With Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference one month away, it's a good time to turn our attention to what the company has planned in terms of software and services.
With sales of iPads potentially flattening out, analysts have been itching for the company to do more to leverage the ecosystem of users it has built. And one of the most tantalizing prospects for doing that is the increasingly popular Apple TV.
This stealth hit has brought in $1 billion in hardware and software sales in the last year. Now it seems like there is enormous opportunity for Apple to expand Apple TV by turning it into a gaming hub as well as a media streaming device.
Count Bruce Hawver, chief executive of SteelSeries, among those who are eager to see Apple expand Apple TV into gaming. SteelSeries launched the first wireless gaming controller for iOS 7 devices earlier this year.
"There's just a massive opportunity there," Hawver said in a recent interview. "There's no question there's consumer demand for something like that. Apple is one of the players that's in a position to capitalize."
At the moment, the latest reports indicate that Apple is unlikely to introduce new Apple TV hardware, or any wearables for that matter, at WWDC.
Still, there have been rumors that Apple is planning big changes to Apple TV. Back in February, Mark Gurman of 9to5mac.com reported that the upgraded box included:
"...references to iOS 7's new Game Controller framework. However, it is unclear if those frameworks are just left over from the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch or if they indicate confirmation of Game Controllers being able to connect to the next-generation Apple TV product."
More on why that's important in a second.
First, though, Apple is not the only company possibly exploring the potential for delivering gaming to TVs in ways that don't include consoles like Sony's Playstation or Microsoft's Xbox One.
In the last few weeks, Amazon trotted out Fire TV. And Google leaked word of its Android TV plans. And now comes news that Comcast is working on a deal with Electronic Arts to let customers stream video games to their TVs.
Amazon boasts that the Fire includes more than 100 games with "thousands more coming." And according to the Verge, which broke the news of Google's Android TV plans, the service will include "movies, shows, apps, and games."
Great, but it still seems like Apple has the potential to push far ahead here. And to get a better understanding of what that might look like, I reached out to Hawver. (continued...)
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