Does “control out” API mean apps are coming to Apple TV? Believe it.

If we can believe the story that Apple will announce a new “control out” API for other devices to be controlled by the Apple TV as reported in BGR.com (we believe here at TDTV), then we have to believe that those who provide the APIs will want to be able to create apps that at least demonstrate the capabilities of their compatible products. And, oh by the way, they’ll need to be able to test that the APIs work as expected. So there will have to be a developer toolkit for the Apple TV.And that means the whole ecosystem of branded compatible products and services comes to the ATV.

Minimally, Apple will need to add the following:

  • Apple TV app store* in the ATV user interface
  • Criteria and submission process for getting apps into the TV app store
  • APIs that are specific to the ATV, and APIs for other iOS devices that cannot be used on the ATV
  • Resolution-independent graphics, overlays for video, and other TV-related extension
  • Integrated touch-on-iDevice/see-on-ATV user interface extensions to AirPlay

* A variation on the approach would be that the app runs on an iDevice but the TV display is essential to the app. That eliminates the need for an Apple TV app store.

Either approach still means that there are apps that run uniquely with the ATV. It still helps drive the cross-selling between iDevices and the ATV. And the ecosystem will cause Apple TV sales to explode. Even one or two “killer apps” that exploit the TV display will do the trick. Look for Apple to also enhance iBooks to be able to use the TV display alongside the iPad or iPhone. Kindle can’t play there. Google TV can’t play there.

Once again, Apple laps the field.

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