The fourth generation Apple TV, like the iPhone 6s, is no longer a secret. This device has been in the works for years and finally we expect for it to be announced next week at Apple’s special media event. Besides a new form factor, we will see a redesigned user interface, completely revolutionary remote control, support for iOS functions and a price for under $200.
The new Apple TV will have a similar design for its body, like its predecessor, with a redesigned and more simplified remote control. The box will be slimmer, wider and primarily made of plastic. It will be powered by the A8 processor, which is the same processor in the iPhone 6, and have the much faster and efficient Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. The storage capacity will be 8GB, like its predecessor, but Apple is considering a 16GB model as well. The back of the box will have the usual ports: power, HDMI connector and USB port for connecting to the Mac.
The dark gray/black metal remote control will be motion-sensitive similar to the Wii remote with multi-axis sensors and it will use Bluetooth to connect to the box. The controller will be thicker and bigger than the current remote with a touchpad on the top, two physical buttons (one is the Home button and the other is for Siri) on the bottom, rocker buttons for volume and a microphone for Siri. It may even have a headphone jack in it. In addition, Apple is opening up the platform by providing support for more complex and console-style remotes. Third-parties can create game controllers with more buttons and joysticks to interact with the content on the Apple TV.
For the software of the Apple TV, there is a redesigned user interface with support for Siri, an App Store and home automation. The Apple TV will run a custom version of iOS 9 so it will feel consistent to the experience on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch when iOS 9 is released publicly this month. There will be a system-wide search bar that will allow users to find results from multiple apps. For example, searching for “The Office” will pull videos from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes Store and more. In addition, the Apple TV will be receiving its own App Store. The software development kit (SDK) for developers will be available following the announcement so there will apps populating the App Store when the Apple TV is released next month. The box will support voice search, home automation and more through Siri. She will be activated using the special button on the remote, or likely by saying “Hey, Siri” (as hinted by the event invitation.) Finally, the Apple TV is rumored to have support for HomeKit, which will allow it serve as the central hub for home automation.
Besides offering on-demand TV and movies, the Apple TV is also rumored to have a streaming TV service. The service will initially have twenty-five channels which will be anchored by major networks and be available for about $30-$40 per month. This will unfortunately not be announced at the event next week as Apple is still in talks with programmers about their service so we anticipate the release date will either be later 2015, or more than likely, 2016. Apple is also reportedly exploring original TV and movie content that they may included in the future on the streaming service.
When the new Apple TV is announced next week, rumors suggest that Apple will be continuing to sell the third-generation Apple TV. This older model will be able to access the Internet TV streaming service when it’s released next year, but it will not have access to the App Store or Siri. The price will remain at $69, while the new Apple TV will be $149 and it will be released in October.