Apple did a great job in the run up to the release of the new Apple TV getting developers building apps for the new device:
- Dev kits? Check. (Just $1? Wow!)
- Re-use existing code? Check.
- Easy on-device testing? Check.
We were really excited by the opportunities for our TV-related products and we created a version of our Live TV app for the new Apple TV.
So the dev tools and dev relations teams at Apple did a great job.
But: Actually selling your app to customers is almost impossible:
- There’s zero App Store browsing. If your app isn’t featured, there’s little chance anyone will discover it.
- Even if you have an existing customer base, there’s no way to link to your product.
- Even if a user finds your app, the process of entering their password to buy your paid app or in-app purchase is so awful, they’ll give up or throw the remote out the window.
Finding an app is so difficult, we made a video to show our customers how to find our Live TV app:
Here are the steps to us getting paid for our work:
- Go to the App Store
- Figure out how to get to the search tab
- Type the app name with the on-screen keyboard
- Enter your password
- Download our app
- Go through another 3-5 steps to confirm your IAP subscription (including re-entering your password)
Enough complaining, what could Apple do about it? Here are a few ideas:
Link to apps
Give us a way to ‘send’ a user to our tvOS App Store page from their iPhone or Mac. They are signed in to the same account on both devices – this is a solvable problem.
Add categories, more editorial selections and more browseability to the tvOS App Store. Scrolling and swiping with the new remote is great! Typing sucks! Make scrolling a way to discover apps, not typing!
Confirm purchases with iPhone
Bring back the iOS remote app and make it do the heavy lifting for passwords and authentication. Offer to ‘confirm purchase on your iOS device’ and authenticate it with touchID.
I’m sure lots of people at Apple are well aware of these issues and are working on them. It’s a pity the App Store wasn’t available on the dev kit devices, so we could have raised some of these concerns sooner.