With the bold statement “The Future of TV is Apps” proudly displayed on a screen behind Tim Cook, Apple recently announced they’re bringing the App Store to Apple TV. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, Apple is profoundly changing the app landscape with this update—along with the landscape of advertising, gaming, and the family room. And things are happening quickly. After just one week on the market, the newest generation in Apple TV has pushed Apple to the top of the pack—they now own 31% of the streaming TV hardware market, leading competitors Roku and Amazon.
Through Apple TV, advertisers will be able to understand their TV attribution on a more precise scale than has ever been previously achievable. In addition, advertisers will be able to target their customers more effectively—creating a winning combination that will make their dollars go further. One could argue that advertising pricing structures are likely to change, too, with the advance in attribution measurement. Networks may change pricing structures to more accurately reflect the newfound precision of advertising metrics.
The gaming landscape is also going to evolve now that apps are available on the big screen. Apple integrated Siri into the new touch-pad remote, which also doubles as a game controller. Apple TV also supports MFi-based gaming controllers, allowing people to engage in more serious game play. The casual gamer who usually plays only in-app games on their mobile device can now take their play to the big screen without investing in expensive gaming-consoles, which opens up a huge opportunity for app developers to capture a larger audience than they’ve traditionally been able to reach on smaller screens. In short, bringing apps to the big screen transforms the family room into an interactive entertainment center.
But what does the arrival of tvOS mean for app developers and for mobile marketers’ view of omnichannel experiences as a whole? TvOS presents a new host of challenges for app developers, who have historically developed for small screens. Now, over 1.5 million apps that are currently available in the Apple App Store must adapt to the much larger screens of TVs if they want a capitalize on this opportunity to increase their audience. To avoid a bumpy ride, there are practical strategies app developers can implement into their mobile apps now that will help make for a smooth transition to TV apps in the coming months.
As with the introduction of any new technology, there’s bound to be a few kinks that need to be worked out. It’s likely that apps’ current iOS customers will make up the majority of their tvOS customers, meaning developers can get a head start in minimizing transitional hiccups by getting to know their current mobile customers through the media they currently engage with. This starts by putting the customer at the center of the app development process to ensure the app is aligned with the customers’ wants and needs from start to finish, avoiding dramatic directional overhauls that waste time.
Organizations that employ a customer-centric development process have a greater chance of a smooth transition to TV, and at delivering the same great experience their customers have come to expect. One stand-out company that serves as a great instructional resource for those interested in implementing a people-first approach to app development is Apptentive. If you’re in the throes of building or revamping your app, I highly recommend checking them out.
There’s no doubt apps will slowly take over our TVs, setting a new precedent for omnichannel brands, which now must include TV-based apps in the equation to truly be considered omnichannel. Allowing the customer to guide the development process will help brands establish an omnichannel presence—in the new sense of the word. Not only will keeping customers at the center of tvOS app development provide a smooth transition for developers, it will also give customers an elevated user experience.
The fresh canvas tvOS offers app developers presents a huge opportunity to reach a wider audience, and organizations that build their tvOS app for their audience will have a competitive advantage against their rivals.