Apple TV Apps Today

It seems that ever since Apple released their second generation Apple TV, people have wondered if it would officially support 3rd-party apps. The logic goes that since it is now built on iOS, why not follow in its siblings’ (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) footsteps. And why not? Whether your a cable-cutter, a wannabe cable-cutter, or someone looking at adding additional functionality to your Apple TV, officially supported apps seem to make sense.

What many do not appear to realize is that Apple TV already supports apps today, all but indirectly. With the advent of AirPlay in iOS 4.3, supported apps on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad can now wirelessly transmit video and audio to your Apple TV. Whether it’s an app from CNN, Vevo or the Discovery Channel, what once was restricted to your handheld device can now be streamed to your big screen television via AirPlay and your Apple TV.

But there is a catch: Only apps that officially support AirPlay (those specifically programmed to support it) can actually stream content to your Apple TV. Without support your content is relegated to the relatively tiny screen in your hand. This puts the feature in the hands of the developers, and if they choose not to support it, then good luck getting their content streamed to your television.

That is, until the release of iOS 5. One of the features I am most looking forward to in iOS 5 is the systemwide support of AirPlay, allowing you to simply stream whatever is currently showing on your iPhone or iPad’s display to your Apple TV. This will allow users to get around the lack of official AirPlay support by developers, and to start enjoying all their apps on their television.

Yes, this is not an officially supported app system like we have for the other iOS devices, but it is definitely the next best thing. The only catch? You’ll need more than just an Apple TV.