Apple TV: The Next Big Dev Platform?

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While the tech world widely expects Apple to roll out the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus during its September 9th event, there’s some speculation that the company could also introduce a new Apple TV.

Why should a new Apple TV interest tech pros (aside, of course, from those who want to use it to watch movies and television shows)? If the current scuttlebutt proves correct, the latest iteration of the device will include an app store similar to the ones already available for the Mac and iOS devices. Such a platform could present some ripe opportunities for building apps and earning revenue.

The extent of that platform depends on several factors. If the Apple TV’s new controller includes some combination of physical buttons and/or a touchpad, that could prove enough hardware to entice game-makers to experiment with Apple TV games. If there’s a microphone—another rumor—app-builders will be able to take advantage of voice commands.

Over the past year, Apple has made no secret of its interest in iOS as a medium for controlling and regulating the connected home. And what better hub for controlling the Internet of Things (IoT) than the device often placed in the middle of everything—the television? If Apple opens up its platform to third-party developers who specialize in IoT, it could give the company a powerful advantage in a still-nascent category.

But there’s also the possibility that Apple won’t throw the platform wide open to outside developers, at least at first. Despite the company’s reputation as an expansive platform for app-builders, it often waits a bit before giving third parties wide latitude; for example, Apple held off until watchOS 2 (the second iteration of the Apple Watch’s operating system) to give access to the device’s sensors and microphone. Even if it rolls out a new Apple TV, it might wait for some time before offering developers a way to run apps on it.

Nonetheless, for developers who like working in the Apple ecosystem, this is something to watch, so to speak.