360iDev Developer conference was held in Denver to discuss developments for next generation iOS for Apple TV. Developer Michael Gile took to the stage and left no stone un-turned regarding the release of iOS 5 code for Apple TV along with Jailbreak community.
Gile said he believes there’s still space to conquer in the living room. Xbox, Netflix, and Roku have all made bids for setting up “set-top boxes.” No one has brought about the kind of “grand strategy” that Apple likes, with a complete vertical solution for selling hardware, software, and entertainment content (through iTunes, and its install base complete with credit cards ready for purchase).
The rest of Gile’s talk was mostly demos of the code he’s already gotten running on the Apple TV. He started off with the GLTeapot, a traditional “Hello World” kind of demo used for 3D developers. He then dived into the code, showing off the interface Apple has already included on the Apple TV system (though none of it is yet officially documented or available to developers — this is all internal code used by the company to run the device). While iOS uses the UIKit framework to run most of its code, the Apple TV uses a “BackRow” (or “BR”) framework, apparently a twist on the “FrontRow” application that originated back in the days of Apple’s “experiment.” This “BRKit” does have lots of the standard UIKit ties, though Gile pointed out there are still quite a few differences in both names and functionality.
Still, he and the rest of the jailbreak community have gotten quite a bit done already. Gile showed off a navigation app similar to Apple’s own app, though hooked up to his own applications. He was able to load up and play media assets (in this case, a trailer for Sony’s Spider-Man movie), and he ran through a few other demos and functions of what the code was capable of.
It is still unclear htat what approach Apple is having on Apple TV 2 iOS development but something which is very clear is that Apple wants to make Apple TV 2 an exceptional TV device with no match as far as features are concerned.