If there's an Apple TV software developer kit (SDK) at Apple - something they intend to release to the public, akin to the existing iPhone and iPad SDK - then it's currently sitting the winter out up on blocks in the Cupertino driveway. Long rumored, it hasn't been announced to date, and it's unclear exactly what form it would take if that ever changes. (Partnership only? Games and entertainment only?). What has been released by Apple, and continues to be improved in both iOS and OS X is AirPlay. It uses your existing Apple devices to power the apps, and your Apple TV to stream the screen to your HDTV. And soon, it'll work with MFi game controllers. Is that enough? Kyle Richter argues it may well be, and more:
I have spent the last few months tinkering with the system which I had previously described, as well as watching the progression across multiple iOS updates as well as an Apple TV update, and it without any doubt that I can say Apple is indeed working on this approach while waiting on two remaining items before they begin to promote or acknowledge it. With iOS 7.0.3 (11b511) and Apple TV 6.0 (6646.65) running on a 3rd Generation Apple TV Rev A(MD199LL/A) and an iPhone 5s I can safely say that most games are very playable, albeit can be hard to control. I would say that the current system running the latest hardware is well within the Alpha, if not Beta, range of software development. Before I dig into where things are currently at, and where they need to go, I first want to recap what discussing for those who are new to the conversation.
Apple isn't like Samsung or Sony or LG, they don't make everything from phones to tablets to TV sets to refrigerators. Nor do they license out iOS to third party manufacturers. With AirPlay, and more tantalizingly, iOS in the Car, which is akin to bi-directional AirPlay, Apple can make only the specific, focused devices they want to make, and then project interface and apps to any screen, or any appliance, that's either open or for which they have an agreement in place. It's the iPhone and iPad as brain strategy. It's the nexus in the internet of things.
Richter paints an interesting picture for how the living room, and home entertainment, could better fit within just that type scenario. Even more interesting will be watching to see how it plays out.
Flagship iOS devices now have Apple A7 chipsets that are insanely powerful. Apple TV hasn't been updated since spring of 2012. 4K is on the horizon. The next generation of consoles are about to launch. Where does all this come together? What's Apple's play?
Check out Richter's piece and then let me know what you think.