tvOS and Apple TV Developer Kit details

The new Apple TV was announced at Apple’s September 9 event. Only known as Apple TV, the 2015 model is the biggest update ever to Apple’s hobby product. Apple TV will now feature an App Store with third party apps, natural language voice search via Siri, games, a smart new touch and voice capable remote with Wii-mote like capabilities and much more.

Apple TV will be shipping in October but Apple is already offering dev kits to interested developers. Having a dev kit means that developers would be able to test their apps on the TV. The tvOS SDK can be used even without the dev kit but nothing beats testing on the real thing.

tvOS Apple TV

To be eligible to sign up for a development kit, the user must be a registered Apple Developer Program member and located in any of the select countries listed here. If chosen, the development kit will shipped to the user with the Apple TV, remote, power cord, lightning to USB cable, USB-A to USB-C cable (likely for OS updates) and documentation. If interested, head over to this link to sign up.

The currently available tvOS beta is build 13T5347l. Apple TV dev kits should ideally be shipping with an installation of tvOS so it is kind of confusing why Apple has put up the first beta already for download. The beta will not work on any older Apple TV model as tvOS features are only supported on the new Apple TV 2015 model announced today.

Apple TV tvOS

Once you get your Apple Developer Kit delivered, you can download tvOS beta from Apple and follow the documentation to proceed.

tvOS SDK gives developers access to existing frameworks that are used on OS X and iOS such as Metal, UIKit, CloudKit, Game Center and more to create rich experiences for the big screen. One major challenge though is that apps must be less than 200MB in size and any additional assets must be loaded, on demand, from the cloud. Developers will have to do a lot of thinking and prioritising to work within this limitation.

On September 9, Apple announced a lot of new products and updates at its ‘Hey Siri’ event. This has been one of the most feature packed Apple events in recent times. iPad Pro, iPhone 6s, the long awaited Apple TV and tons of software updates including WatchOS 2 GM, iOS 9GM, iOS 9.1 beta and OS X 10.11 GM are enough to keep Apple fans busy for a while.

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