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Apple TV Dev Tidbits: First Emulator Available, Old Remotes Work With New TV, Siri Remote Limited for Gaming

As developers get their hands on Apple TV, they've started experimenting with its new operating system tvOS, testing new kinds of apps and finding tidbits that haven't been discovered yet. Developer James Addyman, for instance, has created an emulator for the new Apple TV called Provenance.

Image via James Addyman

Provenance is an iOS front end that allows support for multiple emulators. Currently, it supports emulators for Sega's Genesis, Master System, Mega CD and Game Gear and Nintendo's NES, SNES, Gameboy and Gameboy Advance.

While Provenance is still being developed and it's unlikely the app will make it into the Apple TV's App Store, other developers can test Provenance as Addyman continues work on it. Addyman says certain issues still need to be corrected, including determining when the Apple TV will erase its local content and how to properly map old Sega and Nintendo gamepad functions to the Siri Remote. Addyman began developing Provenance last week within the tvOS simulator.

Mirroring Addyman's concerns about mapping old Nintendo and Sega gamepad functions to the Siri Remote, developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out how many inputs can actually be used for playing games.

While the touchpad can be clicked, acting as a "second button", it can't be clicked easily while being used to control movement. This could make game development difficult, as games have to be able to be played on the Siri Remote.

Troughton-Smith has also been revealing Apple TV tidbits as he explores the dev kit. For instance, when a user picks up the new Siri Remote it senses it's being held and automatically wakes up the screen before a button is pressed. IR is used to control a TV's volume with the Siri Remote and your TV remote can be used to control the Apple TV.

Additionally, the existing Apple TV IR remotes also work with the new Apple TV. This includes the silver aluminum remote that ships with current Apple TVs and the original white plastic Apple TV remote. While they don't allow you to access Siri, they do allow you to navigate around the Apple TV's interface.

Finally, with Apple TV dev kits in the hands of developers, some have made their way onto sites like eBay and Craigslist for sale for up to $1,000.

The new Apple TV will be available in October and come in two variations: a 32 GB version for $149 and a 64 GB version for $199.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

36 months ago
Couldn't agree more with Steve, requiring all apps/games work with the Siri remote is going to serious stifle development.
Rating: 19 Votes
36 months ago

Yes! GBA Emulator! I may actually get one just for that.

You do realize that the App Store rules still exist, and are not any less strict for tvOS than iOS right? There is no way an emulator will be allowed on the App Store.
Rating: 15 Votes
36 months ago


Finally, with Apple TV dev kits in the hands of developers, some have made their way onto sites like eBay and Craigslist for sale for up to $1,000.

I hope Apple is tracking this. Any developer who attempts to sell their pre-release hardware should be permanently removed from the developer program.
Rating: 14 Votes
36 months ago

You do realize that the App Store rules still exist, and are not any less strict for tvOS than iOS right? There is no way an emulator will be allowed on the App Store.

Remember that Xcode 7 lets anybody build & install any apps they want. You don't need an App Store, and you don't need to follow App Store rules. You can download, build & install the emulator linked right now from Github
Rating: 13 Votes
36 months ago

Please, please, Apple, just this once? We hardly ever ask for many different—sometimes contradictory—things that we'll later complain about for being implemented in ways we don't like!

No! It's too much freedom!
Rating: 11 Votes
36 months ago

i don't get why people get all excited for emulators.

you can play any game you want on your computer, phone or tablet as it is.

so you can play it on your tv now? woopty doo? just mirror your ipad and there you go.

A lot of lag mirroring the iPad
Rating: 8 Votes
36 months ago

The fact that it is $149 means it's dead on arrival. Sure, the Apple Faithful will buy it, but it will never become a truly global-scale product like Roku or the Chromecast. And really, it doesn't seem that revolutionary to me.

And now they're adding this pointless requirement. It seems like they almost want it to be a flop. Given this stupid decision, and the large amount of other astonishingly stupid decisions they've been making the last year or two, and it's really starting to seem to me like Apple is becoming a rudderless ship.

Your comment seems out of touch with reality. Apple is doing better than ever: wider global reach of products, a wider product portfolio, harder focus on software, more sales, more revenue, more profit. If that is a rudderless ship, then I want to be on it.

Roku is not a global scale product by any means. You should look beyond the US and UK. The chromecast is targeting a different use case than the new Apple TV.

What you consider "Apple Faithful" is by now the largest consumer electronics base in existence. You might not like the product and that is perfectly fine, but the single message that Apple has taken this product out of the hobby category will ensure that this things will be the best sold streaming device for the next years.
Rating: 7 Votes
36 months ago
This forum is turning into The Attack Of The Whiney Asses. But, that's none of my business.
Rating: 7 Votes
36 months ago

You still need to pay for the Apple developer program though, because without that you won't build the application for actual hardware, but only the simulator.

Unless they have changed that, but I'd have yet to hear of that.

Glassed Silver:mac

That was changed with Xcode 7. Anyone can build for their own devices now
Rating: 6 Votes
36 months ago
"So the gamepad situation is even more dire: you have dpad, accelerometer, and one button. They *really* need to revert that gamepad decision"

Ah yes, the first of many "what the heck is Apple doing?" Comments from many developers. Looks like the only way you'll get any decent Apple TV gaming experience will be by jailbreaking it...
Rating: 5 Votes

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