It’s been three whole years since Apple rolled out its last Apple TV. That was 2012, and consumers have been patiently waiting for the next iteration to hit the market, hopefully with some new features.
That time might be here.
Fresh rumours have been surfacing for the last few years and the current Apple TV’s price dropped down to $US69, which is usually a sign that a product update is on the horizon.
At Apple’s WWDC event on June 8, consensus is, a new Apple TV is going to be announced.
Here’s what we know so far:
So far, our Apple TV experience has been limited to what Apple has given us, which, to be fair, is a comprehensive list of apps, or “channels,” that stream video content. The only way to use other iOS apps on your TV is to mirror your iPhone or iPad’s display over AirPlay. But that’s not ideal as you still need to look at your iOS device to know where to tap on the screen.
Rumours about a dedicated app store for the Apple TV could mean that you could install and use your favourite apps on your TV. It would be great to catch up on news with an app like Flipboard on your big screen TV, or control music at a party using a TV version of the Spotify app. But the best Apple TV apps will surely be games where you could play full screen TV versions of your favourite iOS games.
It would be much better than mirroring a game from your iPhone over AirPlay with the current Apple TV, which is a slow and laggy experience.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Samsung’s curved 4K UHD TVs on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Rumours suggest the same A8 chip currently turning the wheels in the iPhone 6/6 Plus will also power the next Apple TV. It should be more than enough to play most mobile games and run some of the new functionality rumoured to feature in the upcoming Apple TV.
The A8 chip is also capable of outputting ultra-high definition, 4K resolution video to a 4K TV, which could let you stream 4K content from several video streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Instant Video.
There’s also word about more internal storage for the new Apple TV, which could be used alongside the reported live online TV subscription service for DVR-style functionality, as well as adding more storage for third party apps from a dedicated app store.
Apple’s iconic Apple TV remote.
New remote, Siri, and motion controls
Along with a new Apple TV comes a new remote, according to the New York Times. It could don a touchpad for easier navigation around a presumably refreshed or entirely new interface. And reportedly it will still have two buttons and will be slightly thicker than the current ultra-sleek, minimalist design. Either way, the new remote may need to double up as a game controller for all those iOS games we’ll (hopefully) be playing on our TVs.
Siri is said to make an appearance with most of “her” functionality leaning towards controlling internet-connected smart devices in the home, like light bulbs, thermostats, door locks, the list goes on. It may indicate that the Apple TV will act as a smart hub, which internet-connected smart devices need in order to function.
With Apple’s 2013 acquisition of PrimeSense, a 3D motion sensor company, in mind, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests the next Apple TV could support motion gesture controls. However, there hasn’t been much information to support this rumour, and it’s doubtful this will happen.
The main reason why Apple is updating the Apple TV
The Wall Street Journal surfaced news that Apple is in talks with some major TV networks. That could mean the company may finally launch an online TV subscription service, like Dish’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue. And it could stream right from the next Apple TV, as well as other iOS devices.
The networks purportedly involved so far are ABC, CBS, and Fox, which may amount to up to 25 channels combined for a lightweight, base-line offering with a price tag between $US30 and $US40.
But don’t get your hopes up quite yet, as Apple’s plans to include live local broadcast with its online TV subscription service could delay the announcement due to licensing issues with TV networks. Apple sees the inclusion of live broadcast of local channels as an important differentiator among the aforementioned competitors, and therefore worth delaying any announcements.
This delay could put off any announcements on a new Apple TV, but consensus seems to be that we will in fact be getting an annoucement at WWDC on June 8th.