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Let’s Have Fun Reading Way Too Much Into the Preliminary Schedule for WWDC 2012 (daringfireball.net)
31 points by Braasch 1968 days ago | hide | past | web | 22 comments | favorite

Would an Apple TV with apps potentially become a games console? I don't know much about the connectivity available in terms of controllers, etc.

It would mean apple could infiltrate the lounge room gaming market without having to actually produce a competitor directly to the xbox/ps consoles

Your comment about controllers made me wonder about the possibility of using iPhones, iPods, and iPads as the controllers for games on ATV. People already play plenty of games using those devices anyway, so why couldn't they be used to control games on something bigger?

That's a terrible idea for several reasons.

1. As people have mentioned, touchscreens were never designed around gaming. A standard gamepad with buttons and sticks works much better.

2. A big part of living room gaming is local multiplayer, about having your friends and family around you while you play a couple of rounds of Halo or Wii Sports. To support this, controllers must be affordable — common controllers are between $20 and $60 nowadays. You can't support local multiplayer when your controllers cost several hundred dollars.

3. AppleTV should be able to sell to people who don't have an iDevice. Requiring this would mean buying an AppleTV as a serious gaming platform would require, at least, another $199 for an iPod Touch. There are consoles that sell for less than that with a bundled game.

Re. 3: the first iPod required a Mac, cutting the market down. This worked because it enabled a great experience (fast download with firewire). So the issue here is: "Are iPhones as controllers awesome?" IMHO, no (at least, not for gaming as we know it...)

I don't think those would make for good controllers -- there's no tactile feedback so you have to look at it to know what you're doing, in which case you're staring at your phone so why have the tv? I can sort of see it for party games, but that seems like a niche audience for a console.

I can envision a 'dock connector' that wraps around the iphone and provides hardware buttons. No idea what the latency would be on something like that though

I don't think latency would be a problem. But it'd be clunky and not very Apple like, given the simplicity of their hardware and that they've spent years arguing that hardware buttons aren't all that great.

Third party gamepads exist for playing iPhone games on the iPhone (via jailbreak or iCade emulation), but they're not very elegant.

They could, but I'm not convinced that a touchscreen makes nearly as good a games controller as the old sticks-and-buttons.

Controlling something on a flat screen while looking at a different screen puts limits on the number of "buttons" you can have and be able to push reliably. Also, holding an iPhone like a games controller would be uncomfortable over longish periods of time.

The Apple TV has hardware to support Bluetooth already. No reason Apple couldn't release a dedicated game controller.

Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 already use bluetooth to connect the controller, so this isn't much of a stretch to say Apple could.

His analysis and conclusion seem sound.

Apple TV is ready for apps, and it would likely involve a range of partnerships with HBO, Showtime. High quality, reliable streaming to your iPhone, iPad, and TV is a desirable market for paid subscribers and advertising both.

Apps on a TV don't really make sense to me. You've got this super high resolution multi-touch display in your hand in the form of a tablet or SmartPhone that offers direct manipulation. Who wants to bother with pointers and gestures on a lower resolution TV? I think we're just past that now. Games and video content of course make total sense on a TV and maybe interactive features too. A live stream of some silly reality show could include built-in voting. A sports program could offer multiple angles you can choose from and a customizable score-board. I think that's where we are heading. If Apple doesn't do it someone else will soon enough. I think Apple is probably about the only company who could get the content providers on-board though.

And let's not forget, Cook is a sports fan.

apps that work with content - that is where we're heading.

My guess: major third-party game franchises, for iPad and/or AppleTV.

The next-generation GPU in the series Apple uses (PowerVR G6200) is equivalent in power to the Xbox360 GPU (Xenos). So, you could port Black Ops/MW3/BF3. The next expected process-shrink enables this with the same battery life. But Apple's not due for a new iPad, and not everything may be possible yet (e.g. display's power consumption). AppleTV doesn't have the power constraint, so, with GPU upgrade, it could be first announced there.

The reason to rush is to get established as a competitive alternative game platform before being overshadowed by the next generation of game consoles. Game consoles may pay the ultimate price for holding off so long...

Not sure why he would jump to the Apple TV conclusion. It might just be that they're releasing APIs for Siri, and/or some Intents-like cross-app collaboration API. Those would be big deals too.

You certainly have a different idea of fun than I do.

Well I had fun reading this article, because I read it while abseiling off a sixty-story building naked. If you didn't, that's your own problem.

There's something missing here. The Apple TV is still a hobby. 3M units a year is not significant enough to sustain an app ecosystem similar to the iOS platform.

Apple has been in this position before with small platforms. A good example is webobjects. They lowered the price and relaxed the license on several occasions hoping it would take off, but so long as it didn't they didn't invest in it too significantly.

I think John might be right that there is a new platform being announced, and certainly this level of TBC implies some very significant software announcements, but I don't think its AppleTV. Or at least not the current AppleTV.

Either some major new functionality in iOS, or a significant new TV product or something else completely seems more likely to me.

I think he's trying to say more or less: "boy, they sold 3 million of those without any kind of support for apps, imagine how many would they sell if they would run apps!".

That said, iPhone was selling like crazy even before 2.0, so I'm not sure whether that line of reasoning makes sense.

There was plenty for iPhone to do without apps. Phone + web browser + email was pretty great. The Apple TV is ALL about content, there is very little point to it otherwise. Airplay, while awesome, is not going to sell devices in Peoria because it doesn't fit into an existing slot in people's lives. But if Apple has secured content deals that make the ATV a viable cable alternative, apps or no apps, they're really on to something.

With TV, in particular, it isn't that simple. Apple could easily wind up selling fewer Apple TVs by adding app support, not more - if they end up pissing off the content providers. Those providers have been known to be irrationally hypersensitive in the past after all.

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