Here Comes (Real) Apple TV Are You Ready?

Here Comes (Real) Apple TV Are You Ready?

There have been a number of recent articles speculating on the nature of the Apple TV launch that is taking place next month. So in the spirit of providing a public service in true Swrve style, let us boil down the three key takeaways from this coverage:

  1. It will feature a new, improved, motion sensitive controller
  2. It will probably support apps via some form of the App Store
  3. It will cost a fair bit more than previous

The last point isn’t necessarily hugely relevant, other than to confirm that what we are about to see might become something of a game changer. The first two mean an awful lot more and should allow us to speculate on what this ‘new’ Apple TV is actually going to look like - and what it is going to mean for both the consumer and the businesses that sell to them.

Apps On TV

Let’s first consider the addition of some form of app to the Apple TV experience. This is likely to represent a real leap forward, particularly for verticals including broadcasting, publishing and indeed most content creators in general.

There’s a few trends here that are worth calling out. Firstly, whilst Apple TV has to date consisted of (relatively) disjointed media experiences, consumers are almost certain to respond positively to the integrated, curated experience they associate with apps on the smartphone. We can guess that will probably be the case because all available evidence suggests consumers love mobile apps - most notable being the fact that the mobile app accounts for more internet traffic than mobile and desktop combined.

Couple this trend with the continued growth of video as a medium for content sharing (consider not just the ongoing growth of video streaming but also the increased use of video within ‘traditional’ media apps) and it is not hard to envision a very different way of “watching the news” that might involve firing up a Wall Street Journal or BBC app and navigating through interactive video content using a point and click interface.

Of course these apps will not be limited to media and content verticals, but they do suggest one of the more immediate opportunities for apps on Apple TV to become a part of the consumer’s life. Where we will end up is impossible right now to predict, but this scenario feels like a realistic starting point.

Games

One feature that will enable the ‘point and click’ interface mentioned above is the motion-sensitive remote. And as the proud owner of a Wii U (we do exist you know), I know all about how much a device like that can bring to the gaming experience.

It doesn’t take a genius to add that remote, to the availability of the App Store, to the large screen in the living room, and come up with ‘gaming console’. And there’s absolutely no doubt at all that something along these lines is somewhere reasonably high up in Apple’s mind right now.

Mobile apps have already taken a huge chunk from the handheld market, and TV-based apps - with more sophisticated controls, something that has always limited phone and tablet gaming - are going to do the same for the console market.

All that of course means new challenges for both games developers and app developers in the broader sense. Just as with the phone and tablet, those apps that support personalized, optimized experiences, and enable their developers to deliver targeted marketing campaigns to users, are going to come out on top.

That will become particularly relevant when we consider the differing nature of the TV experience, the need to account for different user and player profiles on a single device (something less relevant to developers for mobile), and the different demands of the TV screen as opposed to the mobile screen. Interesting times are most certainly ahead.

All in all - sounds like a case for Apple TV marketing automation!