It’s been rumoured for almost as long as the Apple Watch was, but now it finally has an image to put with its name. Yes, the new Apple TV is real, and it’s all about the apps.
In case you haven’t been aware of Apple’s products beyond that of the iPhone, the iPad, and the MacBook computers, as well as that whole “Watch” and iTunes digital music revolution that happened some number of years ago, the company has also spent some time in the past building a TV system.
It didn’t have an overwhelmingly original name, but the Apple TV served as a solid little hockey puck of a box for people keen to get into Smart TVs long before Smart TVs were actually a thing, providing a handful of streaming services accessible through an easy grid interface similar to what people were already using on their iPhones and iPads, as well as support for Apple’s own media library of movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts.
For many, this has been the so-called “Smart TV” they have been using, and services such as Netflix have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, providing access to Apple TV users through this interface and system to get the Apple content alongside Netflix, YouTube, and quite a few other services.
But it has been a while since we’ve seen an update to Apple TV.
In fact, the last time a proper update happened was a good three years ago, with a minor update occurring in 2013, but the real 3rd generation Apple TV being announced in March of 2012.
Back then, the update was a change to the 2010 model that included support for Full HD 1080p streams, iCloud access, and a little more, and that has been the way it mostly stayed for the past few years, fuelling rumours Apple was indeed working on something.
This week, Apple has proven those rumours were right with the launch of “the all-new Apple TV”, name we suspect will just be seen as “the new Apple TV” when people go to buy it, because dependent on price, there’s a possibility it will be sold alongside the old Apple TV.
According to Apple, this latest variation has been “built from the ground up” and relies on new hardware leveraging Apple’s A8 processor used in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and a lighter and slightly different interface, with a new operating system.
While Apple’s iOS was initially based on Mac OS, the new Apple TV’s operating system is instead based on iOS — it’s even called “tvOS” — at once creating an almost Inception-esque operating system circle and at the same time presenting something familiar to anyone who has ever used an iPhone, iPad, or an Apple TV before.
Siri has been tapped as a resource for the Apple TV, and now you’ll be able to talk to the remote, asking it to find you things like “Show me all the William Shatner movies” or “Show me kids shows like The Wiggles”, with Siri doing the heavy lifting and saving you from typing using an on-screen keyboard.
The remote itself has been changed, too, with the microphone there for Siri, but no longer a directional pad, relying on a small touchpad interface, while a gyroscope and accelerometer will also be built in to let you play games or use the remote almost as if it were an advanced controller.
Apple is apparently opening its system up for developers to take advantage of, too, so expect apps for the new Apple TV.
In fact, apps are an important part of the new Apple TV, and that’s one of the reasons you actually find storage inside the new Apple TV.
Previously, the Apple TV relied on streams for its services, and that’s still mostly the case.
However, if you want to use the Apple TV as an app or games platform, you have to download apps into storage, and for that Apple will be including either 32 or 64GB of storage depending on how much you need.
It’s a little like the iPhone and iPad, and if you expect to play lots of games on the device, replacing a Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox, or Sony PlayStation, you’ll want all the storage you can muster, since games can get pretty big.
If, however, you only expect to play a few, 32GB will probably do you fine, though keep in mind, as with all Apple devices made lately, the storage is not upgradeable at all, so once you buy it, you’re stuck with that amount.
Unfortunately, the whole “buying” part isn’t something the Apple TV is ready for yet, with no pricing ready for Aussies, though Apple is talking up a release date in November, likely in time for the holiday purchase season.