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Gaming out next steps for Apple TV

Yet more evidence surfaced last week that Apple is working on extending the functionality of the current Apple TV set-top box rather than getting ready to introduce an integrated TV set, in the form of a new job posting for a Software Engineering Manager in the Apple TV unit:

Job Summary

The Apple TV team is looking for an experienced engineering manager to help deliver the next generation features for Apple TV. Bring your creative energy and engineering discipline, and help us bring the Apple experience to the Living Room.

[snip]

Description

– Lead a team of engineers working on exciting new features and functionality

– Drive releases from initial concept to completion

– Work closely with cross functional teams, representing Apple TV across Apple

– Develop the engineering plan for upcoming projects

– Communicate status to key stakeholders and senior management

As with other recent news regarding some minor component changes to the Apple TV “hockey puck,” that doesn’t sound like Apple is getting ready to disrupt the TV business root and branch. It sounds it’s getting ready to add some “exciting new features and functionality,” to the existing product.

What might those be? There’s no way to tell from the job listing. But one guess would be enhanced gaming capability that leverages AirPlay, perhaps involving a new game controller for the Macbook and/or the iPad. With the current generation game consoles showing their age, and the gaming industry generally poised to make the leap to the cloud, now would be the time for Apple to make an aggressive play to grab a bigger slice of the in-home gaming market to go along with iPad’s growing share of the mobile gaming business.

Some sort of broader extension of AirPlay’s capabilities might also be in the offing. Enhanced communication and interoperability among screens has recently emerged as a new front in the battle for the digital living room, with Microsoft, Netflix, and Google all focused on enabling the movement of content between the TV screen and mobile devices. While Apple may have the lead on that score currently, thanks to AirPlay, it won’t have it for long if it stands still.