Apple Increases Test Device Limits For Developers, Hinting At Plans For Apple TV Apps

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Following the consolidation of Apple’s developer programs under one roof, the company has also made a slight, but perhaps notable, change with regard to the number of devices developers can register under their accounts. Previously, developers were able to register 100 individual devices, but that number has now been increased to 500 with each platform now receiving 100 device slots apiece. Each platform, meaning iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Wait, what’s that? Apple TV?

Yes, Apple has now allotted 100 slots for Apple TV alone – a software platform that doesn’t yet include its own App Store, though one has long been rumored to be in the works.

In fact, word has it that Apple has been working on an upgrade to Xcode which would include developer tools that help app makers build third-party applications for Apple TV. However, according to The New York Times, Apple’s plans to introduce a new version of Apple TV at this year’s WWDC were reportedly postponed because the product was not yet ready. The forthcoming Apple TV hardware is said to include under-the-hood improvements as well as an App Store of its own and an Internet-based TV service, the latter of which has all but been confirmed. (Apple TV has supported TV apps, but only from select partners, not a full App Store.)

Developers use the registration slots Apple provides to test their apps ahead of an App Store public launch, as well as to test new versions of Apple software, like iOS releases.

That Apple TV is listed as a supported device type for developers to register with Apple is not exactly new, however, or what’s important to note about this change. As several developers have already now pointed out, Apple TV was included as an option here in the past. That’s because developers could install beta builds of Apple TV software, and they would need to add Apple TV to a device list for the purposes of AirPlay beta testing.

One could argue that giving each platform an even 100 slots could have just been done for simplicity’s sake. But if it’s only meant for beta testing Apple TV software, 100 slots for Apple TV seems a little high. At least, that’s the theory.

Instead, what seems likely is that Apple has made the change in advance of its intention to open up the Apple TV platform to third-party applications and games. Presumably, once developers are able to build apps for Apple TV, they would need a larger number of testing slots – something that’s more on par with other devices, like iPhone and iPad, for example.

MacRumors, which reported on the increased limits after developers began tweeting about the changes to their account, noted also that some developers were bumped up to 200 devices a couple of years ago, but the increase to 500 devices is certainly new and more of a universal change.

The device limit increase is far from being definitive proof of Apple TV’s App Store plans, but it’s at least another hint of what’s to come.