App Exploration for Apple TV

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Imagine you're registering for wedding gifts at Tiffany & Co. You and your partner have opinions on China, crystal, and flatware. What if you could bring up all of your favorite pieces on a big screen to compare side by side or see what different things look like together on the dining table?

That's the future of shopping, according to Apple. While shoppers have long been able to tap into these features with their phones, tablets, and laptops, the latest version of Apple TV offers something bigger. Like games, movies, and television shows, shopping on Apple TV will be a much more alluring, interactive experience shared by everyone in the room.

During the TV's unveiling at the Apple Event on September 9, Michelle Peluso, CEO of the designer apparel website Gilt, took the stage to demonstrate the company's new shopping app tailored for this platform.

"We believe the new Apple TV will make shopping from home even more compelling," Peluso said as she flipped through a carousel of dresses, dropped some items into her shopping cart, and purchased with a tap on the Apple TV remote.

When the fourth-generation Apple TV makes its debut this October, it will bring with it an abundance of opportunities to combine style and tech. Gilt is just one company in a wave of retail brands ready to see extensions of their apps on the big screen.

Let's take a look at examples of how two of the largest retail sectors might take advantage of this unique space.


Apple TV will offer ways for toy manufacturers to engage their audiences without blatantly selling to them. To demonstrate, we chose to explore a brand that charms the children of our own design team: Lego. Creativity is at the heart of the Lego brand. Lego has a wide range of apps for iOS, but we homed in on creating a playful experience with the Lego app for Apple TV.

"As the father of a young Lego enthusiast, one thing I've seen my son really latch onto is the detail in Lego sets," says Design Director Tom Carmony. "He's fascinated by the number and types of pieces that go into larger kits, and by the scale of many sets. Right now, that's best conveyed through box art and in-store displays."

While the size and scale of sets doesn't translate as well on a website, tablet, or smartphone, Apple TV could change that. A large TV screen coupled with the ability to rotate a built Lego set in three dimensions really has the potential to make for a much more immersive experience.


App Features
  • A fully manipulatable 3D model of the set.
  • Rotation of the set in any direction and up-close looks using the Apple TV remote.


Our exploration of a high-end apparel app for Apple TV offers elements that can be applied to many retail brands. This concept uses narrative, a compelling tool for driving app engagement, to build stories around particular looks, such as "Date Night," "The First Day at Work," "A Job Interview," and "The Perfect Day at the Beach." 

"This could be a very immersive user experience," says CCO Phil Letourneau. "It could also be something that you experience in a group. If you're nervous about that first date, you and your friends could gather around the Apple TV and choose an outfit together."

This type of app experience is shown to improve engagement and motivate users to purchase products.

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App Features
  • Narrow choices based on clothing style descriptors.
  • Choose outfits for specific activities.
  • Use a "Pause and Purchase" feature to shop directly from the app.

A New Channel for Retail

The new Apple TV means tremendous changes for the entire retail industry. Differentiating itself from similar set-top devices that focus solely on entertainment, the Apple TV will give retailers fresh ways to engage with audiences, solutions to customer experience issues, and novel opportunities for ecommerce. 

While there are some challenges to developing on the new platform (see Apple TV: A World Without Webviews), when skillfully integrated into an overall strategy with help from a creative digital team, Apple TV can be a boon for retail brands.