Date posted: June 19, 2013
Written by: Rob Witman

WWDC Postmortem

It is no secret that Splitmo was hoping to hear about native Apple TV apps at WWDC last week.  We have been staking out a position in the nascent dual-screen app market and it would have been an awesome validation point and visibility boost for our founding thesis.  But alas, no announcement was forthcoming on the future of Apple TV.

However, there is growing evidence that an app centric Apple TV is imminent.  Beyond 2 specific tells that we can’t divulge publically, one of the biggest considerations has to be the development of certified game controllers for iOS (leaked by Gizmodo here despite being released by Apple under NDA).

Of particular interest is that one of the controllers leaked by Gizmodo doesn’t actually have room for an iOS device, it is completely stand-alone.  Interesting.  Do you think that people will connect this to their iPhone to play a game?  I don’t, they will use the version that holds the iPhone at the same time.  Maybe they will connect it to an iPad and play on that.  This is definitely more likely than the iPhone use, but still not entirely likely.

There is really only one case that makes this style of controller truly compelling, use on the television.  There are a few games that actually use the TV as an extra screen using AirPlay and those could be aided by this design, but I think there is something bigger planned.  I think Apple has seeded developers with tools to really embrace an imminent Apple TV app market and the controller is the best one yet. 

This market won’t compete with the next gen consoles, but it will disrupt them a bit.  It will bring the new age of casual gaming that Apple brought to your phone directly into the family room on the big screen.  It will be more social and it will be just as much a windfall for developers (and Apple) as the iPad was and the iPhone before it. 

 Sure there may be an iWatch coming or some other completely new gadget, but doesn’t it seem reasonable that the ‘next thing’ from Apple is a real push on a tiny little box that brought in $500M in revenue last year without the slightest bit of marketing?  Sometimes the best secrets are the ones everyone thinks they already know.