TV: The Next Great App Platform?
In the beginning, there was the PC, and lots of developers built software for it. Then came the rise of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and developers built software for those, too. After that, pundits predicted the next big platform for development would be wearable devices, such as smartwatches. While that prognostication about wearables may indeed come to pass, there’s another screen that doesn’t get a lot of attention as a potential app platform: the television. If everything goes according to rumor, Apple will unveil a new Apple TV on Sept. 9 that will support third-party apps and games from the App Store. According to the scuttlebutt, some of the initial apps for the platform could be game-changers; for example, Periscope is working on an app that will allow people to watch live streams on television as opposed to a tablet or smartphone. Apple TV isn’t the first device to attempt something like this. Android TV also positions itself as a hub for content, games, and apps—although in that case, apps aren’t native, but delivered via tethering with a mobile device. Amazon Fire TV likewise comes with a full complement of apps. Just as the rise of the iPhone created a massive ecosystem of developers creating smartphone apps, a wildly successful Apple TV could lead to a burgeoning number of television-ready apps. That could present fresh opportunities for app developers who might feel that the mobile-device market has become far too crowded in recent years. But it all depends, of course, on the openness of Apple’s platform.