New Apple TV – apps enter the living room

With the introduction of tvOS Apple finally opens its set top box for app developers. The new system is a version of iOS especially adapted for the use on TVs.

Accordingly, the new Apple TV comes with the chipset we know from the iPhone 6 and the remote control has a new set of input features including a microphone, a touch panel, as well as a gyroscope and acceleration sensors. However, the most important change with the new generation, is the introduction of the App Store to your TV. Thus developers now have an unprecedented opportunity to bring their apps to the big screen in the living room. But not every app we know from our mobile makes sense for the new device.

Top 5 app use cases for the Apple TV

Video: The main feature of the old Apple TV will be also the same one the new version. For providers of video streaming, it is now important to react quickly and to offer its services as a native tvOS app.

Gaming: With the new remote control and the significant increase in performance by the A8 chip, the Apple TV became a small gaming console. Many developers of iOS games have already announced that they will publish their games for the new platform as well.

Music: In many living rooms one finds powerful surround systems that, due to the high cost, often are not a connected device yet. The Apple TV can take over this function and with Apple Music there is already a widespread and well known app available. The competition has no choice other than following this function quickly.

Shopping: Couch Commerce is on everyone’s lips right now. Shopping on the TV is therefore not the future, but now. With the Apple TV large-scale teaser, a short description text to each product and great call-to-action images that can be displayed. When thinking about the target audience of e.g., young women, the social component is also gaining importance and an Apple TV app can make online shopping easy and convenient for a wide group of people.

The Tinder principle: With the idea of swipe left/swipe right, Tinder has introduced a vote principle that now permeates many places. Quick, easy votes on image content are also ideal for the Apple TV and its touchpad remote control. Vote for, or against products, pictures etc., would also allow a social component, for example, rating of styles or garments in a tvOS app.

UI is always a challenge

Finally, a note on the implementation of the application scenarios listed above. Since the porting of iOS apps on tvOS is relatively easy from a technical point of view, the temptation to simply doing it is there. But the operating concept of the Apple TV is different from the one of other iOS devices. Even though you can use your iPhone to control the Apple TV, the navigation should be doable in a comfortable way only using the remote control, therefore text entries should be reduced to the minimum as those can be only done with an uncomfortable on-screen keyboard. So before porting your app take some time, think about the joy of use and use case for your apps and don’t forget about details like UI on yet another type of screen.

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