Apple has just alerted developers to a change in the rules for Apple for the Apple TV. Previously, apps were capped at 200MB for their initial size — but now they can be as large as 4GB, a 20x increase. Apple says it’s “now accepting” submissions from developers and that it’s making the change so that developers “can include more media in your submission and provide a complete, rich user experience upon installation.”
The change might encourage more developers to make their games available on the Apple TV. Although it’s not strictly fair to say that developers were unable to get big games on tvOS before, in order to do it they’d needed to store most of the data in Apple’s Cloud. It’s a feature called “On-Demand Resources,” which allows assets up to 20GB of data to be stored and available when needed — and it’s a feature that’s still available. But coding in support for those cloud resources is definitely an extra step — and it also means that a good game experience would require a good internet connection. With the newly raised app size limit, it could make it more palatable for developers to take their games from the iPhone and iPad to the Apple TV.
If that theory doesn’t make sense to you, here’s another: 4K content takes up a lot of space. Of course, the Apple TV doesn’t support 4K right now, but perhaps the change can provide some reason to hope that a future Apple TV will support 4K.
As @ncremins points out, one thing that would require bigger assets and more storage space is 4K. So, 4K bigger Apple TVs coming soon?— James Thomson (@jamesthomson) January 12, 2017
Or it could, as Federico Viticci writes at MacStories, simply be a thing Apple is doing simply because there’s little reason not to. Perhaps Apple has simply seen that people haven’t come anywhere near filling up the storage on their Apple TVs (they come in 32 and 64GB variants), so the overly conservative restriction on app sizes wasn’t necessary.
Whichever explanation you choose, we won’t see the effects of the change until developers take advantage of the new rules, which just went into effect today.