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Apple TV SDK coming next week, allowing third-party apps

Apple is about to open up its set-top box to developers, ushering in third-party apps and hopefully paving the way for its standalone set.

The Apple TV could be about to get its own app store, according to BGR. Apple will apparently introduce its software development kit for the set-top box at WWDC, allowing third-party companies to make software for it. This would usher in apps for the lounge, as well as hopefully pave the way for Apple's standalone TV set, which is due to launch soon after.

Apple TV has been seen as a 'hobby' for the company, but with its recent refresh (including the ability to stream films in 1080p HD and a new menu), Apple looks to be taking it seriously. A software update is also expected, adding new features.

The device is widely expected to be a testbed for Apple's much-rumoured TV set, so all eyes are on San Francisco next week. Sadly Apple isn't expected to make any announcements concerning a standalone TV at WWDC, but still, it'll be an interesting move if it does open up Apple TV to third parties.

People have been clamouring for apps dedicated to running on the Apple TV for a while now. Apps are expected to play a huge part in the standalone TV set -- Apple is thought to be in talks with companies to bring 'app channels' to the service. The set -- rumoured to be called iTV -- is widely tipped to see the light of day around the end of the year or beginning of next.

Apple chief Tim Cook all but unveiled the device himself last month when he told a conference TV was an "area of intense interest" for the company. Apple has already sold 2.7 million of the set-top boxes this year. Not bad for a hobby, I think you'll agree.

We'll be covering WWDC as it happens, so stay tuned to CNET UK from Monday for all the happenings. Would you like to see third-party apps on the Apple TV? What would be your first download? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.