One of the biggest downsides of Apple TV is its lack of apps, or as Apple calls them, “channels.”
Sure, Apple TV has many of the big ones — Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, HBO Now, and HBO Go — but it’s missing important apps like Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, Sling TV, and Spotify.
And it also doesn’t have most of the niche channels found on Roku’s devices, which include apps focused on special interest content like yoga, spirituality, fitness, documentaries, and indie movies.
But Apple TV’s channel problem may soon come to an end.
That’s because Apple is expected to announce a new Apple TV at its annual iPhone event in September. And as BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski reported last month, the new Apple TV will have an app store that will allow third-party developers to make apps for it.
If the rumours turn out to be true, we could see an app store similar to the one for the iPhone and iPad. This means that many different types of companies, especially streaming media companies, could finally get their content on Apple TV.
And it also increases the chances that you may have some alternatives to iTunes to buy and rent movies.
Currently with Apple TV, you can only buy or rent movies through iTunes. So if you have a collection of movies you’ve downloaded from Amazon or another service, you can’t easily watch them on your Apple TV. You can use the AirPlay feature on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to beam some of this content to your Apple TV, but it’s still not as ideal as having the app natively on the box.
But if the Apple TV app store is opened up to developers, you may see apps from companies that sell content, like Amazon, M-Go, and Vudu. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that we’d even see apps like Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Music, which are basically Google’s version of iTunes.
Allowing different apps on the device is great for consumers because it’s a way for them to make sure that they can hold on to media they buy even if they change devices.
It would also help Apple catch up to Roku, the company that makes the best streaming box. Roku has more than 2,000 channels while Apple has about 65. Today, new apps only come to Apple TV after Apple approves them and you have very little control over what you see.
An app store won’t be the only changes reportedly coming to the Apple TV, which hasn’t gotten a significant update in five years. Paczkowski also reports that the device will work with Siri, come with a touchpad remote, and have a faster processor.
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