What you need to know:
- It has Siri, the app store, and a fancy new remote.
- There will be games – but not full-fledged console games.
- Third party controllers will be supported.
- Tim Cook says that apps are the future of TV, which is hard to argue with.
- There are a lot of alternatives out there: Chromecast, Amazon Fire, etc.
Three years after the release of the third generation, Apple has just announced the latest update to the Apple TV range. This feels like a long time by Apple’s standards, as a new phone is announced on a weekly basis, but the Apple TV’s evolution follows a slower pattern of development much like their desktop and laptop computers.
The new Apple TV is still in the recognizable router shape of its predecessors but has a few new tricks up its sleeve, including another tentative step towards console gaming. Importantly, all the old features are still there. It still has the same streaming options, you can still use airplay to mirror the screens of your other Apple devices, and you can still use it to play music through your speakers.
The new Apple TV is essentially an extension of the Apple ecosystem, as they continue trying to dominate your living room as well as your office, pocket, and cloud.
More exciting are the new features that Apple unveiled at their 9th September Special Event. They are bringing the universal features of their computers, phones, and tablets, to the big screen. The tech demonstration started with Siri, Apple’s answer to Hal 9000, tackling a wide range of search terms to give users that seamless experience Apple always aims for. Other new arrivals include the App Store and a Mac-touchpad style remote with a motion sensor and microphone. The new software, a hybrid of IOS and OSX, will be cleaner and easier to use, with a handy universal search feature. The arrival of the app store could see some innovative new uses for Apple’s kit.
The new model comes in two flavors at two prices: $149 for the 32GB model and $199 for the 64GB model. Apple has also announced that they will continue to sell the previous generation at the price of $69. This is well worth considering, because the third generation is still a powerful media player. If you’re not fussed about third party apps, casual gaming, or Siri, you might as well save yourself $80.
In fact, you might be able to save yourself that $80 anyway. The Apple TV is aiming at an almost non-existent gap in the market. Chances are, if you’re technologically literate enough to want an Apple TV, you probably already have everything it’s offering. Smart TVs tend to cover all streaming options – both local and online. Many Blu-ray players come with Netflix, Hulu and Youtube apps. Games consoles – both this generation and the previous generation – will play local and online media, will obviously provide a far better gaming experience, and will also play DVDs and Blu-ray discs. If you don’t have any of the above, you probably have a laptop, and all the features the Apple TV offers can be put on the big screen by simply plugging your laptop in with an HDMI cable.
The question is, would you pay $149 just to have it all presented in sleek and stylish Apple fashion?
By Matt Watts