Ben Thompson makes some interesting points in this article on the Apple TV SDK. In the article, one of the reasons he gives for why he doesn’t think an Apple TV SDK is imminent is:
THE HARDWARE ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR A FULL-ON SDK
There are two big limitations with the current Apple TV hardware:
- There is only 8GB of memory on board, which doesn’t leave much space to store apps
- The SoC is a single-core A5
As I posted this morning, it does seem possible that a new Apple TV is poised to enter the market on Tuesday. So let’s take a look at .. the iPod Touch.
The iPod Touch currently has a Dual Core A5 chip (so still an A5 but dual-core instead of single-core currently in the Apple TV) and the smallest version comes with 16 GB (instead of the 8 GB currently in the Apple TV). All in all though, not too much of a difference to be completely impossible. Also note that the smallest iPod Touch costs $229.
So where does that leave us – well, let’s say Apple adds the dual-core A5, ups the memory to 16 GB and adds iOS 7 (for app compatibility). This new version of the AppleTV could then also run apps from the app store. More on that below.
This combination could then be offered in a “AppleTV+” package for say $169. The smaller Apple TV will still be available for $99. Essentially creating a new Apple TV chain of products. But still a “hobby”.
Now, one problem, currently there are absolutely no signs of a publicly available Apple TV SDK or even a version of the iPhone SDK that will allow app development for the new Apple TV.
And that is interesting. After all there have been several apps created over the last few weeks and added to the current Apple TV. And these apps were – in cases such as HBO – created in-house. So there must be something – but it hasn’t leaked yet. Not that actually having the SDK would help, as there is no way to currently submit apps for the Apple TV.
Even if Apple is planning to open up the Apple TV for apps, this is not something they are likely to announce Tuesday – unless they have signed up some big names to write apps in advance and want to attract other developers later. Anyway, I don’t think that will happen.
The first step is more likely to be the announcement of a major hardware upgrade (as above) as this will then also make it easier for Apple themselves to get more apps onto the device and they may then also introduce more iOS 7 features. We won’t see a publicly available SDK until WWDC next year though. At the earliest.