New Apple TV Apps?
June 26, 2012

New Apple TV Apps?

Michael Harper for

For all the new things we learned about during this year´s WWDC Keynote, (new Macs, Mountain Lion, iOS 6 and Passbook, just to list a few) one thing we didn´t hear a peep about was a platform to write Apple TV apps upon. After all, this is the year of the new Apple TV, right? We´ll get a new, physical set for Christmas, no? Didn´t Steve Jobs say he cracked it? While some had speculated Apple would “unofficially” introduce a new Apple TV by releasing an SDK to hungry developers, WWDC came and went with nary a public mention of the fabled TV.

Seeing an opportunity, app development company Brightcove has released a free edition of their popular development platform which will allow app developers to create dual-screen iOS apps with the ability to broadcast via Airplay.

“There´s been an incredible amount of speculation about what the future TV might hold and whether Apple is going to introduce an application model for TVs. We´re obviously incredibly excited about it as well. So excited, that today we launched the ability to create dual-screen TV apps for Apple TV,” said Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire in a video.

Last year, Brightcove launched App Cloud, their cloud based app development tool which uses a “What You See Is What You Get” interface. Today´s announcement launched a free version of App Cloud which includes an SDK and toolkit for the new dual-screen interactivity. For those developers who want features such as real-time analytics, push notifications and native ads, an upgrade is available for $99 a month. Brightcove even offers an extra option for those developers creating high-volume apps.

The use of AirPlay isn´t anything new. Developers have been able to take advantage of the streaming technology from iOS device to existing Apple TV boxes. With Mountain Lion, however, AirPlay will now be available system-wide on Macs, allowing screen mirroring as well. WIth App Cloud, developers should be able to create AirPlay apps quickly and easily, bringing more magic to their existing Apple TVs.

Apple´s inclusion of AirPlay in Mountain Lion has caused some to believe the streaming technology might be a huge player in whatever Apple´s future TV offerings might be.

In fact, according to an interview with The Verge, Allaire said, "The mythical Apple television set that everyone talks about is already here. Airplay is the trojan horse that has put connected TVs into every household with a iPhone or an iPad".

The dual-screen portion of this new platform, however, allows the app to offer extra features and functionality while the content is being streamed to the Apple TV. In the demo video, Allaire shows off a fictional movie streaming app. While the video is displayed on the TV, he was able to add other movies to his queue, look up other movies in his queue and even tweet about his movie on his iPad, without disrupting the movie.

Similar functionality can be found in existing apps, which allow the iOS device to be used as a controller, a la Real Racing 2 HD or 8-bit game The Incident.

It´s worth noting that Microsoft announced a similar functionality in their SmartGlass offerings. Until Apple makes an official announcement, these offerings from Brightcove´s App Cloud might be the next best thing for developers wishing to harness the power of AirPlay.