Jan
25
2014

Apple may be working on a new Apple TV Box with Native Gaming Capabilities

Rumours by several sources suggest Apple may currently be working on a whole new set-top box as a successor to current Apple TV boxes, with updated hardware and software to support many more types of content and improve the slickness of the whole experience. But a separate report out today from iLounge says that Apple also plans to cater for the growing number of app developers and iOS users using the boxes as pseudo-game consoles, with plans to introduce native gaming support to the Apple TV, along with direct support for game controllers.

 

With Apple’s AirPlay technology allowing not just video and music, but also direct streaming of anything that happens on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch onto a TV Screen via an Apple TV box, many users have started taking advantage of the feature to show their small-screen games on TV while they play them on their iDevice. And with Apple allowing iOS app developers to build experiences that employ the Apple TV in specific ways; and iOS games taking advantage of this more and more to provide multi-screen gaming experiences (not unlike the Wii U combining TV and Gamepad), Apple TV is quickly turning into a games console in its own right – but there’s a problem. Streaming games from screen to screen adds a noticeable lag – around a tenth of a second – between the two devices, which for high-action gaming like shooters; or games that require fast reactions like racers, can completely kill the game play. Also, even for games with direct Apple TV support, using controllers other than the iDevice running the game requires those controllers to be paired with the device, not the Apple TV itself, introducing further lag.

 

Now though, it’s been suggested that Apple are looking into furthering the ability of Apple TV to play games, with sources such as iLounge claiming that planned software updates will introduce the ability to install games directly on the Apple TV box itself, as well as direct support for game controllers. 9to5Mac, who have a high level of accuracy regarding Apple rumours, claim knowledge that Apple may be planning to directly implement the Apple iStore into a future Apple TV refresh, lending some suggestion as to how the former may be achieved – but stop short of suggesting the updates are anything to do with gaming, instead suggesting the new hardware will be a refresh with a focus on improving the speed and user experience.

 

Apple have declined to comment on any of these rumours.

 

The current Apple TV last received a significant update in March, 2012, so it’s due for a refresh. Though no date for the supposed new Apple TV has yet been suggested – either by Apple or by rumourmongers – the suggestion from the latter is to expect a launch in Spring or Summer 2014. With Apple generally preferring Autumn for major announcements on the iPhone/iPad side of things these days, that timing would make a lot of sense as a way to keep up interest in Apple throughout the year.

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