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An Insight into Apple TV App Trends

Although Apple launched the new version of the famous TV service less than 2 months ago, the number of Apple TV subscribers in America is expected to reach 7.4 million by 2016. Offering vast opportunities for interaction, TV applications are predicted to change the way television has operated for decades. And while current tvOS apps trends are all about media and gaming, there’s more to Apple TV app development than you think.

Apple TV: the future of TV is…apps

The fourth generation of Apple TV, a streaming media device which displays Web content on your home screen, was launched on October, 26. Unlike its predecessor, the gadget employs TV-operating system with a separate digital store where users can download third-party applications and the touchpad-enhanced Siri remote.

According to Apple marketers, cable channels are dead, since the launch of Apple TV has officially marked the beginning of a totally new area. If you disagree with the statement, consider the following facts:

  • Steaming services allow you to reduce cable TV expenses by at least 100%;
  • Apps offer unlimited access to videos, music and games from all over the Web;
  • With the introduction of television operating system, companies with great expertise in custom application development can finally transfer the already-existing iOS apps to one of the most powerful media domains and build new software to expand TV’s functionality.

Applications for Apple TV will impact user experience in several ways:

  • Big screen (are you ready for the 1920 x 1080 pixel user interface?);
  • No web browsing (Apple wants to fully manage UX);
  • Remote interaction (through Siri and iOS-based devices);
  • Focus on graphic content (pictures and animations will replace text to make app interface more legiable).

Insight into Apple TV App Trends: TV App Revenue

New apps for Apple TV: a glimpse of what’s to come

According to MacRumours, media software (including apps designed by HBO, CBS, National Geographic, etc.) and games currently dominate Apple TV download list. What industries can also benefit from going TV?

  • E-commerce and retail. In the first quarter of 2014, approximately 40 million Americans shopped online via smartphones. Retailers (who certainly faced the challenge of creating mobile-friendly websites!) are ready to exploit big screens. A vivid example comes from Gilt who developed an application to demonstrate designer clothes and home accessories on Apple TV. According to Michelle Peluso, CEO at Gilt Groupe, the company chose to adopt TV app technology since 80% of its mobile sales came from iOS. Although the initial response towards the app was anything but enthusiastic, TV presence may eventually result in revenue growth;
  • Tourism and hospitality. Airbnb, one of the world’s most famous websites for lodging rentals, decided to take advantage of Apple future technology after new facts on holiday booking trends had surfaced. It turns out vocation planning can be a more exiting experience that the actual trip, since an average user visits at least 38 websites before making a reservation. Airbnb’s team came to a conclusion that vacation planning can in fact be a more exiting experience that the actual trip. After all, an average user visits at least 38 websites before booking a holiday. Airbnb app focuses on high-quality images; with the help of a Siri remote, users can swipe through available rentals, upload best offerings to other Apple devices and enjoy virtual city tours. By improving user experience, Airbnb hopes to increase online traffic and bookings;
  • Entertainment. We’ve already mentioned that games and media apps usually land atop Apple TV download list. However, with the launch of SongPop Party app developers once again proved that games can be viral. The new TV game derives from the SongPop mobile application and is pure fun. Its participants have to quickly guess what song is playing at the moment. The game can be played with any number of people, and that’s the main advantage of going TV;
  • Fitness and healthcare. Instead of tracking your physical activity on a wearable device or smartphone, you can enjoy full-body workouts on a big screen! That’s what the Daily Burn 365 app is about. JD Roberto, the host of the famous New York-broadcast fitness program, explored new app development trends to expand his audience and enable on-demand TV options.

The obstacles of Apple App development

Most companies that successfully run mobile and web applications will probably adjust the already-existing software to Apple needs. Here’s the list of possible development problems:

  • Failure to meet expectations and provide great user experience. The Apple TV device is not that easy to set up. Unless an app user has an iPhone, the data input process can be challenging, since you can type only one character at a time by sliding cursor. Apple TV apps are highly intuitive and require seamless integration between the TV and input devices. While interacting with a mobile app, users touch and see the very same device. With Apple TV, things are bound to be different, so going big screen also presupposes certain interface changes;
  • Individual concept. Remember the SongPop Party application? Its developers employed the TV operating system to simultaneously provide gaming experience to several people. The general idea of new apps for interactive Apple TV is all about sharing that goes beyond social networks. If your app is meant for solitary activities, you’ll have to rethink its concept and add a multi-user component;
  • Oversized applications and data request challenges. The size of your software must not exceed 200 MB. Any TV application can only access 500 KB of persistent storage, so the remaining data is kept in iCloud and downloaded on demand. In order to create a good application, you have to understand how to maintain user engagement while loading new data assets.

With the introduction of Apple TV, apps can be crafted in tvOS or TVML. Television operating system (tvOS) offers a complete user interface development kit which allows vendors to stylize, control and design every element of your application. TVML (television program markup language) is a framework for applications that employs great amount of video content (for example, streaming services). Using the framework, vendors can upload files written in TVML and JavaScript to the server and arrange basic layout of your application.

Despite considerable setup, data input and search issues, the Apple platform is gradually adding new functions that allow app developers to create customized solutions for multiple industries. It remains to be seen whether businesses decide to follow the future technology trends or stick to standard mobile and web applications. Still, the idea of watching TV that offers more than just viewing experience is truly groundbreaking.

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