I was fortunate enough to attend Apple’s TV Tech Talks in Toronto and I had a great time. The conference was well-organized and covered a range of topics from customer expectations, to development, to marketing. Although some of the content presented seemed trivial, there was clearly a lot of deliberation behind every decision, such as the concept of the Focus Engine. It reminded me of a recent episode of Under the Radar where David Smith talked about solving complexities. Usually one starts at a simple solution, only to discover the edge cases involved. However after numerous attempts and lots of learning, one often ends up with an elegant solution. I was really inspired listening to the Apple’s explanation of the design process and their best practices. I also thought that the presentation slides and animations were fantastic.

Future of TV

Apple is really pushing apps for its TV platform. I think there are three main categories: games, content consumption, and shopping. Games are going to be very popular because it can be a very communal activity - something that was heavily emphasized during the Talk. Moreover, the App Store makes it super accessible for players to purchase and download new apps.

Time will tell, but this may be the real consumption device as there are many built-in features in AVKit such HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) that can improve the viewing experience. Furthermore, native Interstitial (prevents users from fast-forwarding ads) support and TVML suggests that Apple wants to help content creators jump on the platform by reducing barriers. If Apple can get more content providers onboard, even those who are just starting out, then this can provide more leverage when negotiating content deals with cable companies.

Shopping also ties in very well with Interstitials. Remember those commercials where you had to call within 5 minutes to take advantage of the “special offer”? Well the Apple TV can potentially present an ad for a pair of shoes, and allow the customer to purchase it directly, all in the span of 30 seconds. I wonder when Apple Pay will arrive for the TV? Either way this can lead a new realm of targeted, interactive ads.

The new Apple TV and tvOS opens the door to many new possibilities. 2016 is going to be an interesting year…