Steve Jobs famously once described the Apple TV, “as a hobby”, a description that rather belittled the rather capable little media-streaming box. In fact Apple TV is now big business, with over $1bn of Apple TVs sold last year and with the launch of new Apple TV, the company is finally throwing its collective engineering, design and marketing muscle behind capturing the last screen.
So, what are the key battles and opportunities for the Apple TV?
The app store to be seen in
Will existing developers feel they need to develop Apple TV versions of their apps? Almost definitely, if the response to the Apple Watch has been anything to go by, not least because apps that run on the Apple TV can also run on iPhone and iPad but also to complete their app portfolios – iPhone, iPad, iWatch, Apple TV…
At the launch event Hipster Whale demoed Crossy Road featuring handoff – you can start playing on a mobile device and then continue on Apple TV.
A clever feature and great for commuting gamers, but if adopted across other app segments like ecommerce it could be an easy way to reduce task abandonment and increase conversions. We already see the purchasing journey spanning desktop and mobile, perhaps TV is the ultimate destination?
With a controller packed full of sensors, a low price point and some of the best game developers invested in the ecosystem, the gaming market will certainly be taking notice, but will Sony and Microsoft be worried? Perhaps not, but if I were Nintendo – the kings of casual gaming – I may be more so.
To drive gaming-led purchases Apple would need a must have game, think Angry Birds or Halo to really drive perception change.
As a hub for HomeKit (and the IOT)
Missing at launch, but HomeKit integration has to be only an OS update or two away. CES in 2015 debuted a number of devices able to interact with HomeKit – Apple’s interface for the internet of things – and it’s a market in which Apple’s competitors already have a foothold (e.g. Google with Nest).
It’s been rumoured that Apple couldn’t deliver on plans to bring subscription based content to the Apple TV at launch. Whilst third party streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have been on the device for some time, Apple’s offering can’t be far away. Singularity in music and video streaming alongside live events would be the holy grail. Movies 1, alongside Beats 1?
Will Apple take over the living room? Perhaps. The discussion over the TV space will ultimately concern how we consume the shows and films we love. “50 inch” Apps are a nice to have, as are usability perks like game handoff, but what will almost ultimately fuel adoption is content and especially video.