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AppleTV may be a goldmine for developers

Apple TV Apps

Apple’s fourth-gen Apple TV debuted this past Friday to overwhelmingly positive reviews. While there are a few minor kinks Apple still needs to work out (e.g the inability to enter a password with the iPhone’s virtual keyboard), the new device may very well be the most compelling streaming set-top box to ever hit the market.

Without question, what makes the new Apple TV so exciting is that it has its own dedicated App Store. Over the weekend, Jeff Scott of SlideToPlay tweeted that there are now close to 1,000 tvOS available for download. All the more intriguing, from a developer perspective, is that the Apple TV may very well represent a new platform where users, in stark contrast to iOS, are willing to plunk down cash for apps.

You know the race-to-the-bottom problem that continues to plague iOS? Well early evidence suggests that that won’t be an issue for the Apple TV.

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Over the weekend, programmer Steven Troughton-Smith published a list of the top paid, top free, and highest grossing apps on the new Apple TV App Store. Looking at the list, one thing that jumped out at me was that the list of highest grossing apps are all relatively expensive, as far as traditional iOS App Store standards go.

For instance, the top four highest grossing apps are Beat Sports – $9.99, Galaxy on Fire – $5.99, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved – $9.99, and Lumino City – $4.99. Indeed, if you comb through the entire list, there are only 5 apps in the top 50 that are priced at $0.99.

In stark contrast, all of the highest grossing apps on the iOS App Store are free with in-app purchases.

While it’s still too early to tell, this early anecdotal evidence suggests that consumers may very well be much more willing to pay good money for Apple TV apps than they would for apps on a mobile device.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out. Remember, iOS didn’t become a successful gaming platform because of AAA gaming titles. On the contrary, it became a popular platform because it appealed to scores of users who, while not being interested in console gaming, didn’t think twice about paying $0.99 for casual games like Doodle Jump and Angry Birds.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.