updated 07:55 pm EDT, Tue June 26, 2012
Leverages underused existing technology
Cloud content provider Brightcove has launched a new open-source SDK and platform to help make "dual-screen" apps that can leverage Apple's AirPlay technology to offer games, video and other sorts of applications which offer content on both the iPad's own screen as well as a network-connected HDTV. Though the technology isn't new, the company's App Cloud platform aims to streamline TV-oriented app creation.
The Dual-Screen Solution API set is available at all levels and emphasizes the second-screen aspect, though apps created with it can also work in single-screen format when an AirPlay device is not available. When an HDTV that can utilize AirPlay (via an Apple TV for example) is available, the user has the option to make the program dual-screen. In some cases, the iOS device can then become a controller, in other cases it can provide supplementary information.
An example might be a trivia game where the question is shown on the HDTV, but a player can "buzz in" with the answer on an iOS device. A photography-showcase app might throw the pictures on the big screen while having metadata on the image available on the smaller touchscreen.
While developers have been able to develop dual-screen apps before now, only a tiny percentage of apps presently support the feature. Regardless of what exactly Apple has in mind for its rumored HDTV set, AirPlay and the dual-screen concept are likely to be a big part of it.