Analysts are sometimes way off the mark with predictions, but that doesn't mean that can't invent ideas we'd actually really like to see implemented—in this case, Gene Munster's speculation about an app store for the Apple TV.
We need to specify one thing before we start: This is not a rumor. There is absolutely no information to back up this idea, there have been no leaks on the subject, and there's no reason to believe Apple is working on anything of the sort. It's an idea based purely on speculation. That being said, we think it's a smart idea, totally within the realm of possibility, and something we'd really like to see.
Given Apple's massive success with the iPhone and iPod touch App Store, it makes sense that maybe Apple would try to implement something similar for the underdog in their lineup, the Apple TV. While Windows Media Center has developed quickly into one of the best pieces of software Microsoft's ever created, and Boxee and XBMC have pushed the limits of user-created media centers, the Apple TV has languished with behind-the-times software and features, seemingly ignored by Apple themselves. With Boxee, it's a great device, but how many people really know Boxee exists, let alone how to install it? The Apple TV has a ton of mainstream potential, and an app store might be just the way to achieve it.
An app store could deliver loads of new features to the Apple TV, from games to news to other digital video services (like Hulu), and could really exploit the under-used combination of Apple TV and iPhone. It'd be the best of both worlds, with the flexibility of Boxee and the security of the iPhone. Think about it: You could use the acceleromter in the iPhone to control a racing game displayed on your TV through the Apple TV, stream media across the world, or even just use your home theater system for truly epic fart apps.
And this could make media streamers (or home theater PCs, whatever) the mainstream devices they really should be: Despite Windows Media Center's slick interface and ease of use, mainstream users barely even know it exists. XBMC, with its Linux base, requires users to hunt for apps, just like cell phones pre-App Store. Apple could really capitalize on the possibilities and relative lack of use of HTPCs and media streamers, and they'd barely have to do anything themselves!
Especially given Microsoft's big push toward what they call the "three screen" strategy (computer, mobile device, television) with the Zune HD and new Xbox 360 features, it really seems like the time for Apple to jump into the ring too.