV as powerful as the one that's rumored, Apple will at the very least be able to merge the worlds of streaming video and on-demand cable options into one app environment. And if the user can't tell the difference between a movie he paid $4 to rent from Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), or iTunes, Apple will have achieved true pay TV integration.
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