Here’s Why It Took Amazon So Long to Launch Prime Video App on Apple TV

Amazon Prime Instant Video

Amazon finally launched the much-awaited Amazon Prive Video app on Apple TV. It is great to finally get access to the movies and Prime Original series like the Grand Tour from Prime Video on Apple TV.

There have some speculations that Apple was delaying the launch of the Prime Video app for political reasons (related to revenue sharing) but as John Gruber of Daring Fireball points out that the delay could have been because of technical issues in addition to political.

It looks like Amazon has ported the HTML5 / Smart TV app that is deployed on devices elsewhere. Some are also speculating the Apple may have given Amazon special entitlement because the tvOS SDK does not have a web view. Gruber points out:

Netflix, HBO, and Hulu all have Apple TV UIs that seem a bit alien, eschewing tvOS standard UI elements for custom branded UI elements. But this Prime Video app takes it to a new level. The UI doesn’t even play sound as you move the selection around — I’ve never seen that in an Apple TV app. The Prime Video app for Apple TV doesn’t just look alien, it feels and sounds alien too. I think it’s a web app.

Steven Troughton-Smith poked around the Prime Video IPA has confirmed that it seems like a port from the HTML5/Smart TV app, but it doesn’t seem to use web view. Amazon seems to have created a new UI glue layer for tvOS.

TL;DR it’s no wonder Amazon took so long in porting their app to tvOS; it’s a giant, [presumably] in-house web-based multi-headed hydra designed for a hundred different devices and consoles that probably needed a new UI glue layer for tvOS (but probably doesn’t use webviews).

Gruber believes it would have been faster for Amazon to create a native tvOS app from scratch rather than creating the custom cross-platform solution running atop tvOS. While the initial effort might have been a lot more, I think Amazon decided to take this approach as it would be a lot easier to maintain and roll out updates.

What do you think of the Amazon Prime video app? Do you think Amazon should have launched a native tvOS instead of just porting the app ?

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