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Apple extends its App Store to a new Apple TV with a game-capable remote

Heads up, mobile game makers: Apple announced a new game-capable set-top box and an extra-large iPad model during its press event today in San Francisco.

Heads up, mobile game makers: Apple announced a new game-capable set-top box and an extra-large iPad model during its press event today in San Francisco. 

Of particular note to developers is the new Apple TV, a set-top box with a new operating system (tvOS, much akin to iOS) and a new remote that sports a segment of touch-sensitive glass. 

The remote itself has a dedicated microphone button for voice commands (interpreted by Apple’s Siri voice recognition system) and basic motion sensors that allow it to be used as a Wii Remote-esque controller for a collection of motion-controlled mini-games (including a new Harmonix rhythm game, Beat Sports) that will launch alongside the new Apple TV in October for a starting price of $149.

What’s more intriguing, in the long run, is the debut of the Apple App Store on the revamped Apple TV, and the promise that it will be possible to make both dedicated Apple TV apps and universal apps that support the new set-top box. 

More information on developing for tvOS should soon be available on Apple's developer hub, though it's worth noting that you can already glean some interesting data from Apple's preliminary API documentation -- including the fact that the maximum size of Apple TV apps is capped at 200 MB and the new box has no local storage for developers, meaning all apps must store/retrieve data remotely via iCloud.

Apple TV games weren't the focus of the company's pitch, but they were present; Apple's Eddy Cue showed a series of game demos running on the new Apple TV, including versions of Guitar Hero, Disney Infinity 3.0, and Hipster Whale’s Crossy Road.

Cue also noted that since tvOS is built on iOS it will offer developers support for things like the company's Metal graphics tech and Game Center, as well as support for up to four simultaneous players (though those without a remote will have to use an iPhone or iPod Touch as an input device). Third-party controllers are also supported by the new Apple TV, though they must be MFi-based.

During the event Apple also showcased a new tablet model, the iPad Pro, with a 12.9-inch high-definition screen, a new A9X processor and a slew of other improvements. The units are primarily marketed as productivity devices (Apple is also releasing an optional stylus and Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad Pro) and are expected to go on sale in November, with a starting price of $799 for the 32GB model.

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