Has Apple Won the Living Room?

The combination of iOS 7 and the Apple TV will take over the living room...with the help of a controller.

As we all watched closely to see what Microsoft and Sony had planned for the next-gen market, Apple slipped in and stole the show.

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Not long after Microsoft began what ended up as a high criticized showing of the Xbox One, the all-in-one living room console, Apple swooped in and secretly took over the living room. Apple was holding the annual WWDC (World Wide Developers Confrence). This year they showed off the new MacBook Air, a shockingly small new Mac Pro, OS X Mavericks and iOS 7. There have always been rumors of Apple making their own game console but little did we know, Apple has been working on it right under our noses. The combination of iOS 7 and the Apple TV will take over the living room and change mobile gaming.

iOS 7

During the WWDC keynote presentation, Apple showed off some features in iOS 7 and the iOS 7 SDK (software development kit). They didn’t directly talk about everything that is in it but they did put up a list. Viewers can see “MFi game controllers” as one of the new features. In the past MFi (Made For iPhone) controllers have never seemed like something Apple would make or support.  The support of MFi game controllers opens up huge doors for third party accessory companies and iOS developers. It’s been proven time and time again that people love playing games on their iPhones. Now, with the addition of MFi controllers the mobile gaming experience can only be enhanced.

iOS 7 SDK Features

 

Apple TV and AirPlay

Take a look at the Apple TV; Apple’s “hobby” as Tim Cook calls it. The Apple TV is not an actual TV, but a small box that’s plugged in via HDMI. It gives users access to their iTunes Library, Hulu+, live events, movies and more.

One feature is AirPlay. This allows Mac and iOS users to beam their phone or tablet screen to the TV over Wifi. It works great for sharing photos and videos to family and friends but also for playing games. In recent years, developers have been adding special features so when you have your game on the TV, your iPhone shows a map or other game aspect. This is similar to Microsoft’s “Smart Glass.” This makes your phone the console and the controller. Anyone that has played games on their phone know it’s not the best experience and it’d be easier if you have a physical controller.

Leaked Logitech MFi Controller

Leaked Logitech MFi controller (above), clearly following Apple’s guidelines.

It’s up to the developers

The hardware aspect of the controllers will be up to the individual manufacturer (Logitech, MOGA, ect.) but there will be a few hurdles that Apple and app developers will have to get over. For example, game like “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” and “Plants vs. Zombies” have extremely different controls. Using a touch interface the control layout and functions are infinitely changeable but when using a controller, you have a set layout and only so many combinations. Developers of both the controller and games will have to work together to form a central control system. 

Apple is Leading the Way

At $99 the Apple TV could pave the way and set the standard for the all-in-one living room console. It’s no Xbox One or PS4, but it is definitely something that will catch the eye of developers and gamers. With an expected Apple TV update with new hardware and it’s own App Store later this year, we might see some controllers and new games pop up this holiday season. Only time will tell if Apple’s support of third party controllers will change the gaming industry. As of now, Apple future stake in the gaming market looks pretty promising. 


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Austere Wizard
I'm the Austere Wizard! You can find me on YouTube were I post exciting commentaries and honest reviews.